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Donjon starts dredging NYC cruise berth to take USNS Comfort

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Mercy-class hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) seen pierside at Naval Station Norfolk on March 25 prior to deploying to New York City (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Craig Z. Rodarte).

Donjon Marine Co., Inc., Hillside, N.J., is expediting dredging operations at Manhattan Cruise Terminal to make way for the U.S. Navy’s hospital ship USNS Comfort. The USNS Comfort has received orders from President Trump to dock in Manhattan as a relief hospital facility for individuals needing hospital care but who are not necessarily infected with COVID-19. This will free up more bed space in New York City NYC’s land-based hospitals for coronavirus patients. The ship has upwards of 1,000 hospital beds.

Donjon Marine’s Delaware Bay dredging at Manhattan Cruise Terminal, NYC ahead of arrival of Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort.

Donjon Marine was contacted last week and asked to begin dredging Manhattan Cruise Terminal’s Berth 4 in anticipation of the arrival of the Comfort to New York City. Donjon sprang into action, hurrying a dump scow out of dry dock 10 days earlier than scheduled, and moving its dredge the Delaware Bay and two others from ongoing projects scows into position.

“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 authorizations from the federal government, state of New York and the city in order to place dredge material in certain locations. And, we were able to receive them – in less than 12 hours from being requested to issuance.”

Witte said he has never seen approval of permits move that fast, stating “9/11 was close.” He credits the quick action on permits to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Thomas Creamer, Chief of Operations and Jodi McDonald, Deputy Chief, Operations, Readiness, and Regulatory Functions Division.

Donjon is moving crewmembers and supplies in-and-out of Manhattan on shuttle boats from Jersey City.

“When America says jump, we don’t ask why, we ask how high—that is what the U.S. dredging industry does –day in, and day out – Donjon Marine is another shining example of the U.S. dredging industry,” said William P. Doyle, Chief Executive Officer, Dredging Contractors of America.

UPDATE: Meantime, on the other side of the country Foss tugs escorted sister hospital ship USNS Mercy into the Port of Los Angeles (see story),

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