Photos: U.S. Navy Blasts Open a Channel to Remote Pacific Atoll

explosive dredging
Image courtesy USCG

Published Feb 11, 2022 7:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Coast Guard buoy tender Sequoia recently carried a U.S. Navy underwater construction team to blast open the shoal channel at Kapingamarangi Atoll, the southernmost atoll in the Caroline Islands. 

Working with the government of Micronesia and with local leaders at Kapingamarangi, the Coast Guard and Navy teams used controlled explosive dredging to widen the channel, which had narrowed because of marine growth. The targeted area for removal was about 10,000 square feet, and the task took about 6,500 pounds of explosives to clear the area over the course of four days.

"I am proud of the efforts of our crew and the [Navy] crew in completing this challenging mission," said Cmdr. Ryan Adams, commanding officer of the Sequoia. "This channel widening will allow merchant vessels to more easily navigate the island, which will provide vital supplies to more than 300 residents who call Kapingamarangi home."

Images courtesy USCG

"The United States and the FSM share a special and unique bond. It is through this friendship that we were all able to accomplish this mission. The widening of the channel will now improve accessibility for commerce and emergency situations especially when responding to natural disasters," said U.S. Ambassador Carmen G. Cantor. "We know how important this channel is to the lives of the people of Kapingamarangi."

Crewmembers from the Sequoia and the Navy detachment also delivered about 1,700 gallons of bottled drinking water to the residents of Kapingamarangi. The water was provided by the Ayuda Foundation, a non-governmental organization based in Guam, and it was delivered to a remote no-contact drop site as a precaution against COVID-19.