Port damage exercise crucial to enabling fleet and adds jobs on the Coast

A training exercise for the Seabees was hosted today.

The Port of Gulfport is hosting the Seabees Field Training exercise. It’s a full-on training operation which features new road installations, demolition, and port damage repairs. LCDR Mike Duffy with Underwater Construction Team 1 said, “Port damage repair is crucial to enabling our fleet and the ability for us to re-arm, re-fuel, and re-supply our fleet in order to enable and distribute maritime operations to keep our fleet in the flight.”

John Nass, CEO and executive director of the Mississippi State Port Authority, is bringing more job opportunities to the Coast. Part of the Seabees field training is the building of a new pier on the Port of Gulfport. Equipment Operator CPO Ben Morrow said, “This is an exciting opportunity for us. We’re all doing new things out here, building this small pier. We’re exercising our mission which is an expeditionary port damage repair operation.”

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 and divers from the underwater construction team out of Little Creek, Virginia are conducting this operation.

The Seabees are using a new technology called a diamond wire saw. The diamonds are manmade and can cut through tankers and ships. It’s a safer alternative to explosives. Assistant Officer in Charge Keith Reed said, “The pile we have behind us are 20-inch diameter pipes with half inch steel and the core is filled with concrete and we’re using the wire saw to cut down these piles.”

The partnership with the Seabees brings more beauty to the Mississippi Coast. Nass said, “Part of what we’re doing here is cleaning this up a little bit. So, when folks are boating, when they’re in Jones Park, looking at our terminal, it looks a little nice and just makes us more a part of the community, which is really important to us.”

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