A Murray-based company is among the contractors assisting with salvage operations for the cargo ship Delta Mariner, which struck the Eggners Ferry Bridge Thursday night causing a 300-foot section to collapse.
Mainstream Commercial Divers, Inc., of Murray, contracted over the weekend to help Foss Maritime Company, of Seattle, which owns the 8,400 ton vessel.
Company president Craig Fortenbery said a four-man dive crew and a two-man side-scan sonar crew were on site Sunday.
“We did a side-scan sonar survey, as well as an advising survey in areas of the bridge and vessel, in order to help the development of the salvage plan for the bridge, and develop the plan on how to get the bridge off of the vessel,” said Fortenbery.
Fortenbery said Mainstream still had a few people on site as of Monday afternoon.
“Now we’re utilizing one of our vessels to ferry all of the involved persons back and forth (to the ship),” he said.
Fortenbery said that Mainstream may be further involved, depending on how Foss Maritime moves forward with its salvage plan.
Foss Maritime spokesperson Suzanne Lagoni said the company submitted its salvage plan to the U. S. Coast Guard late Sunday, and is waiting on a review.
The full Foss crew of 16 will remain on board the Delta Mariner throughout the salvage operations, said Lagoni. She added that two river pilots that were on the vessel had disembarked follwing the crash.
Specially trained divers working for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plan to be at the US 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge early Tuesday morning to begin their underwater examination of Pier 6 and two other piers that support the remaining bridge structure, said Keith Todd, KYTC District 1 spokesman.
The divers will be looking at the base of the three bridge piers to determine if the force of the collision caused collateral damage to the bridge support structure. KYTC inspectors believe one of the piers may have moved as a result of the collision.
Todd said the dive team will not be placing a monitor on the pier at this time.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock has said that evaluating the conditions of the remaining bridge structure will be key in determining strategies for creating a temporary river crossing.
The Eggners Ferry Bridge, which is located at US 68/KY 80, opened in 1932. It connects Marshall and Trigg counties at the western entrance to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. According to the AP, the transportation cabinet said the bridge was in the process of being replaced, and preconstruction work began months ago.