Baltimore Bridge Collapse

Tragedy struck in Baltimore early Tuesday morning when Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed after struck by a Ship, leading to the deaths of 6 individuals and closing the country’s busiest ports. The ship was identified as  Singaporean-flagged container vessel called DALI, which struck one of the pillars of the bridge.

The 6 vanished after the Bridge disintegrated from the impact of a container ship that struck it early Tuesday. A search is now a recovery effort, officials said.

As search-and-rescue efforts transitioned into a recovery mission by Tuesday evening, Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon N. Gilreath expressed grim prospects for finding survivors. “We do not believe that we’re going to find any of these individuals still alive,” he stated, citing the water temperature and the time elapsed since the collapse.

Although two persons were reported to have survived, their identity remained undisclosed. Maryland Gov. Wes Moore expressed condolences to the families affected by the tragedy, acknowledging the pain and anguish they endured during the harrowing hours of waiting for news of their loved ones.

The Story behind the Collision

The incident unfolded in the early hours of Tuesday when the cargo ship Dali lost power, issuing a mayday before colliding with a bridge support at a speed of 8 knots. Despite rescue crews’ efforts, sonar detected multiple vehicles submerged in the 50-foot-deep water, including three passenger cars and a cement truck. However, authorities believe no individuals were trapped inside these vehicles.

While the investigation swiftly ruled out terrorism as the cause, the tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the risks inherent in maritime navigation and infrastructure maintenance.

The local pilot of the ship did “everything that he could have done” to slow the ship and keep it from drifting toward the bridge, Clay Diamond, executive director and general counsel of the American Pilots Association,

“Just minutes before the bridge, there was a total blackout on the ship, meaning that the ship lost engine power and electrical power, it was a complete blackout,” Diamond said.

The pilot then did “everything that he could have done” to both slow the ship down and keep it from drifting to the right, toward the bridge, he added.

The pilot quickly gave a string of orders, calling for a hard rudder to port –- as far left as possible -– and for an anchor to be dropped.

Video of the 95,000 gross ton ship approaching the bridge shows lights on the vessel going off then turning back on – likely due to an emergency generator activating after the initial blackout – but the ship’s engines never got running again, according to Diamond.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said in a written statement that dropping anchor is part of emergency protocol and confirmed the DALI was not under engine power.

Why this bridge holds so much Value?

The Francis Scott Key Bridge, commonly known as the Key Bridge, is a prominent landmark and vital transportation link spanning the Patapsco River in Baltimore, Maryland. .

The Key Bridge was built back in 1977, connecting Hawkins Point in Baltimore to Sollers Point in Dundalk, all the way across the Patapsco River. This river was super important for ships, giving them access to the busy Port of Baltimore.

In 2023, this port handled tons of cargo – over 52 million tons, to be exact, worth about $80 billion! That’s a whole lot of stuff, including around 750,000 cars. And get this, it also provided jobs for around 15,000 folks directly and helped support about 140,000 more jobs indirectly.

Now, the Key Bridge itself was about 1.6 miles long and had four lanes for cars – two going each way. Every day, around 34,000 vehicles zoomed across it, making it a pretty busy spot. Even though it had a run-in with a cargo ship back in 1980, the bridge came out pretty okay, still helping people get where they needed to go without too much trouble.

By Jammy

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