New York dredging works expedited for arrival of military hospital

USNS Comfort anchored off Trinidad and Tobago. Credit: U.S. Navy/MC2 Nall Morgan

Dredging works at Manhattan Cruise Terminal were expeditated to make way for the US Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort, announced Donjon Marine a marine support service provider.

Donjon Marine carried out the dredging in the Manhattan Cruise Terminal’s Berth 4, to allow for the arrival of the USNS Comfort, taking just eight days to remove 90,000 yards of material. 

Donjon Marine employed dredger Delaware, three flat-bottom barges, and three tugs in dredging the river to a depth of 40 feet to allow the hospital vessel to dock. The company stated that this would ordinarily have been a two-week job, but that quick work had cut the timeframe down by almost half.

“That wasn’t all we had to do,” said Donjon Marine’s Thomas Witte, executive vice president and director of Dredging.  “We needed expedited permits and authorisations from the federal government, state of New York, and the city in order to place dredge material in certain locations.  We were able to receive them in less than 12 hours from being requested to issuance,” he said.

Further, a second US Navy hospital ship, USNS Mercy, has been deployed to the port of Los Angeles, both vessels are to provide additional hospital capacity during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The two 1,000 bed hospitals will provide relief to both state hospitals that are already reaching capacity. The vessels are crewed by civil service mariners who operate and navigate the ship, load and off-load the cargo, assist with the repairs to mission equipment and provide essential services to keep the ships running.

Both vessels have the capacity to treat up to 80 intensive care patients at any given time. They also have 12 fully fitted operating theatres to treat the most severe trauma cases. The deployment was issued by president Trump to provide relief hospital capabilities as both vessels will help treat non-COVID-19 patients on board, freeing up hospitals to focus on COVID-19 cases.

Donjon is also moving crew members and supplies in and out of Manhattan on shuttle boats from Jersey City. The move is welcomed by the Dredging Contractors of America and cited as a shining example of the US dredging industry.

The USNS Comfort arrived in New York City on 30 March, while the USNS Mercy arrived in the port of Los Angeles on 27 March. Following the docking of USNS Comfort at Berth 4 of the cruise terminal, Donjon Marine had embarked on the dredging of Berth 3, and all five of the terminals have now been dredged to a depth of 40 feet.