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Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC)

U.S. Navy Divers Complete Ship Removal Operation in Pohnpei

by Ensign Lacy Burkett
04 January 2024 Mobile Diving and Salvage Company 1-8, U.S. 7th Fleet's deployed salvage force, completed the at-sea disposal of a derelict cargo vessel in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, as part of Pacific Partnership 24-1 Dec. 15th, 2023.

At the request of the Micronesian government, U.S. Navy divers from Task Group 73.6 (CTG 73.6), in cooperation with the Transportation, Communications, and Infrastructure Department (TC&I), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Pohnpei Port Authority (PPA), towed MV Micro Glory out of Dekehtik Harbor to a designated disposal site and sank her to a depth of more than 2000m.

The vessel, launched in 1978, had been moored pier-side and exposed to the elements for years. Prior to the start of pre-disposal preparations, the 185-foot long, 790-tonne Micro Glory was sitting on her keel with an 11-degree starboard list and had active leaks in her shaft seals.

Micro Glory’s disposal reduces the risks of future environment and economic impacts in Pohnpei that could have resulted from the vessel capsizing in a storm, said Lt. Cmdr. Max Cutchen, salvage officer for U.S. 7th Fleet.

Task Group divers and personnel from TC&I cleaned Micro Glory of any potential environmentally hazardous waste and removed bulk petroleum, oil and lubricants from the engines and fuel tanks prior to the disposal operation.

“The vessel was covered in the detritus of decay, necessitating a concerted effort by the disposal team to remove thousands of pounds of garbage and debris, in addition to immense quantities of fuel, oil and lubricants,” said Ens. Christopher Greene, Task Group 73.6 Commander. “U.S. Navy divers have been working side-by-side with Pohnpeian locals for over a month to ensure Micro Glory was well prepared for an at-sea disposal while prioritizing the protection of the marine environment.”

Micro Glory was ultimately sunk at a pre-designated site, approved by the Pohnpei Governor’s office, located approximately 5 nautical miles northwest of Pohnpei.

The disposal of Micro Glory provided the opportunity to enhance strong relationships and enduring trust between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia.

“This operation is one of many ways our countries continue to develop strong diplomatic ties, and cooperatively endeavor to protect our oceans and marine life for future generations,” said Greene. “The disposal of Micro Glory was a successful operation for CTG 73.6, but more importantly, it represents a big step toward the ultimate protection and preservation of the stunning Micronesian waters.”

MV Micro Glory was one of six Japanese-built cargo vessels procured by the government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) under a Japanese grant aid scheme between 1976 and 1978. The vessels were used by FSM to ferry passengers and cargo between the outer islands of the country.

CTG 73.6 is currently deployed to Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia in coordination with Pacific Partnership 24-1. Renowned as the U.S. Seventh Fleet’s premier maritime emergency response and salvage force, CTG 73.6 exemplifies the U.S. Navy’s commitment to aiding communities in need and providing swift assistance during times of crisis.

Pacific Partnership, now in its 19th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. Each year the mission team works collectively with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase security and stability in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships in the Indo-Pacific.