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    Seabee divers provide Hurricane Sandy relief efforts for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

    Seabee divers provide Hurricane Sandy relief for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

    Courtesy Photo | Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Scarlett enters the water in the KM-37 diving helmet to...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Underwater Construction Team ONE

    By Chief Petty Officer Jacob L. Waggoner, Underwater Construction Team One Public Affairs

    GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – A team of 11 Virginia Beach Seabee divers from Underwater Construction Team 1 (UCT 1), returned home from a Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, deployment where they conducted in-depth inspections and surveys, as well as provided disaster debris removal, as part of a peacetime reconstruction mission.

    The detachment’s mission while in Guantanamo Bay was to conduct a hydrographic and side-scan survey, Level II underwater inspections and remove 48 obsolete battleship moorings, that, due to deterioration had become hazards to navigation.

    Additionally, they were tasked to remove portions of the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) marina that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

    To prepare for the mission, five pallets of dive and geotechnical gear were off-loaded from a C-130 transport aircraft and loaded onto a ferry to be transported across the bay to the team.

    Following the transit, the equipment was quickly staged and prepared to support simultaneous survey operations and the removal of the damaged sections of the MWR marina.

    Covering over a square kilometer of the ocean floor, the data from the hydrographic and side-scan surveys were used to image the ocean floor, identify any potential hazards to navigation and give insight to the need of future dredging operations.

    While the survey was being conducted, Seabee divers removed the damaged decking of the marina by using a hydraulic chainsaw to cut the wood piles below the mud line.

    After the completion of the surveys and marina demolition, the focus turned to the Hospital Kay battleship moorings. The battleship moorings were installed in the early 1900s as a means to secure battleships and other naval ships in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    They were steel beams driven into the ocean floor, capped with concrete and used as a place to tie the ships in port. Over the years, the condition of the piles has degraded to a point that they were partially submerged and became dangerous to other ships in the bay.

    The initial plan was to cut all 48 piles with an underwater torch, but due to the overwhelming number of piles and difficulty with the torch, the team came up with an alternative plan to complete the task.

    A chain and line were rigged to each pile which was pulled over to lie flat on the bottom of the ocean floor by using a large pusher boat. When some of the piles were too large or oddly shaped to lie flat, divers suited-up in a hardhat diving rig, the KM-37, and cut the remaining piles with an underwater cutting cable.

    Level II inspections of the leeward ferry landing and alternate ferry landing were also performed to verify the overall condition of the landings. Level II inspections task the diver with removing the debris (barnacles, growth, etc.) on the pile with scrapers or other hand tools. This allows the divers to see if there are any cracks, holes or deformities on the pile that would not have been noticed during a swim-by inspection. When the inspection was completed the divers found the landings to be in better condition than expected.

    At the end of the project, the divers felt great about the amount of work they were able to complete during their visit.

    “We wish we had additional time to complete even more tasks. It is great work, and we are happy to be performing underwater construction in Cuba,” said Chief Equipment Operator Jason Toth, detachment officer in charge.

    UCT 1 provides responsive inshore and ocean underwater construction, inspection, repair and maintenance to ocean facilities for Navy, Marine Corps and joint forces engaged in military operations.



    Date Taken: 09.01.2013
    Date Posted: 10.16.2013 17:15
    Story ID: 115247
    Location: GUANTANAMO BAY, CU 

    Web Views: 517
    Downloads: 0