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Takutai, Port Otago's $8million backhoe dredge, was in the harbour channel yesterday as it was prepared for work expected to begin next month.
Port Otago marine and infrastructure general manager Sean Bolt said some ``very complex software'' needed bedding in, and the company was using the opportunity to do some crew training.
Mr Bolt said there would be a fixed crew of two or three Port Otago staff to run Takutai.
They had to learn how to operate the vessel, the high pressure hydraulic pumps on board, and the ``spuds'', or legs, that allow the 35m, 650-tonne vessel to crab its way across the seafloor.
``There's quite a lot of learning to do.''