Modern Marvels

Season 12 Episode 40


Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Aug 03, 2005 on The History Channel
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Episode Summary

They dig, scoop, suck, and spew an ocean of silt and sediment. Dredgers are the mechanical beasts that fuel the world's economic engine by clearing and deepening ports for mega-container ships. The roots of dredging go back as far as the Egyptians, who used their hands to open channels on the Nile to keep crops watered. The Romans, who used harbor dredging to keep a tight fist on Europe, pioneered the "spoon and bag" dredge to speed up the process. Steam power brought about the first large-scale dredges and helped create the Panama Canal. We'll go aboard two of the largest US dredgers and see how they keep waters moving. And in Holland, we meet the biggest players on the dredging world and witness the launching of the largest dredge ever built. From there, we head to Dubai in the Middle East, where 90 square miles of new islands was dredged from the sea and will now create a pleasure world for the rich and powerful.moreless
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  • Don't take this for granted.

    I have to admit that this wasn't a topic I was particularly interested in, but decided to tune in anyway. Modern Marvels is known to do a very good job in explaining the history of technologies, and they certainly do so in this episode about dredging.

    Dredging isn't something we usually think about, but it's a very important thing to do. Sediment is always building up in the big rivers here in the US, for instance. Increasing amounts of sediment means that the water depth lessens, which makes for trouble for large ships carrying large amounts of food and other cargo.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • As part of the Pier 400 project, dredged material was used to fill in 250 acres of the outer harbor to create a shallow-water habitat that supports marine birds and wildlife.

    • The Army Corps of Engineers oversees all dredging in the 25,000 miles of commercially navigable U.S. waterways.

    • Although the Panama Canal can accommodate ships carrying up to 65,000 tons of cargo, stores, and fuel, modern ocean vessels can carry more than five times that amount.

    • To maintain navigable waterways, approximately 300 million cubic yards of material - enough to fill about 3 million backyard swimming pools - are dredged in the United States every year.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Narrator: Mechanical beasts that prevent floods, deepen waterways and build beaches. They cut, scoop, suck and spew an ocean of mud, silt and sand. These serpents of slurry are conjuring up new real estate and changing the map of our world. Now: Dredging, on Modern Marvels.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Cast

      Robert E. Randall
      Dir. Dredging Studies, Texas A&M Univ.

      Steve Dorrler
      Manager, Port Authority of NY/NJ

      Col. Richard J. Polo, Jr.
      Commander, New York District, USACE

      Chris Gunsten
      Project Manager

      Tony Alaniz

      Jim McNally
      Project Manager

      Steve Koochin
      Leverman, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock

      Jim Holcroft
      Captain, Essayons, USACE

      Peter de Jong
      Pres., Digital Automation and Controls

      Nick Krippner
      Engineer, Oilfield-Electric-Marine, Inc.

      Mort J. Richardson
      Publisher, World Dredging Magazine

      Andrew Metts
      Dredging Mgr, Vicksburg Dist., USACE

      James W. Bean
      President, Bean Dredging

      Joaquin Mujica
      Operations Manager, Miss. River, USACE

      Jon B. Snow
      Captain, Eagle One

      Greg Barnes
      Drag Tender, Eagle One

      Bryce Wisemiller
      Project Mgr., New York District, USACE

      Eric Polson, CE
      California State Coastal Conservancy

      Peter Mull
      Ocean Beach Renourishment, USACE

      Julie Martinez
      Resident Engineer, USACE

    • Executive Producer: Don Cambou
      Producer: Michael Hacker
      Producer: Jim Hense
      Writer: Michael Hacker
      Writer: Jim Hense
      Line Producer: Paul Dzilvelis
      Associate Producer: David Bradstreet
      Editor: Lou Laprocido
      Narrator: Max Raphael
      Music: Alan Ett Music Group
      Producer: Bruce Nash
      Creator: Bruce Nash
      Production Manager: Shelia Collins
      Post Producer: Tim Knauff
      Clearance Supervisor: Katie Del Core
      Director of Research: Allison Boon
      Production Controller: Dani Eslin
      Accountant: Sheridan Liu
      Accountant: Lisa Casella
      Accountant: Paulette Pantoja
      Researcher: Mikki Del Monico
      Researcher: Uldis Balodis
      Researcher: John Knapp
      Coordinator: Terrence Hartwell
      Coordinator: Brad Skiles
      Voice Over Coordinator: John Knapp
      Assistant Editor: Laura Steinhoff
      Assistant Editor: Josh Beckham
      Assistant Post Coordinator: Alexander Rubinow
      Post Assistant: Gaylen Kobayashi
      Camera: Bob Boccaccio
      Camera: John Davis
      Camera: Lon Magdich
      Camera: Pierre Meunier
      Camera: David A. Wolf
      Field Audio: David Landry
      Field Audio: Chris Rodgers
      Field Audio: John Scott
      Field Audio: Mark Solomon
      Online Editor: John Price
      Sound Mixer: Ed Thacker
      Animation: Red Gypsy Animation
      Historical Consultant: Steve Doorler
      Historical Consultant: Torrie McAllister, USACE

      Special Thanks:
      Richard Adams
      Theresa Adams-Lopez
      Capt. Manny Aschemeyer
      Bean Stuyvesant, LCC
      Greg Beuerman
      Genarda Brinkers, Can Oord
      DonJon Marine Company, INC
      Greg Fuderer, USACE
      Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company
      John Hall, USACE
      IHC Holland
      Maritime Exchange of Southern California
      Torrie McAllister, USACE
      Capt. Dick McKenna
      Catherine Meyvaert, Jan De Nul Group
      Ram K. Mohan
      Ruud Ouwerkerk
      Mort J. Richardson
      Brad Sewell, NRDC
      Texas A&M Universary, Ocean Engineering Program
      Carolyn J. Vadino, USACE
      Pam Welty / WIG Industries, INC

      Executive Producer: Beth Dietrich-Segarra
      Produced by: Actuality Productions, Inc