Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dredging of Mare Island Strait needed by ship dismantler nearly complete

Dredging of Mare Island Strait needed by ship dismantler nearly complete

By Jessica A. York / Times-Herald

Posted: 12/14/2010 01:01:59 AM PST

The amount of built-up mud and silt recently pulled from in front of Mare Island's dry docks 2 and 3 could fill Vallejo's Corbus Field up about 112 feet high -- which would top an 11-story building.

The lion's share of dredging work needed to deepen Mare Island Strait in preparation for ship dismantling work has come to an end, leaving only cosmetic digging this week, said Cooper Crane and Rigging founder BK Cooper.

"The job went very well," Cooper said. "We worked around the clock ... there were really no anomalies or problems." He added that more "surgical"

dredging, with divers pulling up as much as 800 cubic yards more of mud, is needed around the dry docks' caisson doors so as not to damage external gate valves.

Cooper Crane and Rigging is located on Mare Island, much like the company in need of dredging work, Allied Defense Recycling. Since Nov. 22, between 140,000-150,000 cubic yards of submerged mud has been hauled by some 75 barges from the area, Cooper said.

"The water-based crane which did 99.9 percent of the work is done," Allied Defense Recycling business operations director Jay Anast said. "We're on schedule."

The company was given an extended period in which to dredge by local regulatory agencies. In order to protect local fish life, dredging is usually mandated to end by November, at the latest. Allied Defense Recycling has until Wednesday.

Anast said the company's next step is to get the former shipyard set up. The first of two obsolete federal Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet vessels, as part of a more than $3 million federal dismantling contract, is due for Mare Island delivery at the end of January.

Divers exploring the area around the dry dock doors are able to get a clear look at the mammoth dry docks' exterior "for the first time in years," Anast said. They have discovered blanks -- pieces of metal -- bolted down around exterior drains that will need to pried off, adding some extra preparation work, Anast said.

The doors and seals are protecting former naval inset docks, which ships can be floated into, then drained for contained ship work.

For more information on Allied Defense Recycling, also doing business as California Dry Dock Solutions, visit or call (707) 648-DOCK (3625).