Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapses After Ship Strike

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  • tbergstbergs Posts: 9,203
    Just insane to think how quickly and seemingly easy it was to take down the whole bridge.
    It's a hopeless situation...
  • pjhawkspjhawks Posts: 12,189
    Ever since the San Francisco earthquake in '88 where the one bridge fell on top of the other  I've always  kind of feared this kind of thing. Scary as fuck.  Just horrible for those people going over that bridge and those on the freighter.
  • OnWis97OnWis97 St. Paul, MN Posts: 4,822
    We in Minnesota all think of the I-35W bridge in 2007 that went down at rush hour.

    Bridges are engineering marvels that unfortunately are only as strong as their weakest link. And despite all the concrete and steel, have a certain fragility.
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  • mace1229mace1229 Posts: 8,985
    OnWis97 said:
    We in Minnesota all think of the I-35W bridge in 2007 that went down at rush hour.

    Bridges are engineering marvels that unfortunately are only as strong as their weakest link. And despite all the concrete and steel, have a certain fragility.
    I'd be surprised if any bridge in the world would still stand after a container ship like that runs into the main support beam. Even though it looks like it was going really slow, you can't stop that much weight. 
  • PoncierPoncier Posts: 16,215
    How quickly that thing went down is mind blowing and rather unnerving.
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  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain. Posts: 40,661
    pjhawks said:
    Ever since the San Francisco earthquake in '88 where the one bridge fell on top of the other  I've always  kind of feared this kind of thing. Scary as fuck.  Just horrible for those people going over that bridge and those on the freighter.

    As lame as it sounds to me to hear myself say this, I hate crossing bridges- pretty much any bridge, although having read about how strong and durable the Brooklyn Bridge is, I might not mind crossing that one. 
    There in an overpass a few mile from my house that I take on a fairly regular basis.  I really hate getting stuck on it at a red light.  The damn thing bobs up and down a bit.  It's built to do that to be more earthquake-proof but still, I just hate getting stuck on that thing!
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  • TravelarTravelar Kalamazoo, USA Posts: 3,355
    Poncier said:
    How quickly that thing went down is mind blowing and rather unnerving.

    When I lived in Baltimore, I used to travel this bridge regularly (a couple of times a week as a backup to my normal commute) and it is absolutely horrifying how quickly this fell into the water. While the cost of life is devastating as it is, imagine this happening during the normal commute hour.
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 38,956
    I have so many questions about this.

    They say the ship lost power and it crashed into the bridge.

    Where were the tugs that usually escort a ship of that size?

    Was that ship short enough to skate under that bridge in the first place?

    Was a pilot on board?
  • mace1229mace1229 Posts: 8,985
    edited March 26
    I have so many questions about this.

    They say the ship lost power and it crashed into the bridge.

    Where were the tugs that usually escort a ship of that size?

    Was that ship short enough to skate under that bridge in the first place?

    Was a pilot on board?
    Morning news said there were 2 local pilots on board driving (?) it out to sea. Don't know about the escort tug.
    I later read the pilots contacted emergency services and issued a mayday, and local law enforcement closed the bridge to traffic. I don't know how long that took and if they closed it in time. I know a few cars fell in, but don't know if it usually would have been worse at that time. 
    I had the same question about size, it didn't look like it would fit under. But I assumed it must have just been perspective, unless there was another way out it was supposed to take?
    Post edited by mace1229 on
  • TravelarTravelar Kalamazoo, USA Posts: 3,355
    edited March 26
    This is a major port for the US. #1 for autos and single digits for other goods. There was absolutely enough clearance for a ship of this size. This is also still relatively far from the port in the Chesapeake bay. Tugs don't usually come into play until much later and are typically only used for docking and undocking, much like at an airport where the plane gets pushed back by the tow tractor.
    The ship apparently lost electrical power coming into the harbor and put out a mayday 4 minutes before striking the bridge, allowing for lane closures which probably saved some lives. The loss of power likely led to loss of steering. It also dropped anchor in an attempt to slow down. It was doing about 8 knots or 9 mph which is an acceptable speed for that area of the bay.
    Much of this is compiled from news sources and the governors press conference this morning, so hopefully it is accurate.
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 38,956
    Travelar said:
    This is a major port for the US. #1 for autos and single digits for other goods. There was absolutely enough clearance for a ship of this size. This is also still relatively far from the port in the Chesapeake bay. Tugs don't usually come into play until much later and are typically only used for docking and undocking, much like at an airport where the plane gets pushed back by the tow tractor.
    The ship apparently lost electrical power coming into the harbor and put out a mayday 4 minutes before striking the bridge, allowing for lane closures which probably saved some lives. The loss of power likely led to loss of steering. It also dropped anchor in an attempt to slow down. It was doing about 8 knots or 9 mph which is an acceptable speed for that area of the bay.
    Much of this is compiled from news sources and the governors press conference this morning, so hopefully it is accurate.
    We have the tugs hook up w bigger ships fairly early here in NY so I was wondering about that area.

    The anchor was a nice attempt but that wasnt going to do anything.

    The full report on this will be interesting and potentially law changing for ships entering and exiting around bridges and harbors.

    If we were to lose the Varrazano bridge here in NY it would mess up traffic for years until a new bridge was in place.  I can't imagine what contingency plan they have right now.
  • mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 35,641
    I have so many questions about this.

    They say the ship lost power and it crashed into the bridge.

    Where were the tugs that usually escort a ship of that size?

    Was that ship short enough to skate under that bridge in the first place?

    Was a pilot on board?

    2 harbor pilots. deep water port wouldn't necessarily need tugs.
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  • BentleyspopBentleyspop Craft Beer Brewery, Colorado Posts: 10,537
    I was awake for an early flight before 3 a.m. est and already there was conspiracy theories being posted online about this.
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 38,956
    mickeyrat said:
    I have so many questions about this.

    They say the ship lost power and it crashed into the bridge.

    Where were the tugs that usually escort a ship of that size?

    Was that ship short enough to skate under that bridge in the first place?

    Was a pilot on board?

    2 harbor pilots. deep water port wouldn't necessarily need tugs.
    I get it but we still use them here in NY.  I know these ships steer like a dream now but what if a catastrophic loss of power happens?  This.

    Again, i see rules changing after this.
  • gimmesometruth27gimmesometruth27 St. Fuckin Louis Posts: 22,149
    I was awake for an early flight before 3 a.m. est and already there was conspiracy theories being posted online about this.
    because of course.

    the internet is so stupid sometimes.
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  • benjsbenjs Toronto, ON Posts: 8,934
    Just wanted to mention - this is a collision-triggered bridge collapse, but things aren't looking good for bridges in general.

    Rapid infrastructure expansion occurs follows a strong economy, which encourages population growth, which demands the infrastructural investment. That means typically that massive chunks of infrastructure reach their end-of-serviceable-life at a similar point, but the challenge is - there's no guarantee that that 'similar point' will have the same economic conditions that existed in the first place. Many of the bridges designed for 70-year lifespans (if properly maintained throughout their lives) have reached 50 years of life and will require costly servicing or replacement around the same time. I'm nervous to see if there are an abundance of bridge collapses over the next two decades.
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  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 38,956
    benjs said:
    Just wanted to mention - this is a collision-triggered bridge collapse, but things aren't looking good for bridges in general.

    Rapid infrastructure expansion occurs follows a strong economy, which encourages population growth, which demands the infrastructural investment. That means typically that massive chunks of infrastructure reach their end-of-serviceable-life at a similar point, but the challenge is - there's no guarantee that that 'similar point' will have the same economic conditions that existed in the first place. Many of the bridges designed for 70-year lifespans (if properly maintained throughout their lives) have reached 50 years of life and will require costly servicing or replacement around the same time. I'm nervous to see if there are an abundance of bridge collapses over the next two decades.
    Since the Minnesota collapse there was reports of 7.5% of bridges that failed inspections or are deemed structurally deficient.  Almost half our bridges are 50+ years old.
  • mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 35,641
    edited March 28
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  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain. Posts: 40,661
    benjs said:
    Just wanted to mention - this is a collision-triggered bridge collapse, but things aren't looking good for bridges in general.

    Rapid infrastructure expansion occurs follows a strong economy, which encourages population growth, which demands the infrastructural investment. That means typically that massive chunks of infrastructure reach their end-of-serviceable-life at a similar point, but the challenge is - there's no guarantee that that 'similar point' will have the same economic conditions that existed in the first place. Many of the bridges designed for 70-year lifespans (if properly maintained throughout their lives) have reached 50 years of life and will require costly servicing or replacement around the same time. I'm nervous to see if there are an abundance of bridge collapses over the next two decades.

    I'm guessing some of this depends on how well they are constructed.  Take the Brooklyn Bridge, for example.  With regular maintenance, it is expected to last 1,000 years.  Sadly, few have been built with that kind of durability.  So yeah, I'm a nervous Nellie (or Ned, I guess?)  when it comes to crossing bridges. 
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  • mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 35,641
    https://apnews.com/article/baltimore-key-bridge-collapse-03-27-2024-6a95340e5daeff6551fc999d23feb278   Cargo ship had engine maintenance in port before it collided with Baltimore bridge, officials say

    Cargo ship had engine maintenance in port before it collided with Baltimore bridge, officials say
    By LEA SKENE and BRIAN WITTE
    1 minute ago

    BALTIMORE (AP) — The cargo ship that lost power and crashed into a bridge in Baltimore underwent “routine engine maintenance” in port beforehand, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday, as divers recovered the bodies of two of six workers who plunged into the water when it collapsed. The others were presumed dead, and officials said search efforts had been exhausted.

    Investigators began collecting evidence from the vessel a day after it struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The bodies of the two men were located in the morning inside a red pickup submerged in about 25 feet (7.6 meters) of water near the bridge’s middle span, Col. Roland L. Butler Jr., superintendent of Maryland State Police, announced at an evening news conference.

    He identified the men as Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, who was from Mexico and living in Baltimore, and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, who was from Guatemala and living in Dundalk, Maryland.

    The victims, who were part of a construction crew fixing potholes on the bridge, were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Butler said.

    Maryland Gov. Wes Moore addressed their families in Spanish during the news conference, saying, “Estamos contigo, ahora y siempre,” which means, “we are with you, now and always.”

    All search efforts have been exhausted, and based on sonar scans, authorities “firmly” believe the other vehicles with victims are encased in material from the collapsed bridge, Butler said. Divers are to resume searching once the debris is cleared.

    Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath said at the news conference that authorities were informed that the ship was going to undergo the maintenance.

    “As far as the engine goes, we were not informed of any problems with the vessel,” he said.

    The Baltimore region has reeled from the sudden loss of a major transportation link that's part of the highway loop around the city. The disaster also closed the port, which is vital to the city's shipping industry.

    National Transportation Safety Board officials boarded the ship to recover information from its electronics and paperwork and to interview the captain and other crew members, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said during a separate news conference. Twenty-three people, including two pilots, were on the ship when it crashed, she said.

    The vessel was also carrying 56 containers of hazardous materials including corrosives, flammables and lithium ion batteries, Homendy said. She added that some containers were breached, and that a sheen on the water from those materials would be handled by authorities.

    Marcel Muise, NTSB investigator in charge, laid out a preliminary timeline assembled from the voyage data recorder comprising audio from the bridge and VHF radio ahead of the crash, which federal and state officials have said appeared to be an accident.

    The vessel, the Dali, left port at 12:39 a.m. Tuesday and, after it entered the channel, signs of trouble came at about 1:25 a.m. when numerous alarms sounded, according to the NTSB. About a minute later, steering commands and rudder orders were issued, and at 1:26 a.m. and 39 seconds, a pilot made a general radio call for nearby tug boats.

    Maryland Transportation Authority data from about the same time shows the pilot association dispatcher called the transportation authority's officer on duty about the blackout, the NTSB said.

    Just after 1:27 a.m., the pilot commanded the ship to drop an anchor on the left side of the ship and issued added steering commands. About 20 seconds later, the pilot issued a radio call reporting that the Dali had lost all power approaching the bridge.

    At about that time, the state transportation officer on duty radioed two of its units already stationed at each end of the bridge saying to close the bridge to vehicle traffic. They were already there because of the construction.

    Around 1:29 a.m., when the ship was traveling at about 8 mph (13 kph), recordings for about 30 seconds picked up sounds consistent with it colliding with the bridge, the NTSB said. A Transportation Authority dash camera also shows lights on the bridge going out.

    At 1:29 a.m. and 39 seconds, the pilot reported to the Coast Guard that the bridge was down.

    Muise said experts will review the entire voyage data recording and develop a detailed transcript.

    At least eight people initially went into the water when the ship struck the bridge column, and two of them were rescued Tuesday, officials said.

    Traffic was still crossing the span as the ship approached, and some vehicles appeared to escape with only seconds to spare. The crash caused the bridge to break and fall into the water within seconds.

    Authorities had just enough time to stop vehicle traffic. One officer parked sideways across the lanes and planned to drive onto the bridge to alert the construction crew once another officer arrived, but he did not get a chance.

    The debris complicated the search for the workers, according to a Homeland Security memo described to The Associated Press by a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss details of the document or the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Gov. Moore said the divers faced dangerous conditions, among the mangled metal and low visibility.

    “They are down there in darkness where they can literally see about a foot in front of them,” Moore said.

    The Dali, which is managed by Synergy Marine Group, was headed from Baltimore to Sri Lanka. It is owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd., and Danish shipping giant Maersk said it had chartered it.

    The vessel passed foreign port state inspections in June and September 2023. In the June inspection, a faulty monitor gauge for fuel pressure was rectified before departure, Singapore’s port authority said.

    The ship was traveling under a Singapore flag, and officials there said they will conduct their own investigation in addition to supporting U.S. authorities.

    The sudden loss of a highway that carries 30,000 vehicles a day and the port disruption will affect not only thousands of dockworkers and commuters but also U.S. consumers who are likely to feel the impact of shipping delays.

    “A lot of people don’t realize how important the port is just to everything,” said Cat Watson, who used the bridge to get to work every day and lives close enough that she was awakened by the collision. “We’re going to be feeling it for a very long time.”

    Baltimore is a busy entry point for vehicles made in Germany, Mexico, Japan and the United Kingdom, along with coal and farm equipment.

    Ship traffic has been suspended indefinitely. Windward Maritime, a maritime risk-management company, said its data shows a large increase in ships that are waiting for a port to go to, with some anchored outside Baltimore or nearby Annapolis.

    At the White House, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the Biden administration was focused on reopening the port and rebuilding the bridge, which was completed in 1977. He did not put a timeline on those efforts, while noting that the original bridge took five years to construct.

    Buttigieg also planned to meet Thursday with supply chain officials.

    Barges, including some with cranes, were on their way to help remove the wreckage, Gilreath said.

    Homendy said the NTSB investigation could take 12 to 24 months but the agency may issue urgent safety recommendations sooner. A preliminary report should come in two to four weeks.

    “It’s a massive undertaking for an investigation,” Homendy said.

    From 1960 to 2015, there were 35 major bridge collapses worldwide due to ship or barge collisions, according to the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure.

    ___

    Witte reported from Dundalk, Maryland. Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report, including Nathan Ellgren, Colleen Long, Sarah Brumfield, Rebecca Santana, Jake Offenhartz, Joshua Goodman, Ben Finley, Claudia Lauer, Juliet Linderman, Josh Boak, David McHugh, John Seewer, Michael Kunzelman, Mike Catalini, Sarah Rankin and Lisa Baumann.

     

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  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 38,956
    brianlux said:
    benjs said:
    Just wanted to mention - this is a collision-triggered bridge collapse, but things aren't looking good for bridges in general.

    Rapid infrastructure expansion occurs follows a strong economy, which encourages population growth, which demands the infrastructural investment. That means typically that massive chunks of infrastructure reach their end-of-serviceable-life at a similar point, but the challenge is - there's no guarantee that that 'similar point' will have the same economic conditions that existed in the first place. Many of the bridges designed for 70-year lifespans (if properly maintained throughout their lives) have reached 50 years of life and will require costly servicing or replacement around the same time. I'm nervous to see if there are an abundance of bridge collapses over the next two decades.

    I'm guessing some of this depends on how well they are constructed.  Take the Brooklyn Bridge, for example.  With regular maintenance, it is expected to last 1,000 years.  Sadly, few have been built with that kind of durability.  So yeah, I'm a nervous Nellie (or Ned, I guess?)  when it comes to crossing bridges. 
    Every time i hear how well the BK bridge is constructed I laugh.  It was almost a huge disaster.  The factory that was chosen to make the 4 main cables was using inferior wire.  The architect knew this and ordered them to make the cable bigger by adding more strands and making sure the bridge was safe.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain. Posts: 40,661
    brianlux said:
    benjs said:
    Just wanted to mention - this is a collision-triggered bridge collapse, but things aren't looking good for bridges in general.

    Rapid infrastructure expansion occurs follows a strong economy, which encourages population growth, which demands the infrastructural investment. That means typically that massive chunks of infrastructure reach their end-of-serviceable-life at a similar point, but the challenge is - there's no guarantee that that 'similar point' will have the same economic conditions that existed in the first place. Many of the bridges designed for 70-year lifespans (if properly maintained throughout their lives) have reached 50 years of life and will require costly servicing or replacement around the same time. I'm nervous to see if there are an abundance of bridge collapses over the next two decades.

    I'm guessing some of this depends on how well they are constructed.  Take the Brooklyn Bridge, for example.  With regular maintenance, it is expected to last 1,000 years.  Sadly, few have been built with that kind of durability.  So yeah, I'm a nervous Nellie (or Ned, I guess?)  when it comes to crossing bridges. 
    Every time i hear how well the BK bridge is constructed I laugh.  It was almost a huge disaster.  The factory that was chosen to make the 4 main cables was using inferior wire.  The architect knew this and ordered them to make the cable bigger by adding more strands and making sure the bridge was safe.

    But that actually did make it more safe, right?  I'm no expert on this sort of thing, but from what I read in Alan Weisman's World Without Us and Henry Petroski's To Engineer is Human, I very much get the sense that the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most durable out there. 
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  • mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 35,641
    https://apnews.com/article/baltimore-key-bridge-collapse-03-29-2024-7d27a5c561f9f3359935a56139623108   Cranes arriving to start removing wreckage from deadly Baltimore bridge collapse

     
    Cranes arriving to start removing wreckage from deadly Baltimore bridge collapse
    By LEA SKENE and BRIAN WITTE
    28 mins ago

    BALTIMORE (AP) — A crane that can lift 1,000 tons, described as one of the largest on the Eastern Seaboard, appeared near the site of a collapsed highway bridge in Baltimore as crews prepared Friday to begin clearing wreckage that has stymied the search for four workers missing and presumed dead and blocked ships from entering or leaving the city's vital port.

    Maryland Gov. Wes Moore called the Francis Scott Key Bridge's collapse following a freighter collision an “economic catastrophe" and described challenges of recovering the workers and clearing tons of debris to reopen the Port of Baltimore.

    “What we're talking about today is not just about Maryland's economy; this is about nation's economy,” Moore said at a news conference, the massive crane standing in the background. “The port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other port in this country.”

    Moore went to the scene Friday and said he saw shipping containers ripped apart “like paper-mache." The broken pieces of the bridge weigh as much as 4,000 tons, Moore said, pointing out that teams will need to cut into the former span's steel trusses to safely lift them from the Patapsco River.

    Equipment on hand will include seven floating cranes, 10 tug boats, nine barges, eight salvage vessels and five Coast Guard boats, Moore said.

    “To go out there and see it up close, you realize just how daunting a task this is. You realize how difficult the work is ahead of us,” Moore said. “With a salvage operation this complex — and frankly with a salvation operation this unprecedented — you need to plan for every single moment."

    Water conditions have prevented divers from entering the river, Moore said. When conditions change, they will resume efforts to recover the construction workers. The workers were repairing potholes on the bridge, which carried Interstate 695, when it fell early Tuesday.

    “We have to bring a sense of closure to these families,” Moore said.

    The U.S. Coast Guard is focused on removing what's left of the bridge and the container ship that struck it in order to clear the port's shipping lanes, Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath said.

    Teams of engineers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Navy and the Coast Guard — along with some private-sector experts — are assessing how to “break that bridge up into the right-sized pieces that we can lift,” Gilreath said.

    Maryland's Department of Transportation is already focused on building a new bridge and is “considering innovative design, engineering and building methods so that we can quickly deliver this project,” Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld said.

    Adam Ortiz, the Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, said there is no indication of active releases from the ship, nor of the presence in the water of materials hazardous to human health.

    Col. Roland L. Butler Jr., superintendent of the Maryland State Police, said the Federal Aviation Administration has been asked to establish a tactical flight restriction area that would begin 3 nautical miles in every direction from the center span of the bridge and goes up to 1,500 feet.

    Butler advised the public to stay away from the area with drones. He said law enforcement is poised to act on any violations of that airspace.

    The victims, who were part of a construction crew fixing potholes on the bridge, were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, officials said. At least eight people initially went into the water when the ship struck the bridge column, and two of them were rescued, officials said.

    Divers had already recovered the bodies of two men from a pickup truck in the Patapsco River, but the nature and placement of the debris has complicated efforts to find the four workers still missing and presumed dead.

    “The divers can put their hands on that faceplate, and they can’t even see their hands,” said Donald Gibbons, an instructor with Eastern Atlantic States Carpenters Technical Centers. “So we say zero visibility. It’s very similar to locking yourself in a dark closet on a dark night and really not being able to see anything.”

    Baltimoreans made morning stops at vantage points to watch for the cranes. Ronald Hawkins, who is 71 and could see the bridge from his home, recalled watching its construction in 1972. It opened in 1977.

    Now, with sadness, he stopped by an overlook, seeking closure.

    “I’m going to come up here every day, because I want to see the bridge coming up out of the water,” Hawkins said. “It’s a hurtin’ thing.”

    President Joe Biden's administration has approved $60 million in immediate aid, while Biden has said the federal government will pay the full cost of rebuilding the bridge.

    Ship traffic at the Port of Baltimore remains suspended, but the Maryland Port Administration said in a statement Friday that trucks were still being processed at marine terminals.

    Federal and state officials have said the collision and collapse early Tuesday appeared to be an accident that came after the ship lost power. Investigators are still trying to determine why.

    The crash caused the bridge to break and fall into the water within seconds. Authorities had just enough time to stop vehicle traffic but were unable to alert the construction crew.

    The cargo ship Dali, which is managed by Synergy Marine Group, had been headed from Baltimore to Sri Lanka. It is owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd. and was chartered by Danish shipping giant Maersk.

    The loss of a road that carried 30,000 vehicles a day and the port disruption will affect not only thousands of dockworkers and commuters, but also U.S. consumers, who are likely to feel the impact of shipping delays.

    Scott Cowan, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 333, said the union was scrambling to help its roughly 2,400 members whose jobs are at risk of drying up.

    “If there’s no ships, there’s no work,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can.”

    ___

    Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Sarah Brumfield in Washington, Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tennessee, Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee, and Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington.


    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 35,641

    https://apnews.com/article/maryland-bridge-collapse-shipping-tugboats-baltimore-cargo-33e1b42c7e0cd9a558d3732ffdaa6220   Could tugboats have helped avert the bridge collapse tragedy in Baltimore?


    Could tugboats have helped avert the bridge collapse tragedy in Baltimore?
    By JOSHUA GOODMAN and RICHARD LARDNER
    Today

    With the 95,000-ton cargo ship Dali powerless and hurtling helplessly toward the Francis Scott Key Bridge, the harbor pilot commanding the vessel had just minutes to make his last, desperate attempts to avoid disaster. He declared distress, dropped anchor and, notably, called for help from nearby tugboats.

    Two 5,000-horsepower tugs, which only minutes earlier had helped guide the ship out of its berth at the Port of Baltimore and peeled off, quickly turned back and raced toward the Dali. But it was too late. The massive ship stacked with cargo slammed into the bridge in the predawn darkness Tuesday, toppling the span and killing six construction workers.

    Whether those tugs could have averted the disaster with the Dali already out of control is debatable. But maritime experts interviewed by The Associated Press say they could have made a difference if the tugs had stuck by the ship longer, escorting it on its 18-minute trip through the port’s deep-water channel, in a position to see it drifting off course and potentially nudge or tow it back in line.

    Such extended tugboat escorts aren't required or even customary in Baltimore or at many other U.S. ports, mostly because of the costs they would add for shippers. But with the increasing size of cargo ships and the threat they pose to bridges and other critical infrastructure, some are questioning whether they should be.

    “I’m a big fan of tug escorts,” said Joseph Ahlstrom, a member of the Board of Commissioners of Pilots of the State of New York, which regulates the state's harbor pilots. “If applied early enough and effectively, yes, a tug escort could prevent a collision with the bridge or with another ship, or going aground."

    “Going to sea is danger,” added Ahlstrom, who also teaches at the State University of New York’s Maritime College. “But if you’re going to go to sea, if you’re going to put yourself at risk, do whatever it takes to minimize risk.”

    Maritime experts told the AP that the Baltimore disaster highlights how each individual port makes its own tugboat rules, resulting in a patchwork across the nation, and how competition among ports for business from cost-conscious shipping companies has trumped calls for extended tugboat escorts that can add tens of thousands of dollars to every transit.

    Baltimore's port, operated by the state of Maryland, ordinarily uses tugboats to help maneuver big ships out of their docks and doesn't require extended tugboat escorts into the port's channel and broader Chesapeake Bay unless ordered by local harbor pilots or the U.S. Coast Guard over safety concerns tied to weather, traffic, cargo or mechanical issues. Shippers can also request tugs.

    In the case of the Dali, two state harbor pilots boarded the Singaporean-flagged ship to take over navigation through the port as the vessel set out on a trip to Sri Lanka. Two tugboats, the Eric McAllister and the Bridget McAllister, guided the massive vessel out of the tight spaces of the dock and then released when the ship was safely in the channel.

    But within minutes, according to satellite data that tracks vessel traffic, the 984-foot (300-meter) Dali began to drift out of its lane and veered more sharply before slamming into one of the main pillars of the bridge, which is a critical conduit for Baltimore truckers and commuters.

    The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the crash, said a review of the ship's voyage data recorder showed the pilot's 1:26 a.m. call for help from nearby tugs came about four minutes before impact.

    “One of the things that was hard for me to believe is that they didn’t require tugs on the vessel as it was traversing towards the bridge,” said David Heindel, president of the Seafarers International Union, which represents U.S. merchant mariners.

    “Some ports require tugs, depending on the vessel, usually tankers. You see where tugs have to escort ships in and out of port, especially narrow ports," Heindel said. "In the end, I think that that may be exactly what happens in the Port of Baltimore.”

    The Maryland Port Administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said the service doesn't direct tug operations in the port and the Dali's departure “is the typical outbound scenario for these types of cargo ships.”

    The Dali is owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd. and managed by the Singapore-based Synergy Marine Group. Synergy spokesman Darrell Wilson said the pilots guide the company's ships in and out and that he didn't know how tugs are coordinated.

    The Eric McAllister and Bridget McAllister are muscular machines. Called tractor tugs, they don't just nudge ships. The Eric McAllister, the bigger of the two, is 98 feet (30 meters) long and equipped with a thick steel cable and winch that, when attached to even a large cargo ship, can potentially pull it away from trouble.

    The 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska's Prince William Sound spurred Congress and a few states to require tug escorts for oil tankers. But those limited requirements were aimed at protecting wildlife from spills, not safeguarding critical infrastructure such as bridges.

    Jennifer Carpenter, president of the American Waterways Operators, a trade group that represents tugboat and barge companies, said that given the Dali tragedy, she expects regulators to look closely at whether more stringent tugboat escort requirements are needed.

    But she said tugboats are just one part of a complex safety matrix that also includes concrete fenders for bridges and emergency response systems.

    The supply of tugboats is limited and using them more frequently entails risks, she said, primarily pollution and increased sea traffic.

    “The last thing we want to do is have two tugs escorting every vessel,” Carpenter said. “That would have massive implications for the efficiency and safety of our waterways, which are already pretty crowded.”

    Some ports have tried to boost vessel escort requirements. But they often face resistance from shippers, who are under pressure from customers to move goods as cheaply as possible.

    In 2004, California’s Legislature passed a bill requiring tug escorts for chemical tanker ships in San Francisco Bay, but it was vetoed by then-Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger amid protests by the shipping industry over cost concerns.

    “Tugs are a big upfront cost and a lot of companies don’t want to pay for that,” said Sal Mercogliano, who writes a widely followed shipping blog. "And if Baltimore starts mandating it, you’re going to see ships go to Norfolk, Philadelphia, New York — wherever is cheapest.”

    McAllister Towing, which operates the tugboats that guided the Dali, can charge $15,000 or more for one or more of its ships to lead a large cargo vessel out of its berth, according to a recent rate sheet, with more charges for extended escorts.

    That may be small change for a big shipping company but the costs can add up.

    John Konrad, a licensed captain, said there’s an “unspoken tension” between shipping companies and pilots over how many tugboats should be used and how long they remain with a seagoing vessel.

    “The pilots would like, in an ideal world, to have extra tugs with them all the time until the ship gets out to the ocean,” said Konrad, founder and CEO of gCaptain, a website for maritime professionals.

    “But the shipping companies don’t want to pay for those tugs," he said. "So there’s always this push and pull.”

    ___

    Associated Press reporter Josh Funk contributed.

    ___

    Contact AP’s global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org or https://www.ap.org/tips/


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  • mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 35,641
    https://apnews.com/article/key-bridge-collapse-baltimore-port-maryland-3edebfb3b7fb48fd81be81cf69ebfbf5   Crews carefully start removing first piece of twisted steel from collapsed Baltimore bridge

     
    Crews carefully start removing first piece of twisted steel from collapsed Baltimore bridge
    By SERKAN GURBUZ and JEFFREY COLLINS
    33 mins ago

    BALTIMORE (AP) — Teams of engineers are working Saturday on the intricate process of cutting and lifting the first section of twisted steel from the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Maryland,

    The bridge crumpled into the Patapsco River on Tuesday after a massive cargo ship crashed into one of its main supports.

    Sparks could be seen flying from a section of bent and crumpled steel Saturday afternoon. The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that work has started to remove a section of the toppled structure.

    Crews are carefully measuring and cutting the steel from the broken bridge before attaching straps so it can be lifted onto a barge and floated away, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath said Saturday.

    Seven floating cranes — including a massive one capable of lifting 1,000 tons — 10 tugboats, nine barges, eight salvage vessels and five Coast Guard boats are on site in the water southeast of Baltimore.

    Each movement affects what happens next and ultimately how long it will take to remove all the debris and reopen the ship channel and the blocked Port of Baltimore, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said.

    "I cannot stress enough how important today and the first movement of this bridge and of the wreckage is. This is going to be a remarkably complicated process," Moore said.

    Undeterred by the chilly morning weather, longtime Baltimore resident Randy Lichtenberg and others took cellphones photos or just quietly looked at the broken pieces of the bridge, which including its steel trusses, weigh as much as 4,000 tons.

    “I wouldn’t want to be in that water. It’s got to be cold. It’s a tough job,” said Lichtenberg from a spot on the river called Sparrows Point.

    The shock of waking up Tuesday morning to video of what he called an iconic part of the Baltimore skyline falling into the water has given way to sadness.

    “It never hits you that quickly. It’s just unbelievable,” Lichtenberg said.

    WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

    One of the first goals for crews on the water is to get a smaller auxiliary ship channel open so tugboats and other small barges can move freely. Crews also want to stabilize the site so divers can continue a search for four missing workers who are presumed dead.

    Two workers were rescued from the water in the hours following the bridge collapse early Tuesday, and the bodies of two more were recovered from a pickup truck that fell and was submerged in the river. They had been filling potholes on the bridge and while police were able to stop vehicle traffic after the ship called in a mayday they could not get to the construction crew who were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

    The crew of the cargo ship Dali, which is managed by Synergy Marine Group, remains on board with the debris from the bridge around it. They are safe and are being interviewed. They are keeping the ship running as they will be needed to get it out of the channel once more debris has been removed. The vessel is owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd. and was chartered by Danish shipping giant Maersk.

    The collision and collapse appeared to be an accident that came after the ship lost power. Federal and state investigators are still trying to determine why.

    Assuaging concern about possible pollution from the crash, Adam Ortiz, the Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, said there was no indication in the water of active releases from the ship or materials hazardous to human health.

    REBUILDING

    Officials are also trying to figure out how to handle the economic impact of a closed port and the severing of a major highway link. The bridge was completed in 1977 and carried Interstate 695 around southeast Baltimore.

    Maryland transportation officials are planning to rebuild the bridge, promising to consider innovative designs or building materials to hopefully shorten a project that could take years.

    President Joe Biden’s administration has approved $60 million in immediate aid and promised the federal government will pay the full cost to rebuild.

    Ship traffic at the Port of Baltimore remains suspended, but the Maryland Port Administration said trucks were still being processed at marine terminals.

    The loss of a road that carried 30,000 vehicles a day and the port disruption will affect not only thousands of dockworkers and commuters, but also U.S. consumers, who are likely to feel the impact of shipping delays. The port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other U.S. facility.

    ___

    Collins reported from Columbia, South Carolina. Associated Press writers Sarah Brumfield in Washington, D.C.; Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tennessee; Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee; and Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington; contributed to this report.


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  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 38,956
    @mickeyrat thx for the article.  It appears people in the business have the same questions I do.

    When we went through the locks in seattle we were required to have tugs escort us in and out until we were clear of pretty much anything. Coming into port in other places were the same.  Tug escorts.  On the 120' catcher and tenders we didn't need one but for a 300' ship and larger, yes.  So think of a 900' ship.  That thing is 3 football fields long.

    I see this changing maritime rules for the better as so this doesn't happen again.
  • mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 35,641
    @mickeyrat thx for the article.  It appears people in the business have the same questions I do.

    When we went through the locks in seattle we were required to have tugs escort us in and out until we were clear of pretty much anything. Coming into port in other places were the same.  Tug escorts.  On the 120' catcher and tenders we didn't need one but for a 300' ship and larger, yes.  So think of a 900' ship.  That thing is 3 football fields long.

    I see this changing maritime rules for the better as so this doesn't happen again.

    no one standard. up to each port and as article stated , shippers seem to be driving that to keep costs down.

    it just makes no sense to have a bridge of that type, classified as a fracture critical(meaning any one part fails leading to complete failure),  with zero protection around support piers to not require tug suport.

    one argument is if one requires it it will drive traffic to one that doesnt. while I can see that , it lends itself then to federal requirement under coast guard rules or something like that.

    watching that first full briefing by ntsb  the day after, was both fascinating and alarming , hearing the depth of investigation and some of the stats.
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  • mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 35,641
    gift article....


      Authorities plan alternate channel in Baltimore Harbor
    By Martin Weil
    March 31, 2024 at 22:58 ET
    A temporary channel for essential uses was under preparation Sunday night in the Baltimore Harbor, which was blocked by the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, officials said.
    The Captain of the Port “is preparing to establish a temporary alternate channel” near the Key Bridge for “commercially essential vessels,” officials in charge of the bridge response said in a news release.
    It was not clear exactly how the alternate channel was to be created, when it could be opened or what vessels would be classified as essential. No information was immediately available on whether weight and size limits would be imposed for use of the alternate route.
    Also unclear was whether the channel could be used by any cargo ships docking at Baltimore, or whether it would be restricted to vessels involved in the effort to recover from the bridge collapse.
    Specifications given in the news release suggest that the alternate channel might not be deep enough for vessels other than barges or similar craft.
    The collapse of the bridge after it was struck by a container ship closed the harbor and authorities said it has caused major problems for the economy of both the Baltimore region and for the rest of the United States.
    Creation of an alternate channel “will mark an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore,” said Coast Guard Capt. David O’Connell, the federal on-scene coordinator for response to the bridge collapse.
    “By opening this alternate route, we will support the flow of marine traffic into Baltimore,” O’Connell said.

    continues......

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat up my ass, like Chadwick was up his Posts: 35,641
    gift article from last week about what is impacted for shipping



      See how the Key Bridge collapse will disrupt the supply of cars, coal and tofu
    By Rachel Lerman, Hannah Dormido, Jeanne Whalen, Luis Melgar and Laris Karklis
    March 27, 2024 at 8:15 ET
    The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday cut off access to much of the city’s port — causing a suspension of vessel traffic that will disrupt a key trade lane and threaten to further tangle already-stressed supply chains.
    The Port of Baltimore was the 17th largest in the nation by total tons in 2021 and an important artery for the movement of autos, construction machinery and coal. It handled 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo worth nearly $81 billion in 2023, according to Maryland data, and creates more than 15,000 jobs.
    On Tuesday, the Port of Baltimore said that vessel traffic would be suspended in and out of the port until further notice, but trucks would still be processed in its terminals.
    “Baltimore’s not one of the biggest ports in the United States, but it’s a good moderate-sized port,” said Campbell University maritime historian Sal Mercogliano. It has five public and 12 private terminals to handle port traffic.
    “It does cars, it does bulk carriers, it does containers, it does passengers,” said Mercogliano. “So this is going to be a big impact.”
    Baltimore’s the top port in the nation for automobile shipments, having imported and exported more than 750,000 vehicles in 2022, according to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry group.

    continues....

    screenshots from within the article....


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