News: UCT-ONE Seabees complete boat ramp in Cameroon, Africa
By CM2(SCW/DV) Tory Madsen
LIMBE, Cameroon – Seabees from Underwater Construction Team ONE (UCT ONE), based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, spent the last few months constructing a 220’ by 16’ boat ramp in Cameroon, Africa.
Construction Dive Detachment Charlie (CDD/C) deployed to the Man O’ War Bay base located along the West African coast, in the town of Limbe. This base is home to the Rapid Infantry Brigade (BIR) troops that make up the elite military force for Cameroon.
CDD/C’s deployment to Cameroon started with the arrival of the advance party in early October, when the detachment Assistant Officer in Charge SWC(SCW/DV) Scott Wright and the Project Supervisor BU1(SCW/DV) Adam Perry arrived. As the advance party, they were tasked with ensuring all materials and contracts needed for the boat ramp were available and on site.
“I knew how important this boat ramp was to Cameroon’s struggle against piracy, and I just couldn’t wait to get started,” remembers Perry.
Working with the local BIR liaison and through many long trips to the neighboring city of Duoala, the advance party crew was able to ensure sufficient materials and equipment were on site to begin construction of the boat ramp.
Following the receipt of materials was the arrival of the remaining detachment members.
“As soon as I stepped off the plane the heat hit me like a tidal wave. I couldn’t imagine ever getting used to it,” BU1(SCW/DV) Carlos Hernandez remembers thinking.
After taking a little time to adapt to the climate, CDD/C began working feverishly on their project. First the construction of the pre-cast sections of the boat ramp and end blocks were completed. Then followed the associated drainage work to ensure the existing rainwater outfalls in the area were piped under and around the boat ramp. Acquiring the correct drainage pipe through the local vendor proved nearly impossible and led to a 45-day project delay. Making a positive out of a tough situation, the detachment used this downtime to conduct dive and warfare related Personal Qualification Standards training.
In early January, the detachment finally received and placed the drainage pipe. The next critical activities of setting the grade slope for the ramp, and placing the pre-cast end block sections were completed. With the end-block in place and working around the low tide, the crew then placed the pre-cast deck sections for the in-water portion of the ramp. Working long days due to tidal changes, the crew poured the remaining boat ramp deck sections in-place, followed by the placement of the large armor stone that protects the boat ramp from wave and tidal action.
By Feb. 6, 2014, CDD/C successfully completed the 220’ by 16.5’ boat ramp in Limbe, Cameroon, one month early. Navigating through a plethora of obstacles and delays, CDD/C proved resilient and completed the project, which will serve as a lasting monument to America’s support of Cameroon. In addition, the boat ramp will provide the BIR forces at Man O’ War Bay base a facility to safely and efficiently access the nearby coastline for anti-piracy and counter narcotics operations training.
Deploying in support of Commander, Naval Expeditionary Task Force Europe and Africa (CTF-68), UCT ONE 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.