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NEWS | June 18, 2024

U.S. Navy Efforts Aid in Baltimore Channel Reopening

By By Naval Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communications SUPSALV

NEWS | June 12, 2024

U.S. Navy Efforts Aid in Baltimore Channel Reopening

By Naval Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communications

BALTIMORE -- The U.S. Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) led critical efforts in support of the Unified Command in clearing the Port of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry Federal Channel, following the M/V Dali’s collision into the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

"In the aftermath of the tragic accident and profound sadness experienced by the City of Baltimore and indeed the nation, I am proud of the extraordinary work and professionalism displayed by our Sailors and civilians, under the supervision of Capt. Sal Suarez, in support of the Key Bridge Response Unified Command," said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro. "Our Navy and Marine Corps Team remains critical to defending our economic security, including the crucial efforts of our Navy's diving and salvage experts to keep our waterways open."

SUPSALV arrived within hours after tasking by the U.S, Army Corps of Engineers to support the Unified Command by leading the clearing of the Baltimore Harbor waterway. The team, along with several private maritime salvage companies, mobilized resources to the site and worked to remove debris, support truss cuts, rigging and bridge sections. Their efforts also included controlled explosions that allowed the Dali to be refloated and moved back to port.

“SUPSALV expertise is recognized throughout the U.S. Navy, Department of Defense and other federal agencies,” said Capt. Sal Suarez, commander, Supervisor of Salvage and Diving. SUPSALV provides technical, operational, and emergency support in marine salvage, towing, pollution control and abatement, diving and diving system safety and certification, diving and salvage equipment procurement, and underwater ship husbandry. Its expertise in marine salvage has been leveraged globally removing a sunken dredge barge in Alexandroupoli, Greece, in 2019, and recently clearing Louisiana waterways impacted by Hurricane Ida in 2021.

“SUPSALV supports other federal agencies and the country with its national response capability, including active duty and contractor salvage experts,” said Paul Hankins, director, Salvage Operations at SUPSALV. “We have resources and support agreements in place so we can immediately respond with our expertise and resources when called upon.”

Throughout the entirety of the process SUPSALV was responsible for managing all on-scene assets tasked with debris removal and channel clearing effort. Each day began at 06:30 a.m. to coordinate assets, align on objectives and finished daily at 5:30 p.m. to share what was accomplished that day and what they plan to accomplish next.

SUPSALV provides technical, operational, and emergency support in marine salvage, towing, pollution control and abatement, diving and diving system safety and certification, diving and salvage equipment procurement, and underwater ship husbandry.