S.S. Zulia

S.S. Zulia
S.S. Zulia, large suction dredge built in Kure Japan by National Bulk Carriers Kure Shipyard Division.


Zulia was a combined hopper-suction dredge with a side-casting discharge boom. Her keel was laid on April 7th, 1959 and she was completed exactly eight months later. Her dredging equipment consisted of two sets of 6,000 SHP geared dredging turbines; four sets of 10,000 tons per hour capacity dredging pumps; four 36 inch diameter suction drags; a 375 foot long side-casting boom with a 57 inch diameter discharge pipe, and a 233,000 cubic foot capacity hopper. She had a dredging speed of three to six knots - very impressive.

Zulia was built for one of the Ludwig group of companies in order to dredge the mouth of the Orinoco River so that the Universe Tankships 60,000 ton ore ships could navigate the river with close to a full load of ore onboard.  The large twin screw ore ships, Ore Chief, Ore Transport and Ore Titan were conceived and built before it was realized that they would be unable to carry a full cargo out the river due to the ever shifting sandbars and channels.  To keep the trade moving, Ludwig employed his shipbuilding division to build a large suction dredge to keep things tidy for his large ore ships.  He had had some success in this already, as he had converted the old T2 tanker Pan Georgia (ex-Gold Creek) into a dredge to begin the work before constructing Zulia.  Also, he stopped building 60,000 ton twin screw ore carriers.

Ship Hull# Built GRT DWT Length Beam Comments
Zulia 87 1959 15,273 13,075 548'6" 95'2" Large twin screw hopper-suction dredge.

S.S. Zulia
S.S. Zulia, at work keeping channels open for the large ore ships of National Bulk Carriers.
S.S. Zulia
Another shot of S.S. Zulia, at work.

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Created by A. Davis Whittaker, Jr.
Last updated on 21 February 2005.