The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District held a “Blessing of the Fleet” ceremony July 12 to commemorate the deployment of the district’s Mat Sinking Unit and the official start of revetment season.
The unit has embarked on “yet another challenging yet vital season dedicated to delivering safe and reliable navigation up and down the Mighty Mississippi,” said Col. Robert Hilliard.
The Mat Sinking Unit places hundreds of thousands of articulated concrete mats, also known as revetment, along the Mississippi River to protect flood control works, prevent riverbank erosion and provide navigable waterways for commercial transportation.
The unit’s work spans the jurisdictions of the Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans districts and more than 1,500 river miles.
During last year’s revetment season, which lasted from late July to early March, the unit placed approximately 266,000 squares.
Unparalleled across the world, the Mat Sinking Unit is a feat of skilled labor and technological innovation. A mat sinking barge, a mat supply barge, quarter barges, spar barges, gantry cranes, bulldozers and motor vessels are among the equipment used by the unit to help maintain the Mississippi River’s stabilization and navigation.