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SUPSALV clears Fort Pierce Channel of sunken barge

By Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs | April 23, 2015

FORT PIERCE, Florida - The Navy's Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) removed a barge that sank in the Fort Pierce ship channel, 100 yards inside the end of the ocean jetties, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced April 23.


Removing debris from the waterways improves safety for all marine traffic. 


"The channel is heavily trafficked and the uncertain tide conditions where the ocean meets the inlet provided unique conditions for the operation," said Lt. Cmdr. Dan Neverosky, SUPSALV assistant for salvage. "Working with the U.S. Coast Guard we were able to finalize a four point mooring plan, set a safety zone and move equipment for the five day operation."


The Supervisor of Salvage and Diving, a NAVSEA directorate, responded to a request for assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as part of an inter-service support agreement to provide salvage support when the USACE is unable to conduct the task.  Once on scene, SUPSALV and its contractor (Donjon Marine, Inc.) developed a plan to clear the channel and recover the barge and debris, using Donjon's floating crane, Columbia and the tug Mary Alice.


"The team used side scan sonar was utilized to locate the sunken barge and get GPS coordinates for the exact location. Additional GPS on the Columbia allowed the SUPSALV team to know what pieces of the barge were being cut.  After the barge was broken into manageable sections, the team began around- the- clock efforts to remove segments of the broken barge with a heavy lift bucket, placing them on Columbia's deck. "


"After the final lift, the USACE conducted another side scan survey of the channel and concluded the entire barge was recovered," said Neverosky. "Once the scan verified the channel was clear, we began demobilization and directed the scrap be transferred ashore for disposal."


SUPSALV is responsible for all aspects of U.S. Navy ocean engineering, including salvage, in-water ship repair, contracting, towing, diving safety, and equipment maintenance and procurement.