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Turbo Kings – Seaward Participates In Large Scale Test Of U.S. Sealift Fleet

Posted October 4, 2019
Written by Cecil C. Achord

The no-notice exercise started for Seaward Marine Services in Norfolk VA at 1615 hours on Monday September 16, 2019 with a phone call from a Keystone Shipping Company Port Engineer. “We were just notified four of our Charleston assets have been turbo activated. Can Seaward support all four hull cleanings in a two-day availability?” During the Keystone call another one is received from the Ready Reserve Force Program Manager for Pacific-Gulf Marine. His voicemail stated “we have two Newport News assets that have been turbo activated, can Seaward provide support?” The scramble begins. Seaward Operations Manager David Spruill immediately calls Navy Reps in Mayport FL and Norfolk VA. “Can we put a few USN scheduled ships on standby for a couple days this week to support an emergent MARAD event?” “We will make up the lost time over the weekend.” Then a call goes out to Diving Supervisor Mander (Butch) Adkins Seaward Mobile Unit 1 in Mayport FL. “We need your team to mobilize to Charleston tomorrow morning in support of MV Cape Douglas and MV Cape Decision turbo activation. Another call to Diving Supervisor Vernon “Dean” Womack Seaward Mobile Unit 4. “Change of plans, we need your team to mobilize to Charleston tomorrow in support of MV Cape Edmont and MV Cape Ducato turbo activations.” Finally, a call to Diving Supervisor William “Bill” Greenwood Seaward Dive Vessel Coastal Pride. “We need you to defer your team to Newport News Terminal in support of SS Cornhusker State and SS Gopher State turbo activations.” Supervisors start making calls to dive team members, reservations for lodging, load out and logistic plans are finalized. By the time Tuesday morning news reported “Pentagon Orders Large Scale Test of U.S. Sealift Fleet”, Seaward Marine Services Norfolk Operations is moving eight dive team members with 30 tons of equipment north to Charleston from Mayport. Another eight-member dive team with 30 tons of equipment are heading south to Charleston from Norfolk and the 59 ft long by 20 ft wide 96-ton Dive Vessel Coastal Pride with their eight-member team is rumbling across the James River heading to Newport News from Norfolk Naval Station.

Then the real work began. Seaward Marine Services dive teams worked up to 16-hour days to make sure the U.S Sealift fleet and Ready Reserve Force ships underwater hulls, propellers, rudders, sea chest gratings, thrusters, and appendages are cleaned and inspected in two-day availabilities prior to accelerated dock and sea trials. It was a massive undertaking. As it turns out, turbo activations that are designed to test the readiness of Military Sealift Command and Maritime Administration Ready Reserve Force is also one heck of an exercise for Seaward Marine Services dive teams. Nothing tests our capabilities, equipment, management, supervisory, and diver personnel commitment and dedication to task better than a good turbo activation. This Pentagon ordered exercise was a 28-ship turbo activation. There are no other dive companies in the world capable of managing and executing accelerated multi tasked high-quality diving operations at several locations simultaneously like Seaward Marine Services. That’s why Seaward Marine Services has become the undisputed Turbo King of diving for civilian managed U.S Military Sealift Command and Maritime Administration Ready Reserve Forces. Bravo Zulu Seaward Divers! Well done indeed. Thank you for the outstanding representation. You are truly the best diving organization in the world!



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