Vessel makes big splash at Eastern Shipbuilding Group

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ALLANTON, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Hundreds watched as the largest dredge built in the United States made a splash in our backyard Friday afternoon.

Shortly after 12:30 p.m., crews at Eastern Shipbuilding Group side launched "Ellis Island" at the Allanton Shipyard.

The vessel, an ATB Hopper Dredge Barge, is 433 ft. x 92 ft. x 36 ft.

Steel cutting for this project started almost two years ago. Project managers say it's a milestone for the company.

"The launch went fantastic," Chris Hill said on behalf of Eastern Shipbuilding. "Great turnout. Great day. The vessel did exactly what we expected it to do and it's now resting."

Eastern built it for Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC.

Crews expect to finish up the barge and tug around the middle of next year.