Donjon-SMIT 2024 SMFF-TTX

Elevated Safety was honored to participate in the Donjon-SMIT 2024 SMFF-TTX the week of May 20th, 2024 in our nation’s capital, Washington DC.  Fittingly, as part of Maritime Week, the gathering was held in the Wharf district in the Dockmaster Building.

The purpose of these meetings was to run Tabletop Exercises in fulfillment of PREP Guidelines (National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program).

Elevated Safety would like to thank Donjon- SMIT for inviting our team as service providers for multiple previous projects.  These OPA 90 Salvage and Marine Firefighting Response Exercises align all of the teams of service providers and make it possible for us to come together as a cohesive response unit to achieve the goals of each project.  Donjon- SMIT expertly lays out the process of transitioning from local teams to commercial, regional, national, and international teams while implementing continuous Incident Command Structure (ICS), delivering task-specific scopes to all parties with a collective goal, and emphasis, on keeping everyone involved safe.

With three of the projects in review involving Elevated Safety, we were humbled to not only be involved with these projects, but to also get a reflective glimpse at what the management structure looks like and gauge the true scope of the projects that the teams at DJS have dealt with.

Elevated Safety has been called in for numerous reasons on these projects.  From difficult access to specialized rigging, standby rescue, firefighting, and dewatering, we’ve been able to carefully carve out a custom niche in the marine salvage world.

The panel discussions this year focused on three specific projects.

  • The USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), a Wasp-Class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy.
  • MV Ever Forward, a 1095 foot Evergreen Container ship with a gross tonnage of 117,340
  • The Spirit of Norfolk, a 151m, 1151 GT passenger ship

These three projects were unique in their own sense, but for Elevated Safety, the scope varied each time and we relied on the expertise of DJS to designate a specific capacity in which Elevated Safety could be most effective in moving the project forward for the group of selected specialty contractors.

In the case of the July 12, 2020 fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard on the coast of California, the Elevated Safety team worked under DJS to establish safe access in a challenging setting where the aluminum super structure was melted from an onboard fire, leaving an unstable condition of elements that needed to be removed safely.  By implementing rope access and specialized rigging, the ES crew was able to assist with the removal of structural elements of the ship by getting the right tools, equipment and personnel into safe positions while making strategic cuts for crane picks.

The MV Ever Forward was run hard aground in March, 2022 in the shallows off Pasadena, MD after leaving Baltimore, heading to Norfolk, VA.  The Elevated Safety team played a key role in using fall protection techniques in concert with rope access to reach a preselected set of carefully chosen containers that needed to be rigged for removal by the heavy lift Crane Barges Columbia NY and Farell, supplied by DJS.  In coordination with the DJS team, Elevated Safety rigged and removed 505 containers to aid in the lightering process to refloat the MV Ever Forward.

The Spirit of Norfolk was a passenger cruise ship offering yacht style dinner cruises out of Norfolk VA while also providing views of the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet.  During October of 2022, the ship experienced a fire in the engine room while 108 people were onboard.  There were no injuries, and all passengers and crew were evacuated safely.  Firefighting being a key tenant to the skillset of Elevated Safety, we were requested as additional support and helped in dewatering the vessel once the fires were extinguished.

Panels and gatherings such as these are incredibly valuable to service providers, since oftentimes, we can only see as far as our specific scope allows in a complex operation while other teams are working diligently to contain environmental impacts to the area. This is accomplished by piloting heavy assets into precise positions, coordinating a fleet of response vessels into place and then dealing with all of the permitting and navigating the complex politics that allow the work to take place.

Donjon-SMIT has one of the very best teams in the world at handling OPA 90 coverage for some of the most complex maritime operations one can dream up.

Many thanks to DJS for trusting Elevated Safety to handle even the smallest (but still vitally important) roles in some of these incredible projects.  In addition to a great set of panelists and expert review of these tabletop exercises that afforded some great lessons learned, this occasion marked the 20 year anniversary of the Donjon-SMIT Alliance, which was a very special part of the event for us to be present for.

We’d like to say a huge “Thank you!” to Donjon-SMIT for all their dedication and expertise to the maritime world.  We are proud to answer the call when needed and serve under their leadership.