BISSO MARINE recently mobilized a salvage team, the salvage support barge C/B BIG EAGLE and the 700 ton capacity D/B CAPPY BISSO to salvage a barge mounted crawler crane which struck the north side of the HWY 182 Bridge and fell into the Atchafalaya River in Berwick, Louisiana.

The crane, which weighed approximately 110 tons, was knocked into the river upon contact with the bridge in 2005 and came to rest in 30 feet of water. In the two years since the collision, however, the crane further settled approximately 25 feet below the river bottom.

BISSO MARINE salvage divers used three airlifts, up to 14 inches in diameter, to excavate the crane. By accessing the hoist drums and the crane carbody, the salvage divers were able to connect salvage rigging to the crane. As airlifting operations continued to move large amounts of sand and mud, the D/B CAPPY BISSO applied 120 tons of lifting force to ease the crane out of the hole. After removing the crane from the hole, the D/B CAPPY BISSO lifted the crane through the water column and placed it on the deck of a barge for delivery.

After securing the crane to the barge, the Bisso Marine salvage divers returned to the river bottom to locate 180 feet of damaged crane boom which was also buried in the mud. Again using the airlifts, the salvage divers were able to expose the buried boom and remove it using the Manitowoc 4000 on board the salvage support barge C/B BIG EAGLE.

Due to the position of the crane in the middle of the navigable waterway, all marine traffic had to stop during the salvage operation to ensure diver safety. To mitigate the impact of the waterway closure, BISSO MARINE conducted 24 hour continuous operations. The entire excavation and salvage operation was completed in 10 working days, 4 days ahead of schedule.