Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
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Adrian Schulte 202-685-5055
January 29, 2010
US salvage ship to aid in Ethiopian Airlines aircraft recovery efforts
From 6th Fleet Public Affairs
NAPLES, Italy - Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Grapple (T-ARS 53), currently operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility, has been directed to assist in the recovery efforts of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET409.
The ship was conducting a theater security cooperation joint training operation with the Tunisian Navy in Bizerte, Tunis when the request came from the government of Lebanon and U.S. Department of State for aid in recovery efforts. Within hours of the crash, a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion aircraft and the USS Ramage (DDG 61) responded to the request for assistance. Ramage has remained on scene since Monday and continued to aid the UNIFIL-led effort in recovery operations.
As one of the Navy's four rescue and salvage ships, Grapple is uniquely qualified for this type of mission. The ship and its embarked Navy divers have the ability to recover objects from the ocean floor, tow stranded vessels and provide firefighting assistance. Grapple currently has five divers embarked from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 and is making a stop at the U.S. Naval Facility in Augusta Bay, Italy for additional personnel and equipment. Grapple is typically crewed by 26 civil service mariners who operate and navigate the ship and four Navy Sailors who operate the communications suite.
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