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The crane at the centre of the Baltimore Bridge collapse recovery

The Chesapeake 1000 is at the centre of the Baltimore Bridge collapse recovery.

The Chesapeake 1000 floating barge crane is currently leading recovery efforts on the Baltimore Bridge collapse, as they face the monumental task of shifting steel trusses that combine to form sections weighing more than 3500 tonnes.

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With a lifting capacity of 907 metric tonnes that it can lift at a 63m radius, a main boom length of 70m, and a seven-metre jib extension, the crane provides exceptional lifting capacities for hard-to-access marine projects.

Aside from being the prime piece of machinery at the forefront of recovery efforts, the crane also possesses a lengthy history working on nation-defining jobs. Nicknamed ‘Chessy’ the crane’s most notable operation was working on ‘Project Azorian’, a CIA-led project to recover a Soviet submarine carrying three nuclear-armed ballistic missiles in the Pacific Ocean north-west of Hawaii. To construct a ship large enough to retrieve the submarine, the crane – known back then as the ‘Sun 800’ – was required to lift and install preassembled parts onto the ship.

Following its work on Project Azorian, the ship was sold to Donjon Marine Co. Incorporated in 1993, where the capacity was changed from 725 metric tonnes to 907 metric tonnes – or, 1000 US tonnes, hence the name change to ‘The Chesapeake 1000’. Since then, the crane has been used to help build bridges et cetera. These projects, however, pale in comparison to the significance of the Baltimore Bridge collapse.

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