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  April 3rd, 2024 | Written by

Emergency Shipping Route Opens Following Baltimore Bridge Collapse

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In the aftermath of the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, authorities have swiftly established a temporary shipping pathway to mitigate disruptions to maritime traffic. The bridge collapsed after being struck by the Dali containership, prompting a halt in ship travel into and out of the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore announced the creation of a temporary channel near the collapsed bridge during a press conference on April 1st. This alternate route, situated to the northeast of the bridge wreckage, aims to facilitate the movement of vessels around the affected area, particularly for essential commercial purposes.

The construction of the temporary channel was overseen by the Captain of the Port (COPT) and is designated for use by commercially essential vessels. The first vessel to utilize this alternate pathway was the tugboat Crystal Coast, towing a fuel barge, on April 2nd, marking a significant milestone in the recovery efforts.

President Joe Biden pledged the full support of the US government in reopening the port and reconstructing the bridge promptly after the incident. US Coast Guard Captain David O’Connell emphasized the importance of the alternate route in ensuring the resumption of marine traffic into Baltimore.

Plans are underway to establish additional channels, including a second southwest route and a third channel to accommodate deeper vessels navigating the area. Meanwhile, international support for the investigation into the bridge collapse has been initiated, with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore collaborating with Synergy Marine Pte Ltd to assist the US Coast Guard’s inquiry.

Tragically, the recovery operation also uncovered two bodies from the waters beneath the Francis Scott Key Bridge, underscoring the severity of the incident and the urgent need for comprehensive measures to address the aftermath.