Video: Largest Claw in U.S. Links to Largest Floating Crane on East Coast

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Chessy, the 1,000-ton-capacity floating crane cleaning up debris from the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, has been paired with the largest hydraulic claw in the U.S.

The Chesapeake 1000 barge crane and HSWC500-1000 hydraulic claw started working together April 29 clearing the wreckage from the bridge, which collapsed March 26 after it was struck by the cargo ship Dali.

To watch the crane and claw in action, check out the video above by Christopher Rosario and Bobby Petty with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District.

Crews have nicknamed the 29-foot-tall hydraulic claw “Gus.” Weighing 200 tons, it arrived April 27 in Baltimore after a weeklong trip by barge from Galveston, Texas. The pair’s task is to help clear out 50,000 tons of bridge debris so the blocked Fort McHenry Channel can be fully reopened for shipping traffic to the port and so the Dali, which is still stuck under debris, can be removed.

In all, the Corps of Engineers Baltimore District reports that 22 floating cranes are working to remove the wreckage, some of it covered in mud beneath the murky waters of the Patapsco River. Chessy can send Gus down as far as 260 feet to clamp debris. Its jaws, which consist of four hydraulic clamps, can open as wide as 29 feet.

Donjon Marine Co. of New Jersey owns and operates the crane, which has a boom that extends 230 feet 9 inches and has an additional 25-plus-foot-long jib boom.

As of April 26, the corps reports that about 3,000 tons of debris have been removed from the river. A date for fully reopening the port has been set for May 31.

The first container ship arrived April 29 at the port’s Seagirt Terminal after a 35-foot-deep temporary channel was opened. The limited access channel has a horizontal clearance of 300 feet and a vertical clearance of 214 feet. The channel “is expected to provide passage for a limited number of commercial vessels into the Port of Baltimore and a departure opportunity for some deep draft vessels currently unable to leave the harbor since the FSK bridge collapse,” according to the corps.

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