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Baltimore Bridge Collapse

First vessel to transit temporary channel around collapsed Key Bridge

A fuel barge has become the first vessel to use a temporary channel around the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge six days after the Port of Baltimore was closed.

The temporary channel which runs to the northeast side of the collapsed bridge, under a portion that remains standing, has a depth of 11 feet allowing for shallow draught traffic such as barges.

The first vessel to transit the temporary channel at 3pm local time on 1 April was a fuel barge being pushed by the tugboat Crystal Coast and was bound for the Dover Air Force base with a supply of jet fuel.

Key Bridge Response Unified Command said the temporary channel was part of a phased approach to re-opening the main channel, and transit was limited to the discretion of the Captain of the Port and only available during daylight hours.

Work is now underway to establish a second temporary channel to southwest side of the main channel with a deeper draught of 15 – 16 feet to allow for larger vessels to transit.

The Key Bridge collapsed on 26 March when it was hit by the container ship Dali, chartered by Maersk and owned by Singapore-based Grace Ocean, which is believed to have suffered a power outage around five minutes prior to the accident. Six workers on the bridge died in the collapse.

Work is continuing to remove the wreckage of the collapsed bridge using two crane barges, a 650-ton crane and 350-ton crane.

With the port expected to be closed to large scale commercial traffic for at least six weeks export cargoes remain stranded on the dock while major container lines are diverting import boxes to other US East Coast ports such as Newark and New York.

The world’s third largest container line CMA CGM has declared Force Majeure on shipments to and from Baltimore

TAGS: Ports Americas