Baltimore Key Bridge collapse updates: Second temporary channel opens as new underwater images released

Moment first vessel passes through temporary alternate channel in Baltimore

A second temporary channel has now been opened in the waters around the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, to get trade and movement of goods in and out of the port back up and running.

The first temporary shipping route opened on Monday, with Captain David O’Connell describing it as “an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore”.

Officials said the second route for deeper vessels launched on Tuesday, with a third channel for larger vessels planned for the coming days.

New underwater images were released by the US Navy on Tuesday, capturing the wreckage deep in the Patapsco River.

This comes as the Dali ship’s owners have denied all responsibility for the deadly crash and seek a cap of $43.7m for any lawsuit payouts.

In a court filing, the ship’s owner Grace Ocean Private Limited and operator Synergy Marine PTE denied fault or neglect over the collapse that killed six construction workers: “[It] was not due to any fault, neglect, or want of care on the part of [ship owner & operator], the Vessel, or any persons or entities for whose acts [ship owner & operator] may be responsible.”

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Governor Wes Moore said that federal and state partners are working with families of the victims

Mr Moore made the remarks during a news conference on Wednesday. He added that inclement weather has made it difficult for officials to remove the debris from the channel in order to retrieve the bodies of four of the victims that are trapped under the rubble.

“Current conditions make it unsafe for rescue divers to return to the water,” Mr Moore said. “We have to move fast. But we will not move careless. My directive is to complete this mission with no injuries and no casualties”.

Michelle Del Rey3 April 2024 22:02

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Coast Guard official says that responding crew will adjust efforts during inclement weather

“Our operations continue but will be adjusted as necessary in response to any adverse weather conditions,” said U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Frank Schiano. “The Unified Command remains committed to re-opening the port while ensuring safety and environmental protection”.

On Wednesday, Baltimore weather was predicted to be stormy with lightening. Lightening in particular can make efforts to remove parts of the bridge more complicated and unsafe. In the afternoon, officials said the weather included thunderstorms and high winds.

Michelle Del Rey3 April 2024 21:40

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Crew on board Dali ship prepared for 35-day journey, Coast Guard official says

Admiral Shannon Gilreath said that the 21-person crew on board the Dali prepared for a 35-day journey to Sri Lanka. Mr Gilreath said that the crew members have “all the supplies they need to be safe on board”. It’s previously been reported that the men do not have the proper visas to leave the ship, which compares in size to the Eiffel Tower.

He added that officials are keeping track of them and they are being supported

Michelle Del Rey3 April 2024 21:09

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Two temporary channels are helping traffic, officials say

Admiral Shannon Gilreath said that the the two temporary channels that have been opened are helping with the flow of traffic out of Baltimore Harbour. Still, officials say they do not have a timeline on when they’ll be able to move the “Dali” ship out of the area.

Michelle Del Rey3 April 2024 20:49

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Governor Wes Moore delivers daily update

Michelle Del Rey3 April 2024 20:22

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Non-profit org helping migrants sends open letter to Biden administration demanding temporary work visas

CASA, a non-profit organisation that two of the victims belonged to, held a virtual press conference on Monday asking President Joe Biden’s administration to provide temporary work visas to migrants. The group also called for temporary protected status and humanitarian parole.

As part of the news conference, the advocates revealed a letter sent to the administration asking that construction workers receive the protective policies. Latino workers are eight percent of the construction workforce and suffer over 26 percent of the deaths, the letter stated.

“As construction companies and business leaders, we know that construction cannot function without immigrant workers. We also know that it is a physical, demanding, and sometimes dangerous work,” the letter reads.

“The deaths of the pothole crew stranded on the bridge illustrates that, despite many safeguards, essential construction workers are vulnerable to sudden accidents and deaths”. The letter was signed by the non-profit, leaders in the construction industry and other advocates.

Michelle Del Rey3 April 2024 20:08

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ICYMI: How did the collision happen?

At around 1.30am ET local time, the Singapore-flagged vessel Dali struck a column on the Francis Scott Key Bridge, leading multiple parts of the 1.6-mile-long bridge to tumble into the water.

Just moments before the collision, the ship’s crew issued a mayday call. Maryland Gov Wes Moore added that the call “undoubtedly saved lives,” giving time for authorities to stop cars from continuing on the bridge.

The crew warned the Maryland Department of Transportation that a collision with the bridge “was possible,” the report said. “The vessel struck the bridge causing a complete collapse.”

It’s still unclear what caused the accident. But the ship was just 30 minutes into its 27-day journey to Sri Lanka.

Marcel Muise, the chief investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said data from the shipping container’s voyage data recorder, sometimes referred to as a “black box”, was still being analysed.

Mr Muise said that around 1.27am on Tuesday, one of the two pilots of the Dali had made radio contact regarding a “blackout” and ordered for the port anchor to be dropped as well as issuing additional steering commands.

Several seconds later the pilot issued another radio call over the radio reporting that the Dali had “lost all power and was approaching the bridge,” Mr Muise said.

Transportation authorities say the water under the bridge is around 50 feet deep.

There was no indication that the crash was intentional, officials said.

Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the Baltimore Fire Department, told The Associated Press that it appeared there were “some cargo or retainers hanging from the bridge”, creating unsafe and unstable conditions, and that emergency responders had to operate cautiously.

Jennifer Homendy, chair of the NTSB, said that over 750 tonnes of hazardous materials had been onboard the Dali container ship when the crash occurred.

An NTSB hazmat investigator was able to identify 56 containers of hazardous materials, a total of 764 tonnes of hazardous materials, Ms Homendy told a press conference on 27 March. The materials were “mostly corrosives, flammables, and some miscellaneous hazardous materials”, she added.

Some of the hazmat containers were breached, though state authorities have been made aware.

Michelle Del Rey3 April 2024 19:00

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See it: Up-close view of the Dali ship under rubble

Michelle Del Rey3 April 2024 18:35

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What is the impact the closure has had on supply chains?

Shipping companies are currently looking for alternative ports to move their goods into the US. Alternative routes include Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida Alex Cherin, a former executive at the Port of Long Beach told Fox News.

Still, he said that consumers will not likely see a large impact in the first three to six months following the tragedy. When it comes to automobiles coming into the country, he said that Port of Baltimore is very unique in how it’s able to process that type of cargo in a way that is unparalleled across the country.

“If there’s no facility available to either unload or offload automobiles on the East Coast, there aren’t very many other ports that can accommodate that”, he said. After six months, cargo might begin to be diverted to the West Coast.

Michelle Del Rey3 April 2024 17:47

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Watch it: The efforts to reopen Baltimore Harbour

Michelle Del Rey3 April 2024 16:53

Reference

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