The largest dry dock north of New Orleans, Louisiana, is back in action at the Memphis District's Ensley Engineer Yard after spending 14 months in Morgan City, Louisiana.
The Memphis District dry dock, known as ‘5801', was shipped to the Conrad Shipyard in Louisiana for repairs and maintenance in June 2019. The dock has been operating since 1958.
Dry Docks are structures used to service marine vessels from the Memphis District and boats and barges from other Districts and sister agencies.
"The dry dock is flooded in a controlled manner to allow vessels to float into it," Plant Section Chief Kevin Woods said. "The dock's ballast tanks are then drained, allowing the vessel to be lifted and come to rest on the dry dock for hull maintenance and repair."
The dry dock’s return is vital in that it serves the entire Mississippi Valley Division, as well as Wilmington, Little Rock, and Tulsa Districts, just to name a few. Its presence alone is said to have put Ensley Engineer Yard on the map because of how many customers it attracts.
While the amount of business it generates varies annually, Woods said the dry dock yields approximately $3 million of revenue a year.
"This includes the daily plant rental rate that outside customers pay for the use of the dock," Woods added. "For Fiscal Year 2017, the portion for plant rental was $1.4 million, and in Fiscal Year 2018, it was $1.6 million."
In addition to the two smaller dry docks stationed at Ensley, 5801 is managed by the Yards and Docks Unit.
"Now that it is back, Wilmington District's Dredge Currituck will have major repair maintenance done this year," Woods said. "This is estimated to be a $7.5 million project. The Dredge Hurley and Motor Vessel Mississippi will also have off-season maintenance performed on the dock."
The district currently uses its dry docks approximately 310 days a year, so getting 5801 back is incredibly important to the future maintenance of our vessels here in the Memphis District and also to those belonging to sister districts.