Gaeta, Italy —
Sailors assigned to Construction Dive Detachment Bravo (CDD/B), a detachment of Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 1 forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, conducted a Maritime Infrastructure Assessment (MIA) of the waterfront facilities at Naval Support Activity Naples Department (NSAND) Gaeta, Italy, to evaluate the status of the port, Dec. 12-22, 2020.
A team of 13 Sailors collected engineering data to establish condition and capability ratings in preparation of future repair and maintenance plans by the Italian Navy. The evaluation is part of the U.S. Sixth Fleet Maritime Infrastructure Assistance Program (MIAP), which collaborates with partner nations like Italy to ensure the condition and capability of critical maritime infrastructure meets the mutual requirements of both the partner and the U.S. During the evolution, CDD/B also completed periodic inspections and maintenance of three fleet mooring buoys located in the port at NSAND Gaeta.
The mission served two-fold, providing the Seabee divers an opportunity to complete vital sustainment training during their six-month deployment to Europe and Africa.
“These operations allow the dive detachments to exercise an array of diving capabilities to include SCUBA operations, surface supplied diving operations, and chamber operations,” said Chief Builder Craig Claudio, assistant officer-in-charge for CDD/B UCT 1. “Additionally, the dive detachment gets the opportunity to gather highly technical data to include, bathymetry data mapping the seafloor, bathy-corrometer to determine steel corrosion potential, and ultrasonic thickness testing to determine the amount of deterioration. All of these components create a well-rounded underwater construction technician in regard to maritime infrastructure assessments.”
Claudio also noted the maritime inspections are vital for enhancing cooperation between the U.S. Navy and partner nations to inform operational safety, strategic decision making, and capital investment plans.
The UCT detachment will provide the engineering data from the assessment to the Italian Navy so they can clearly understand the condition, rate of deterioration, and maintenance effectiveness on site. The data is also critical for any planned facility service life extensions, new construction, and dredging plans.
Steelworker 2nd Class Metro Sayre was selected as the project supervisor due to his 11 years of experience as an Underwater Construction Technician. Sayre and his team are uniquely manned, trained, and equipped to provide underwater construction assessments, rebuild and reinforce critical piers, pilings, and critical infrastructure.
“Our detachment came together under a compressed timeline and still completed this project ahead of schedule,” said Sayre. “The fleet mooring maintenance we completed will allow for NSAND Gaeta's continued operations. This inspection allows NAVFAC engineers to accurately schedule future maintenance and any needed repairs of the system.”
The U.S. Sixth Fleet Maritime Infrastructure Assistance Program (MIAP) ensures the ability to quickly restore key ports and maritime infrastructure by increasing the collective understanding and available engineering data before a crisis. This project also enhances regional interoperability, disaster response capabilities, and fosters new and enduring relationships in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations.
UCT 1 is a subordinate command of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Force, executing construction and engineering projects under Navy Expeditionary Combat Force Europe and Africa/Task Force 68 (NECFEURAF/TF 68). UCT is a specially trained and equipped unit within the Navy Expeditionary Combat Force that constructs, inspects, repairs, and maintains ports, ocean facilities, underwater systems, and general maritime infrastructure. UCT is a key component of port damage repair operations during a disaster or contingency.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national security interests and stability in Europe and Africa.