The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District, said that their side-cast dredger Merritt is unable to open Oregon Inlet at the navigation span of the Bonner Bridge.
Even with favorable wind and tides, the Merritt cannot break through the two-foot depth with a pilot channel.
The district’s most seasoned side-cast dredging master Ray Bleam said: “I had not seen the conditions that bad before and that when we were able to move enough sand to float, the surrounding sand would fill the hole we had dug, immediately filling in behind us and trapping us in place.”
The U.S. Coast Guard, Oregon Inlet, will announce safety broadcasts every 60 minutes on VHF Marine Channel 16 to alert mariners of the navigation span condition.
Press Release, April 15, 2014