MER Commercial Diving crew members utilize lift bags for the removal of a sailboat in the Folly River in Folly Beach, S.C.
Company News

2019 Has Been Busy Year For Salvage Projects In Southeast

By Abby Eason

Effective June 2019, Mainstream Commercial Divers Inc. announced it will be doing business as MER Commercial Diving, under the Moran Environmental Recovery LLC (MER) umbrella.

Five years ago, MER entered the commercial dive business through the acquisition of Eason Diving & Marine Contractors Inc., headquartered in Charleston, S.C. Subsequently, MER acquired Mainstream Commercial Divers Inc. in Murray, Ky., and then in 2017, merged the former Eason name underneath the Mainstream brand.

Since that time, Mainstream has continued to grow its reputation as one of the largest inland commercial diving contractors in the United States, providing specialized services in underwater maintenance, inspection and repair, as well as nuclear services and scientific habitat studies. As a wholly owned subsidiary of MER, Mainstream has leveraged its capability to supplement its in-house capabilities with those of its parent company. In doing so, there have been a growing number of opportunities for the Mainstream team and the MER environmental, industrial, and emergency response crews to work together on complex projects providing specialized services, while doing so under a single company and point of contact.

For MER Commercial Diving, it has been an extremely busy year, specifically in the marine salvage industry. With locations in Murray and Charleston, MER Commercial Diving’s crews have traveled up and down the East Coast performing marine salvage operations including hurricane response efforts, the salvage of large fishing vessels, and response to airplane mishaps.

MER Commercial Diving has garnered success in 2019 through large-scale, high-profile marine salvage projects, as well as being the diving company of choice for local marinas for small-vessel salvage operations.

At the start of 2019, MER Commercial Diving worked alongside MER and Global Diving & Salvage (Global), a MER company based out of Seattle, during the cleanup efforts following the Category 5 Hurricane Michael. A total of 180 derelict vessels were recovered, including the 157 foot-long El Dorado casino boat, which was left on its side in shallow marshland waters.

Directly following the Hurricane Michael salvage response operation, MER Commercial Diving traveled north to assist Global with the refloating and defueling of a 55-foot-long fishing vessel named All for Joy. Divers worked in shifts in 45–50 feet of water at temperatures of approximately 40 degrees.

MER Commercial Diving was recently awarded the contract for the removal of 15 abandoned vessels in the Folly River in Folly Beach, S.C. The majority of the vessels required removal by lift bags as well as pumping sand out of the sunken vessels.

“This project has allowed us to showcase our knowledge and experience to perform salvage operations at the full scale from project management while working with several different local and federal government agencies, creating salvage plans as well as performing dive operations that are environmentally safe,” explained Rich Coley, MER Commercial Diving Division’s business manager.

Also, following recent hurricanes, dive crews were busy performing salvage operations of sunken vessels at local marinas.

“Marine Salvage and casualty response have become a key component of MER’s emergency management program,” said John Silva, vice president of emergency response and preparedness. “Together, MER, the MER Commercial Diving Division and Global have unparalleled combined capabilities to provide comprehensive project management expertise throughout the United States.”

Moran Environmental Recovery LLC is a nationally recognized response organization with several U.S. Coast Guard classifications in many sectors across the country. MER is classified as both a Mechanical Oil Spill Removal Organization (OSRO) and is one of just a few in the nation to hold a Nonfloating Oil OSRO. MER also maintains a robust inventory within the Response Resource Inventory (RRI) that provides nationwide capabilities for plan holders.

Caption for photo: MER Commercial Diving crew members utilize lift bags for the removal of a sailboat in the Folly River in Folly Beach, S.C.