At the border between the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, the port of Piombino is an important centre of both industry and tourism. In front of the islands of Elba, Corsica and Sardinia, busy ferry lines operate from Piombino. At the same time, the port also services the metalworking and steel industry in its hinterland. Both activities require dredging to keep port accesses to depth. History itself demonstrates what happens if dredging is neglected: in ancient times Piombino used to be an island off the Tuscany coast. Nowadays it is part of the mainland, after siltation of the nearshore.
The dredging contract, which was awarded by the client CMC, was part of a requalification and expansion project of the port infrastructure. It called for deepening to minus 20 m of the access channel, the turning basin, and an area in front of the new pier under construction.
Deepening to minus 20 m required the dredging of up to 2.882.872 m³ of material. This was pumped into two reclamation areas, depending on the contaminated or non-contaminated character of the material. SIDRA, a subsidiary of DEME, assigned two trailing suction hopper dredgers, the ‘Orwell’ and the ‘Pallieter’, as well as the cutter suction dredger ‘Amazone.’ The combined use of these three dredgers allowed the simultaneous dredging of loose material and rocky material, permitting a reduction of the originally planned execution time.