Join our crew and become one of the 106,891 members that receive our newsletter.

The Chesapeake 1000, aka “Chessy" floating crane equipped with “Gus” the hydraulic grabber, wrestle a 90-ton piece of residual wreckage Friday morning, June 7, 2024, from the Fort McHenry Federal Channel. Taking roughly 45 minutes to unfold, Chessy and Gus slowly lift the mangled steel high above the Patapsco River, so a waiting barge can move underneath, allowing the wreckage to be safely lowered onto the barge for immediate processing by waiting hydraulic sheers. U.S. Army Photo

The Chesapeake 1000, aka “Chessy" floating crane equipped with “Gus” the hydraulic grabber, wrestle a 90-ton piece of residual wreckage Friday morning, June 7, 2024, from the Fort McHenry Federal Channel. Taking roughly 45 minutes to unfold, Chessy and Gus slowly lift the mangled steel high above the Patapsco River, so a waiting barge can move underneath, allowing the wreckage to be safely lowered onto the barge for immediate processing by waiting hydraulic sheers. U.S. Army Photo

Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Federal Channel Fully Restored

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 153863
June 10, 2024

June 10, 2024: Fort McHenry Federal Channel Reopens to Full Operation

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving have completed the challenging task of clearing the wreckage and restoring the channel to its original operational dimensions of 700 feet wide and 50 feet deep.

Since the bridge’s collapse on March 26, crews with the Unified Command have been working tirelessly to clear the wreckage and move the M/V Dali from the Federal Channel. On June 10, after removal of wreckage at the 50-foot mud-line, the Unified Command certified the riverbed as safe for transit.

The M/V Dali was safely moved on May 20, allowing the Limited Access Channel to be widened to 400 feet by May 21. This allowed all pre-collapse, deep-draft commercial vessels to transit through the Port of Baltimore. The channel’s full restoration now allows for two-way traffic and cancels the additional safety requirements that were previously implemented due to the reduced channel width.

“The partnerships that endured through this response made this pivotal mission successful,” said Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, commanding general of the USACE.

The restoration process involved removing around 50,000 tons of bridge wreckage from the Patapsco River. The Unified Command, which included six agencies, coordinated the response among approximately 56 federal, state, and local agencies.

“I cannot overstate how proud I am of our team. It was incredible seeing so many people from different parts of our government, from around our country and all over the world, come together in the Unified Command and accomplish so much in this amount of time,” said Col. Estee Pinchasin, Baltimore District commander.

Moving forward, the wreckage will continue to be transported to Sparrows Point for follow-on processing. Routine maintenance of the channel will ensure future dredging operations will not be impacted.

“Although the overarching goal to restore full operational capacity to the Federal Channel was successful, each day, we thought of those who lost their lives, their families, and the workers impacted by this tragic event,” said Pinchasin. “Not a day went by that we didn’t think about all of them, and that kept us going.”

June 5, 2024: Salvage Crews Clear Last Major Obstacle from Key Bridge Collapse Site

Ten weeks after the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, salvage crews successfully removed the final large steel truss segment blocking the 700-foot-wide Fort McHenry Federal Channel on June 3-4. Unified Command Photo
Ten weeks after the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, salvage crews successfully removed the final large steel truss segment blocking the 700-foot-wide Fort McHenry Federal Channel on June 3-4. Unified Command Photo

Salvage crews in Baltimore have successfully removed the final large steel truss segment of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge. The segment had been blocking the 700-foot-wide Fort McHenry Federal Channel since the bridge’s collapse ten weeks ago.

The operation, carried out between June 3-4, involved the use of concrete breakers, underwater surveys, and oxyacetylene torches. Crews worked meticulously to separate tons of concrete roadway, cable, and steel rebar from “Section 4C”. The debris was then removed using clamshell dredges.

Ten weeks after the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, salvage crews successfully removed the final large steel truss segment blocking the 700-foot-wide Fort McHenry Federal Channel on June 3-4. Unified Command Photo
Unified Command Photo

Unified Command has been progressively clearing the Federal Channel as part of effort to restore the Fort McHenry Federal Channel to its original 700-foot-width and 50-foot-depth.

Since May 20, the channel has been opened up to a width of 400 feet and a depth of 50 feet, permitting deep-draft commercial vessels to access the Port of Baltimore. The full restoration of the Fort McHenry Federal Channel is expected to be completed between June 8-10, marking a significant milestone in the recovery efforts following the bridge’s collapse on March 26.

May 24, 2024: Port of Baltimore Partially Reopens

Salvors continue working to clear the Francis Scott Key Bridge wreckage, May 23, 2024, in an effort to reopen the full 700 ft wide Fort McHenry Federal Channel. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Christopher Rosario
Salvors continue working to clear the Francis Scott Key Bridge wreckage, May 23, 2024, in an effort to reopen the full 700 ft wide Fort McHenry Federal Channel. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Christopher Rosario

Efforts to clear wreckage from the riverbed to restore the Federal Channel to its original dimensions are continuing in the Port of Baltimore after the reopening of the limited access channel to a width of 400 feet and a depth of 50 feet on Monday, May 20.

The reopening followed the refloating and removal of the M/V Dali on Monday, allowing the transit of all deep-draft commercial vessels calling on the Port of Baltimore.

“We are not taking our foot off the gas,” said Col. Estee S. Pinchasin, USACE, Baltimore District commander. “We are pushing forward as quickly and safely as possible to reach 700 feet and ensuring we remove all wreckage to prevent any impact to future navigation.”

Efforts to restore the federal channel to its original specifications — 700-foot width and 50-foot depth — are ongoing. The task involves removing the bottom cord of the remaining truss and cutting it into three sections for safe wreckage lifting.

Salvors continue working to clear the Francis Scott Key Bridge wreckage, May 23, 2024, in an effort to reopen the full 700 ft wide Fort McHenry Federal Channel. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Christopher Rosario
Salvors continue working to clear the Francis Scott Key Bridge wreckage, May 23, 2024, in an effort to reopen the full 700 ft wide Fort McHenry Federal Channel. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Christopher Rosario

Despite the complexity of the task and potential weather impacts, the work is expected to conclude between June 8-10.

“We are pushing forward as quickly and safely as possible to reach 700 feet and ensuring we remove all wreckage to prevent any impact to future navigation,” said Col. Estee S. Pinchasin, USACE, Baltimore District commander.

The Port of Baltimore on Friday said business was picking up with more than 30 vessels and barges are due into its public terminals over the next week.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to work in a coordinated effort with all the agencies that comprise the Unified Command to ensure the successful completion of the project.

May 21, 2024: Expanded Access to Fort McHenry Channel Announced

In a significant development for commercial shipping in the Port of Baltimore, the Captain of the Port (COTP) has announced that the reopening of the Fort McHenry Limited Access Channel following the successful refloating and removal of the M/V Dali.

The channel, now available 24/7, now has a depth of 50 feet, a 400-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 214 feet, which is enough to accommodate deep draft vessels with ease.

However, vessels will need a Maryland State Pilot and two escort tugs. The Maryland Pilots have also mandated a 3 ft under keel clearance (UKC) requirement. Further, containerships exceeding 1,000 ft in length and over 125 ft in beam will only be permitted to transit when winds are under 15 knots. Other vessels are allowed transit when winds are under 20 knots.

Deep draft traffic is being prioritized for this channel. Tug and barge traffic are encouraged to utilize the three Temporary Alternate Channels. Non-deep draft commercial vessels planning to use the Fort McHenry Limited Access Channel are advised to coordinate with the Maryland Pilots.

The three smaller Temporary Alternate Channels, namely the Fort Carroll, Hawkins Point, and Sollers Point channels, are also open 24-hours daily, with varying depths and clearances to accommodate non-deep draft commercial and recreational vessels.

In a press conference Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore praised crews for “achieving in matter of weeks what many thought would take months.”

May 20, 2024: M/V Dali Successfully Refloated and Moved at Port of Baltimore

The M/V DALI is safely re-floated and moved to a local marine terminal on May 20, 2024, in Baltimore, Maryland, as wreckage removal continues from the Fort McHenry Federal Channel. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Photo
The M/V DALI is safely re-floated and moved to a local marine terminal on May 20, 2024, in Baltimore, Maryland, as wreckage removal continues from the Fort McHenry Federal Channel. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Photo

The M/V Dali was successfully refloated and relocated on Monday, marking a key step forward in restoring full operational capacity to the Port of Baltimore following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26.

The Dali was refloated at high tide just before 7 a.m. with the support of five tugboats and various other vessels. The ship was then towed and pushed 2.5 miles to its new location at the Seagirt Marine Terminal, arriving around 9 a.m.

The successful relocation of the M/V Dali means that all pre-collapse deep-draft commercial vessels can now enter and exit the Port of Baltimore. The Unified Command, responsible for overseeing the operation, stated, “We’re pleased to see the successful refloating and moving of the M/V Dali today to its new location. We won’t slow down until the channel is fully restored.”

The operation to refloat the M/V Dali began on Sunday and involved releasing some of the ship’s anchors and mooring lines, de-ballasting part of the 1.25 million gallons of water pumped onto the ship, and conducting detailed inspections to ensure all obstructions had been removed from the port side of the vessel.

The Unified Command expects the operational width of the federal channel to soon be 400 feet wide to a depth of 50 feet. With the M/V Dali now removed, salvage crews will continue to clear any remaining bridge wreckage until the channel is restored to its original width of 700 feet.

The Maryland Transportation Authority will oversee the removal of the remaining steel and concrete outside of the federal channel. The Unified Command also stated that this progress signifies the “resumption of commercial vessel transits in and out of the Port of Baltimore” and the next step in restoring waterway commerce in the region.

The M/V Dali after it was refloated, May 20, 2024. Unified Command Photo
The M/V Dali after it was refloated, May 20, 2024. Unified Command Photo
The M/V Dali after it was refloated, May 20, 2024. Unified Command Photo
The M/V Dali after it was refloated, May 20, 2024. Unified Command Photo

May 16, 2024: Efforts Underway to Refloat and Move M/V Dali in the Port of Baltimore

Unified Command officials are preparing to refloat the M/V Dali and reopen the Fort McHenry Federal Channel.

A dive survey is being conducted to assess the situation before moving the vessel to Seagirt Marine Terminal.

To ensure diver safety, are removing submerged and unstable wreckage from the controlled demolition. Severely damaged containers and overhanging wreckage from the initial bridge collapse on the deck of the Dali also need to be secured or removed.

Currently, the removal of wreckage is underway and expected to be completed within “days.” Even as the refloating operation progresses, Unified Command will continue removing wreckage from the central part of the Fort McHenry Federal Channel.

Salvors with the Unified Command work to remove a 34,000lb piece of the Key Bridge off the bow of the M/V DALI in order to prepare it for refloating, May 15, 2024, during the Key Bridge Response 2024.
Salvors with the Unified Command work to remove a 34,000lb piece of the Key Bridge off the bow of the M/V DALI in order to prepare it for refloating, May 15, 2024, during the Key Bridge Response 2024. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Christopher Rosario

The reopening of the federal channel is critical to the Port of Baltimore’s operations. Despite the ongoing salvage operation, more than 365 vessels have transited the four temporary alternate channels since the March 26 bridge collapse. Commercial and recreational vessels will continue to use these alternate routes during the refloating and salvage operation.

Prior to the controlled demolition, nearly half of the 700-foot-wide Fort McHenry Federal Channel had been cleared to an operational depth of 48 feet. Officials anticipate that the federal channel will soon be fully operational, capable of supporting all commercial vessels in and out of the Port of Baltimore to a minimum operational depth of 50 feet within the next few weeks.

May 14, 2024: Fort McHenry Limited Access Channel Reopens for Commercial Vessel Traffic

The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) has reopened the Fort McHenry Limited Access Channel in Baltimore to 48 feet to commercial vessel traffic.

The move comes a day after salvage crews use precision explosives to remove a bridge section resting atop the M/V Dali, which remains grounded.

An NTSB preliminary report released on Tuesday revealed the Dali lost electrical power several times before it crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in March.

The reopened channel will operate daily from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., featuring a controlling depth of 48 feet, a 350-foot horizontal clearance, and a 214-foot vertical clearance due to nearby BG&E powerlines.

Salvors with the Unified Command continue wreckage removal from the M/V DALI and surrounding area, May 14, 2024, during the Key Bridge Response 2024. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Christopher Rosario)

As salvage operations continue, survey analyses may allow for increased depth and width. Vessel transits will stay under the discretion of the COTP, considering prevailing weather conditions and ongoing salvage operations.

Deep draft vessels using the channel will require the assistance of a Maryland State Pilot and two escort tugs. The Maryland Pilots have set a 3-foot under keel clearance (UKC) requirement for all vessels and have limited transits to winds less than 15 knots. While there are no beam restrictions for RO-ROs, Con-ROs, and cruise ships, other transits will be restricted to vessels with a beam of 106 feet or less, such as container ships, freight ships, tankers, and bulk carriers.

Given the ongoing salvage operations, all transits must not exceed 5 knots while the M/V DALI is in place and less than 10 knots after it is refloated.

In addition, the Fort Carroll Temporary Access Channel and the Sollers Point and Hawkins Point Temporary Alternate Channels remain open for commercial vessel traffic with various controlling depths, horizontal clearances, and vertical clearances.

May 13, 2024: Bombs Away

On Monday evening, the Unified Command detonated small explosives to dismantle the large truss of the Francis Scott Key Bridge that was lodged on the bow of the M/V DALI.

Salvors with the Unified Command perform a controlled demolition, precision cutting of section 4 of the Francis Scott Key Bridge that sits on the port side of the bow of the M/V DALI, May 13, 2024. USACE Photo
Salvors with the Unified Command perform a controlled demolition, precision cutting of section 4 of the Francis Scott Key Bridge that sits on the port side of the bow of the M/V DALI, May 13, 2024. USACE Photo

Inspections are ongoing to ensure safety measures are in place for the re-floating and removal of the wreckage. The operation is part of a larger effort to restore normalcy after the collapse of the bridge on March 26.

Before the controlled demolition, nearly half of the 700-foot-wide Fort McHenry Federal Channel had been cleared to an operational depth of 48 feet.

In the aftermath of the bridge collapse, more than 365 commercial vessels have been rerouted through four temporary alternate channels. The first of these channels was opened just six days after the incident.

Last stuck ship leaves Baltimore – May 13

May 12, 2024: Weather Postpones Use of Explosives

Following two weather delays over the weekend, the operation to detonate small charges to make precision cuts in truss of the Baltimore Key Bridge has been tentatively scheduled for today, Monday, at around 5 p.m. EDT. The operation is weather dependent.

May 9, 2024: Preparing for the ‘Controlled Demolition’

Crews working under the Unified Command are preparing for the removal of the portion of bridge that is laying across the bow of the Dali, known as span four, using small explosives.

An update said precision cuts made with small, strategically-placed charges offers the “safest and swiftest method” to remove the bridge piece and refloat the ship.

“This is an industry-standard tool in controlled demolition that will break the span into smaller pieces, which will allow the work of refloating the vessel and removing it from the federal channel,” the Unified Command update said.

The operation is currently scheduled to take place Saturday evening, sometime after 5:30 p.m. local time (EDT).

The U.S. Coast Guard had planned to reopen a 45-foot deep channel by May 10, only after the Dali is refloated.

Salvors with the Unified Command prepare charges for upcoming precision cuts to remove section 4 from the port side of the bow of the M/V DALI, May 7, 2024, during the Key Bridge Response 2024. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Christopher Rosario
Salvors with the Unified Command prepare charges for upcoming precision cuts to remove section 4 from the port side of the bow of the M/V DALI, May 7, 2024, during the Key Bridge Response 2024.
Debris and wreckage removal is ongoing in support of a top priority to safely and efficiently open the Fort McHenry Channel.
(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Christopher Rosario)
Salvors with the Unified Command prepare charges for upcoming precision cuts to remove section 4 from the port side of the bow of the M/V DALI, May 7, 2024, during the Key Bridge Response 2024. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Christopher Rosario

May 8, 2024: Charges to Be Used on Bridge Section Over Dali

The Key Bridge Response Unified Command plans to use small charges, i.e. explosives, to make precision cuts to remove a large section of the Francis Scott Key Bridge wreckage from the bow of the Dali.

The method will create smaller sections for easier removal by cranes and barges.

Salvors with the Unified Command continue wreckage removal from the M/V DALI and surrounding area, May 8, 2024, during the Key Bridge Response 2024. Debris and wreckage removal is ongoing in support of a top priority to safely and efficiently open the Fort McHenry Channel.
Salvors with the Unified Command continue wreckage removal from the M/V DALI and surrounding area, May 8, 2024. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Christopher Rosario)

“We remain focused on restoring the Marine Transportation System, while ensuring the protection of the public and the environment,” said Capt. David O’Connell, Key Bridge Response Federal On-Scene Coordinator. “By using precision cuts, we reduce risks to our personnel and can safely and efficiently continue clearing the channel for the Port of Baltimore.”

Salvors with the Unified Command continue wreckage removal from the M/V DALI, May 6, 2024. Unified Command Photo
Salvors with the Unified Command continue wreckage removal from the M/V DALI, May 6, 2024. Unified Command Photo

The Unified Command coordinated with the Maryland Department of Emergency Management to issue a cellular notification for a controlled demolition. Hearing protection is not required outside of the 2,000-yard noise radius, with sound levels comparable to a standard fireworks show lasting 2-5 seconds. Maryland State Police and other law enforcement agencies will provide perimeter security for an area where spectating is discouraged.

Crew members are expected to remain on board the Dali during the operation.

The use of charges was previously used during the controlled demolition of the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge in Charles County, Maryland in March 2023.

A 2,000-yard safety zone around the bridge remains in effect.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a video illustrating the operation:

May 7, 2024: Sixth and Final Victim Recovered

The Unified Command has confirmed the recovery of the sixth and final victim of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Maryland State Police investigators along with officers from the Maryland Transportation Authority Police and the FBI responded to the scene and recovered the body of a sixth construction worker after he was found by salvage workers. The victim is identified as José Mynor López, 37, of Baltimore, Maryland. 

Investigators from the Maryland State Police, along with an FBI Victim Specialist and linguist, and a team of mental health professionals notified family members after a positive identification was confirmed.

“With heavy hearts, today marks a significant milestone in our recovery efforts and providing closure to the loved ones of the six workers who lost their lives in this tragic event,” said Colonel Roland L. Butler, Jr., Superintendent of the Maryland Department of State Police. “As we mourn with the families, we honor the memory of José Mynor López, Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, Maynor Yasir Suazo-Sandoval, Carlos Daniel Hernandez Estrella, and Miguel Angel Luna Gonzalez.” 

May 6, 2024: Bride Removal from Dali

An aerial image of the Unified Command response operations in Baltimore, Maryland on April 22, 2024.
An aerial image of the Unified Command response operations in Baltimore, Maryland on April 22, 2024.

Salvage crews are continuing preparations for the removal of the large bridge piece on top of the Dali.

Before removing the bridge piece, salvage teams will consider various hazards and obstacles such as crushed containers, hull damage, and weight shifts that are likely to occur with the removal of the piece and refloating of the ship.

The safety of the salvage crew members remains a top priority during the operations.

Salvors with the Unified Command continue wreckage removal from the M/V DALI, May 5, 2024, during the Key Bridge Response 2024. Debris and wreckage removal is ongoing in support of a top priority to safely and efficiently open the Fort McHenry Channel. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Christopher Rosario)
Here you can see the cut to the large concrete pillar, part of "section four" bridge span. Unified Command Photo
Here you can see the cut to the large concrete pillar, part of “section four” bridge span. Unified Command Photo

Specialized equipment is being used to monitor the position and movement of the Dali and the bridge wreckage it is in contact with.

“We’ve got a total of six of, what we call, inclinometers that measure tilt on key locations of the span and key locations of the ship so we can watch how it’s pitching and rolling with tide, and wind,” said Rob Ruthledge, a contractor working for the Key Bridge Unified Command. “We have a sensor measuring the relative position of the span on the ship so we can see, if for some reason, it starts to slip. We also have what are called string gauges, which can measure, in real-time, the stress, while they are performing operations.”

Crews are working to remove parts of bridge span 17 that are in contact with the opposite side of the Dali.

May 3, 2024: Salvors to Tackle Bridge Section on Dali Ahead of Refloating

Salvage crews are preparing to remove the section of the Key Bridge that is lying on top of the M/V Dali.

The task involves delicately handling roadbed material, crushed containers, and remains of the bridge on the ship’s bow. The removal is in preparation for the refloating of the Dali. USACE has estimated there is 3,000 to 4,000-tons of bridge wreckage on the Dali, which is essentially pinning it to bottom/piling.

“The complexities of this next phase of operations require thorough preparation, strategic planning, and specialized expertise,” said Capt. David O’Connell, Federal On-Scene Coordinator, Key Bridge Unified Command. “We have the right team making this work happen in the safest and most efficient way possible.”

Officials aim to remove the Dali by May 10, after which a 45-foot-deep section of the main shipping channel is expected to reopen.

Specialized equipment is being used to precisely monitor the positioning and movement of the ship and the bridge wreckage in contact with it. To facilitate the removal of the steel structure, referred to as “section four,” 182 containers have been removed from the ship.

Key Bridge Response salvors use a diamond wire cold-cutting tool to sever steel bridge wreckage lying on the M/V Dali on April 26, 2024.
Key Bridge Response salvors use a diamond wire cold-cutting tool to sever steel bridge wreckage lying on the M/V Dali on April 26, 2024. Key Bridge Response photo

The public has been reminded of the 2000-yard Safety Zone established around the incident site by the Unified Command. This zone extends for two nautical miles from the center of the bridge and up to 1500 feet above ground level, with the intention to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment.

On Wednesday, May 1, officials announced the recovery of a fifth victim from the site—a worker who was on the bridge when it collapsed. The victim is identified as Miguel Angel Luna Gonzalez, 49, of Glen Burnie, Maryland. One person remains missing.

“We remain dedicated to the ongoing recovery operations while knowing behind each person lost in this tragedy lies a loving family,” said Colonel Roland L. Butler, Jr., Superintendent of the Maryland Department of State Police. “Along with our local, state and federal partners, we ask that everyone extend their deepest sympathies and support to the families during this difficult time.”

Dali wreck in baltimore

The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command, which includes the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of the Environment, Maryland Transportation Authority, Maryland State Police, and Witt O’Brien’s representing Synergy Marine, has issued a stern warning against any unauthorized UAS/drone use within the “No Drone Zone” established by the Federal Aviation Administration. Violations may lead to arrest, prosecution, fines, and/or imprisonment.

April 30, 2024: Coast Guard Announces Plans for 45-Foot-Deep Channel, Dali Removal Expected By May 10

The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) has announced plans to open a 45-foot-deep channel, tentatively scheduled for May 10, following the removal of the motor vessel Dali.

The COTP suspended transits of the Fort McHenry Limited Access Channel, which has a controlling depth of 35 feet, on Monday.

The deepened channel will offer a controlling depth of 45 feet, a 300-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 214 feet due to overhead power lines. Vessel transits will be subject to the COTP’s discretion, considering current weather conditions and salvage operations.

At 45 feet deep, the channel will allow the transit of deeper draft ships into and out of the Port of Baltimore. To put the depth into perspective, the Panama Canal’s expanded Neopanamax locks have a current maximum draft of 44 feet. Baltimore’s main Fort McHenry Channel is 50 feet deep.

“We can’t take our eye off the ball: We need to fully reopen the full 50 foot channel. And we will,” said Maryland Governor Wes Moore.

Deep draft vessels using this channel will need a Maryland State pilot and two escort tugs. The Maryland Pilots will enforce a 3-foot under keel clearance (UKC) requirement for all vessels and restrict transits to less than 15 knots wind, including maximum forecasted gusts. Due to ongoing salvage operations, vessels will be restricted to 10 knots or less.

The three other temporary channels, with depths of 20, 14, and 11 feet, remain open. These include the Fort Carroll Temporary Alternate Channel, the Sollers Point Temporary Alternate Channel, and the Hawkins Point Temporary Alternate Channel, each with distinct depth, horizontal clearance, and vertical clearance specifications.

April 29, 2024: Dali Salvage Kicks Into Gear

The new 35-foot-deep limited access channel was closed as planned on Monday as crews shift focus to the salvage of the MV Dali.

Ships continued to use the channel over the weekend, including the first containership to enter Baltimore Harbor since the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26. The MSC Passion III arrived at the Seagirt Terminal on Sunday where it offloaded nearly 1,000 containers.

The MSC Passion III at the Seagirt Marine Terminal at the Port of Baltimore, April 28, 2024. Photo courtesy Port of Baltimore
The MSC Passion III at the Seagirt Marine Terminal at the Port of Baltimore, April 28, 2024. Photo courtesy Port of Baltimore

As expected, the U.S. Coast Guard closed the Fort McHenry Limited Access Channel at 6 a.m. today after being open since April 25. The channel is expected to remain closed until May 10 to allow the recovery, salvage, and removal of the Dali from the main channel.

The three other temporary channels, with depths of 20, 14, and 11-feet, remain open.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to reopen the Port of Baltimore’s permanent 700-foot wide, 50-foot deep channel by the end of May.

Out of the seven commercial ships trapped in Baltimore Harbor by the bridge collapse, all but the bulk carriers JY River and Klara Oldendorff were able to depart using the 35-foot-deep channel.

Meanwhile, crews are preparing the heavy-lift crane barge with a massive claw to continue wreckage removal. The HSWC500-1000 heavy duty hydraulic salvage grab previously arrived on scene from the Gulf Coast.

April 25, 2024: ‘Ambitious’ Limited Access Channel Opens

Less than a month after the Dali rammed a pillar of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge causing it to collapse, a portion of the federal channel has been opened to deep draft ships.

The opening of the 35-foot-deep Limited Access Channel allowed the departure of some of the ships trapped in Baltimore Harbor. The first ship through was the general cargo ship Balsa 94, bound for Canada, followed by the cargo ship Saimaagracht and car carrier Carmen. More transits are expected.

The car carrier Carmen departs the Port of Baltimore, April 25, 2024. Port of Baltimore Photo
The car carrier Carmen departs the Port of Baltimore, April 25, 2024. Port of Baltimore Photo

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the LAC is open to scheduled passages for a limited number of commercial vessels into and out of the Port of Baltimore. The channel will remain open until Monday or Tuesday, at which point it will close again until May 10 to allow continuing salvage ops as part of the effort to open the main 50-foot channel.

The opening of the LAC comes after the USACE promised the partial reopening of the main federal Fort McHenry Shipping Channel by the end of April, a promise that was deemed “ambitious” considering the scope of the work involved.

“We’re working to strike a balance between enabling temporary access to support commercial activity and undertaking necessary measures to fully reopen the Fort McHenry Channel,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. David O’Connell, Captain of the Port and Federal On-Scene Coordinator, Key Bridge Response 2024. “This limited access deep draft channel will provide a window for five of the deep draft vessels currently unable to depart the port as well as some smaller deep draft vessels to transit. Meanwhile, the Unified Command personnel continue to work full speed ahead to safely and efficiently finish operations.”

April 23, 2024: 35-Foot-Deep Limited Access Channel Set to Open Temporarily

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has made significant progress in clearing a major obstruction in the Port of Baltimore, removing a 560-ton section of structural steel that will allow for a temporary transit window of a 35-foot-deep Limited Access Channel (LAC) starting on Thursday (April 25).

Image courtesy U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COPT) MSIB 04-24

The planned channel will have a controlling depth of 35 feet, horizontal clearance of 300 feet, and vertical clearance of 214 feet. Once operational, the LAC will enable passage for certain commercial vessels into and out of the Port of Baltimore, with restrictions, as well as th e departure of deep draft vessels currently stuck in Baltimore Harbor due to the bridge collapse.

According to a Captain of the Port (COPT) bulletin, LAC will initially be open during a limited window from April 25 until April 29 or 30, depending on weather. After April 29 or April 30, the channel will not be available again until approximately May 10, to allow the start of “critical and highly dynamic salvage operations” as part of the effort to fully clear the channel.

Vessels using the channel need a Maryland State pilot and two escort tugs, ahead and astern on centerline, with a 3 foot under keel clearance requirement. Transits are limited to winds less than 15 knots.

There are currently seven international commercial ships stuck behind the wreckage in Baltimore, including bulk carriers JY River and Phatra Naree, Klara Oldendorff, the car carrier Carmen, cargo ships Saimaagracht and Balsa 94, and a tanker, the Palanca Rio. With the exception of the Klara Oldendorff, all have reported drafts within the 35-foot limit.

There are also 4 government-owned Ready Reserve Force vessels, the roll-on/roll-off vessels Cape Washington and Gary I. Gordon, as well as two fast sealift ships, SS Antares (T-AKR-294) and SS Denebola (T-AKR-294).

Efforts towards the full reopening of the 50-foot-deep Fort McHenry Federal Channel are continuing and still expected by the end of May.

April 22, 2024: Massive Claw Arrives

A 200-ton hydraulic claw that will be used to remove wreckage and debris at the site of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. Photo courtesy USACE
A 200-ton hydraulic claw that will be used to remove wreckage and debris at the site of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. Photo courtesy USACE

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced the arrival of a 200-ton hydraulic claw that will be used to remove wreckage from the site.

The claw, boasting a 1,000-metric-ton lifting capacity, arrived by barge from Galveston, Texas.

USACE, Baltimore District said work is on-going to open a 35-foot-deep limited access channel within the main federal shipping channel.

Infographic of the three alternate channels and planned limited access channel
Infographic courtesy USACE Baltimore

The Department of Defense has released a video illustrating the plan to remove wreckage and reopen the main Fort McHenry shipping channel and refloat the Dali.

April 19, 2024: Third Temporary Channel Opens

The Captain of the Port established the Fort Carroll Temporary Alternate Channel, providing additional limited access for commercially essential vessels.

Located on the northeast side of the main channel, the channel has a depth of 20 feet, a 300-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 135 feet.

Fort Carroll Temporary Alternate Channel
The Fort Carroll Temporary Alternate Channel, depicted in green. Infographic courtesy of Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command.

The opening of this channel is expected to facilitate approximately 15% of pre-collapse commercial activity.

“This additional channel increases the types of vessels able to transit inbound and outbound the port of Baltimore,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. David O’Connell, Captain of the Port and Federal On-Scene Coordinator.

The new channel is in addition to two previous channels already open with depths of 11 and 14 feet. Efforts are underway to open an additional temporary channel, with a depth of 35 feet, by the end of the month.

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard deploy buoys marking the Fort Carroll temporary alternate channel near the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland on April 19, 2024. Photo: USACE/Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command

April 15, 2024: Fourth Body Recovered

Another missing victim was recovered at the Key Bridge incident site on April 14, 2024, and was identified today, the Unified Command report. The body was found in a construction vehicle by the Unified Command salvage teams. The Maryland State Police, FBI, and other agencies are continuing the recovery operation and pledge to use all available resources. Two of the six victims remain missing.

“As we mourn the lives lost and continue the recovery operation, we recognize each missing individual is someone’s beloved friend or family member,” said Colonel Roland L. Butler, Jr., Superintendent of the Maryland Department of State Police, “Along with all of our allied law enforcement partners, we pledge to exhaust the physical and technical aspects of their training while deploying every available resource possible.”

In other news, reporting indicates the FBI has opened a criminal probe into the incident. Meanwhile, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott confirmed that the city is taking legal action against stakeholders of the containership Dali. The city has hired two law firms to spearhead the effort to “hold the wrongdoers responsible.”

Adam Levitt, co-founder one of the firms, said they intend to bring significant economic and environmental loss claims on behalf of the City of Baltimore and its residents. “We need to hold these entities accountable for the emotional toll and the substantial financial losses that the City of Baltimore and its residents are facing,” he said. Dali’s owner, charterer, manager/operator, and “manufacturer” of the M/V Dali, and any other potentially liable third parties, were all named as potential culpable entities.

April 14, 2024: Heavy Lift

USACE Baltimore Photo

The crane barge Chesapeake 1000 was used to move a 440-ton piece of support steel from the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, part of the effort to reopen the federal channel.

April 12, 2024: General Average Declared

The owner of the M/V Dali, Grace Ocean Private Limited, have declared General Average. “Before any cargo can be released to owners at destination, General Average security will need to be provided,” the company said.

“No indication is communicated so far as when and where their vessel will be berthed and discharged, but this decision indicates that the Owners expect the salvage operations to result in high extraordinary costs for which they expect contribution from all salvaged parties under General Average,” MSC said in a customer advisory. The Dali, operated by Maersk, was carrying MSC customer cargo.

Richards Hogg Lindley (RHL), London has been appointed as their General Adjuster.

April 11, 2024: Container Removal Continues

The Unified Command is continuing to remove containers from M/V Dali and clear wreckage at the Key Bridge incident site.

As of April 11, now four days into the process, approximately 38 containers had been removed, a critical step for safely moving the M/V Dali and reopening the Fort McHenry Channel. The removal of containers will provide safe access to remove pieces of the Key Bridge that lay across the ship’s bow, reducing the weight and allowing the vessel to be refloated.

Response crews continue salvage and wreckage removal operations on the collapsed Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, April 10, 2024. U.S. Coast Guard Photo
Response crews continue salvage and wreckage removal operations on the collapsed Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, April 10, 2024. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Wreckage and debris removal, including breaking up submerged roadbed and removing sections of the bridge, is also ongoing. Despite limitations for marine traffic, 69 vessels have transited through the two temporary alternate channels opened last week.

“There has been incredible progress this week towards our goal to open the limited access deep draft channel,” said Col. Estee Pinchasin, commander of USACE, Baltimore District and part of the Unified Command. USACE released the below video illustrating the salvage plan:

A 2000-yard maritime Safety Zone around the incident site, and a Temporary Flight Restriction extends two nautical miles in radius from the bridge center up to 1500 feet above ground level. Authorities are also reminding the public that a zero-tolerance policy for UAS/drone use within the FAA-established “No Drone Zone,” with potential consequences including arrest, prosecution, fines, and imprisonment.

The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command comprises the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of the Environment, Maryland Transportation Authority, Maryland State Police, and Witt O’Brien’s representing Dali’s commercial manager Synergy Marine.

April 10, 2024: USACE Releases New Sonar Images

With no update from the Unified Command in three days, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released some new sonar images showing the underwater wreckage across the main Fort McHenry shipping channel.

The images were captured using the CODA Octopus high-definition imaging tool, which has been used to survey the wreckage throughout the response operation.

USACE continues to aim to open a 35-foot-deep by 280-foot-wide channel by the end of April, providing limited access to vessels until the 50-foot federal channel can potentially be opened by the end of May. The images provide a good idea of extent of what needs to be cleared in order to open the channels.

“The Limited Access Channel will permit larger ships in and out of the Port of Baltimore, such as marine tugs, Maritime Administration (MARAD) vessels, and those used for Roll-on/Roll-off shipping,” USACE Baltimore said on X.

Coda Octopus imaging
Coda Octopus imaging

Images courtesy USACE Baltimore via NAVSEA SUPSAL

Meanwhile, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy provided an update on the board’s ongoing investigation into the incident during her re-nomination hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. She revealed that investigators have interviewed all relevant crew members, the two pilots, and U.S. Coast Guard watchstanders, among others. She also revealed that the investigators are looking into the ship’s engine room equipment, particularly the electrical power system. She said the equipment’s manufacturer recently sent experts from overseas to inspect the circuit breakers. A preliminary NTSB report is expected in the first week of May.

Even though it’s been a few days since our last update from the Unified Command, we hope to hear something soon about progress on the bridge cutting, removal, and container extraction from the Dali.

April 7, 2024: Container Removal Begins

Response crews began removing shipping containers using a floating crane barge at the site of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on April 7, 2024.
Response crews began removing shipping containers using a floating crane barge at the site of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on April 7, 2024. Key Bridge Unified Command Photo

The Unified Command on Sunday began the process of removing containers from bow of the M/V Dali at the Key Bridge incident site to gain access to the bridge section atop the ship. Wreckage and debris removal is also ongoing, with parts taken to Tradepoint Atlantic at nearby Sparrows Point. Despite limited marine traffic, 32 vessels have transited through temporary alternate channels since their creation.

“The Unified Command is concurrently progressing on its main lines of effort to remove enough debris to open the channel to larger commercial traffic, refloat the M/V Dali and continue recovery efforts for missing loved ones,” said Coast Guard Capt. David O’Connell, federal on-scene coordinator, Unified Command. “Every day we are working to achieve these goals safely and efficiently.”

Salvage crews operating with the Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command move a section of Francis Scott Key Bridge to Sparrows Point in Baltimore, April 7, 2024.
Salvage crews operating with the Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command move a section of Francis Scott Key Bridge to Sparrows Point in Baltimore, April 7, 2024. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

USACE Baltimore said an estimated 50,000 tons of steel and concrete make up the wreck of the collapsed portion of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. “For comparison, that’s about equal to the weight of 3,800 fully loaded dump trucks — a helpful way of understanding the scale of the task at hand,” it wrote on X.

The removal of containers from the Dali is crucial for its safe relocation and the eventual full reopening of the Fort McHenry Channel. This process facilitates the removal of Key Bridge pieces from the ship’s bow, reducing weight and enabling the ship’s movement.

April 6, 2024: Salvage Continues

Response personnel prepare debris from the Francis Scott Key Bridge for removal from the Patapsco River, April 6, 2024. The Unified Command is working to restore flow of critical commerce in and out of Baltimore. Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command photo via USACE
Response personnel prepare debris from the Francis Scott Key Bridge for removal from the Patapsco River, April 6, 2024. The Unified Command is working to restore flow of critical commerce in and out of Baltimore. Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command photo via USACE

The Unified Command made progress in the Key Bridge incident salvage operations by removing a 156-ton piece of Span 19 from the navigational channel for future disposal.

Traffic through the alternate channels is gradually increasing, with 10 vessels transiting since yesterday.

“The Unified Command was quickly stood up and has been making progress every day since this incident took place,” said Coast Guard Capt. David O’Connell, federal on-scene coordinator, Unified Command. “Support from federal, state, local authorities, and the public has been indispensable. We are deeply grateful for these partnerships, which have been critical every step of the way.”

April 5, 2024: Third Victim Recovered

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks near the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, in Dundalk, Maryland, U.S., April 5, 2024. REUTERS/Nathan Howard
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks near the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, in Dundalk, Maryland, U.S., April 5, 2024. REUTERS/Nathan Howard

Dive teams have recovered the body of Maynor Yasir Suazo-Sandoval, one of the four missing construction workers, the Unified Command said late Friday. The Maryland State Police Underwater Recovery Team, along with other law enforcement, were involved in the recovery. Suazo-Sandoval’s family has been notified. Out of the six victims of the tragedy, three remain missing.

“The collapse of the Key Bridge is undoubtedly one of the most challenging tragedies we have faced as a law enforcement agency. Along with our local, state and federal public safety partners, we will not give up,” said Colonel Roland L. Butler, Jr., Superintendent of the Maryland Department of State Police. “There are families still waiting to hear if we have found their loved one. I can promise you, we are fully committed to finding closure for each of these families,” he said.

Biden Pledges Federal Support During Visit

President Joe Biden visited Baltimore on Friday to tour the site of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. During his visit, he promised that the federal government would cover the full rebuilding costs, while also pledging to hold those responsible for the disaster accountable.

“My administration is committed — absolutely committed to ensuring that the parties responsible for this tragedy pay to repair the damage and be held accountable to the fullest extent the law will allow,” Biden commented.

Ambitious Timeline

Following the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ announcement yesterday of a tentative timeline for reopening the Fort McHenry Channel, USACE Baltimore has provided more details about the plan. The plan prioritizes clearing the 50-foot deep federal navigation channel along with establishing a Limited Access Channel, measuring 280 feet wide and 35 feet deep, potentially by the end of May. This will allow car carriers, or roll-on/roll-off vessels, one-way traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore while cleanup and recovery continues.

Illustration showing the channel reopening plan.
Channel reopening plan. Courtesy USACE Baltimore

Maryland Governor Wes Moore welcomed the ambitious timeline, stating that it provides the certainty needed for Baltimore to plan its recovery efforts.

“This ambitious timeline proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers offers a level of clarity and certainty that Baltimore needs to hear so we can collectively plan for continued recovery efforts — related to both our economy and our infrastructure. We and our partners across all levels of government have been pushing for a timeline, and now we have a target. We must do everything we can to meet that target,” Moore said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved an $8.26 million grant to increase vehicle handling capacity at the nearby Tradepoint Atlantic terminal at Sparrows Point. Located outside harbor, TPA’s terminal continues to function and will serve as a hub for both regularly scheduled and diverted cargo, as well as for storing and processing debris from the wreckage site.

April 4, 2024: USACE Reveals Tentative Timeline for Channel Reopening

Just hours after Maryland Governor Wes Moore held a press conference on the recovery efforts, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a tentative timeline for reopening the federal Fort McHenry Channel and restoring navigation in and out of the Port of Baltimore.

USACE plans to open a limited access channel to the Port of Baltimore within the next four weeks, or by the end of April. This 280 feet wide and 35 feet deep channel will support one-way traffic for barge container service and some roll on/roll off vessels. Alternatively, USACE engineers are aiming to reopen the permanent, 700-foot-wide by 50-foot-deep federal navigation channel by the end of May, restoring port access to normal capacity.

“Thanks to the exhaustive work of the Unified Command during the last two weeks, including underwater surveys and detailed structural analysis of the wreckage, we’ve developed a better understanding of the immense and complex work that lies ahead,” said Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, USACE commanding general. “A fully opened federal channel remains our primary goal, and we will carry out this work with care and precision, with safety as our chief priority.”

However, Spellmon acknowledged that theses timelines are “ambitious” and may still be impacted by adverse weather conditions or changes in the salvage plan.

“We are working quickly and safely to clear the channel and restore full service at this port that is so vital to the nation. At the same time, we continue to keep faith with the families of the missing and are working with our partners to help locate and recover their loved ones,” he said.

Limited Visibility: ‘Like Being in a Snow Storm with High Beams On’

The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command said it continuing dive and salvage operations at the site of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore. Preparations are also underway to start removing undamaged containers from the bow of the motor vessel Dali, which has now been secured.

Information gathered from the dive operations is crucial for guiding salvage efforts on the Dali. The data, gathered by divers from Donjon Marine under the supervision of the Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV), helps to assess the extent of damage sustained by the vessel and to identify the exact locations where it is grounded.

SUPSALV is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District on the underwater salvage effort. “Our team is grateful for the opportunity to support and provide our expertise during the dive operations,” said Capt. Sal Suerez, Supervisor of Salvage and Diving. “Every person’s participation in this evolution is instrumental in guiding our salvage efforts effectively.”

In a press conference, Maryland Governor Wes Moore reiterated the challenges faced by divers, sharing underwater footage that showed the near-zero visibility. “It’s like being in a snow storm with high beams on,” Moore said. He explained that each diver is “buddied” with control room operators who guide them in real-time using advanced 3D imaging.

A screengrab of video showing the near-zero visibility conditions divers are faced with. Photo: Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command

Governor Moore also provided insight into the ongoing efforts to restore commercial activities at the port, including the transshipment of diverted cargo. He said that 75 rerouted containers had recently arrived to Baltimore by rail being unloaded from a ship at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

“This work presents a model for how we can move in partnership to get commercial activity to the port even when the channel is closed,” Moore said, while also acknowledging that this is not a long-term solution.

“The 75 containers we moved today represent less than 5% of the average number of containers that the Port processed daily before the collapse. We still have a long road ahead to getting vessel traffic back to full capacity – but we will.”

Speaking on behalf of the Unified Command, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath reiterated the UC’s main objectives are to reopen the deep-draft shipping channel, remove the Dali, and clear debris from the water. He also shared that Rigging is currently underway to remove undamaged containers from the Dali’s bow, however the actual removal had not yet begun.

Meanwhile, USACE Baltimore said engineers are placing devices on each of the steel beams to understand how much force each beam is under.

April 3, 2024: Weather Challenges Slow Wreck Removal and Recovery Efforts

Severe weather conditions, including thunderstorms and high winds, impeded wreck removal and recovery efforts at the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Wednesday, causing a temporary halt to dive and crane operations.

“Current conditions make it unsafe for rescue divers to return to the water. We have to move fast — but we cannot be careless,” said Maryland Governor Wes Moore during an afternoon press conference with members from the Unified Command. “My directive is to complete this mission with no injuries and no casualties.”

Moore described the underwater damage as ‘absolutely staggering,’ as evidenced by the 3D sonar images released yesterday revealing the mangled wreckage partially buried in mud. He said the images underscore the complexities involved in cleaning up the wreckage and reopening the main shipping channel.

Underwater survey image showing the collapse Baltimore Key Bridge
Underwater survey image showing the collapse Baltimore Key Bridge captured by the CODA Octopus sonar imaging tool. Image courtesy USACE Baltimore

Poor visibility is also posing another challenge for divers.

Removal of Containers

Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath of the U.S. Coast Guard reiterated that the main objectives of the Unified Command remain reopening the deep-draft shipping channel, removing the Dali, and clearing debris from the waterway. He also disclosed that crews are prepared to begin removing undamaged containers from the bow of the ship, pending a break in the weather.

Gilreath said the two temporary channels have already seen 8 commercial vessel transits primarily involving tugs and barges in both directions. “Small steps in a long marathon,” he said.

Despite the adverse weather conditions, Colonel Estee S. Pinchasin, Commander of USACE Baltimore, emphasized that salvage operations continue even if dive and crane operations are on hold. She said current plans are to remove the collapsed 3,000 to 4,000-ton bridge span that is on top of the vessel, as well debris from the far side of the channel that will allow the new temporary channels to accommodate larger vessels.

March 29, 2024. Unified Command Photo
Picture taken March 29, 2024. Unified Command Photo

Separately, the Unified Command issued an update that divers have continued to conduct regular salvage assessments and mapping out plans for future wreckage removal.

“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, Salvage Branch Director of the Key Bridge Response 2024. “The Unified Command remains committed to re-opening the port while ensuring safety and environmental protection.”

It appears there are three main contractors working under the Unified Command. They are Donjon Marine, responsible for the clearing the channel, Resolve which is salvaging the ship, and Skanska which is working on portions of the bridge.

The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command continues to coordinate response operations despite the challenging weather conditions in Baltimore, Maryland, April 3, 2024. U.S. Coast Guard Photo
The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command continues to coordinate response operations despite the challenging weather conditions in Baltimore, Maryland, April 3, 2024. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

No Fuel Spill Detected

The Maryland Department of the Environment has reported no detection of fuel-related contaminants in water samples taken from upriver and downstream of the site. These findings will establish a baseline for ongoing water quality monitoring throughout the response, recovery, and reconstruction phases.

The 2,000-yard safety zone around the Francis Scott Key Bridge remains in effect.

April 2, 2024: One Week Since the Accident

The Captain of the Port (COTP) has established a second temporary channel on the southwest side of the main Fort McHenry Channel near Hawkins Point for essential commercial vessels.

The second temporary channel is marked with lighted aids for navigation and its use is at the discretion of the COTP and limited to daylight hours. The channel has a controlling depth of 14 feet, a horizontal clearance of 280 feet, and a vertical clearance of 124 feet—which is slightly larger than the 11-ft-deep, 264-ft-wide, and 95-ft-tall clearance of the first channel that opened yesterday, but significantly less than the 50-foot main channel that is closed.

“The opening of these two alternate channels and transit of critical response resources, as well as the first commercial traffic movements through the area, is a significant milestone in our response efforts,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Baxter Smoak, operations section chief of the Key Bridge Response 2024. “Our number one priority remains the opening of the deep draft channel. We are simultaneously focused on opening additional routes of increased capacity as we move forward.”

U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) Baltimore drops buoy channel markers in the Patapsco River in Baltimore, Maryland, April 2, 2024.
U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) Baltimore drops buoy channel markers in the Patapsco River in Baltimore, Maryland, April 2, 2024. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Sonar Images Reveal Extent of Underwater Damage

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District has released the first underwater sonar images of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge. The imagery, supplied by the the U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea System Command’s (NAVSEA) Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV), were captured using an underwater imaging tool known as “CODA Octopus,” which will help guide divers using real-time 3D sonar due to the reduced visibility of the water.

“With visibility clouded to just one to two feet because of the four to five feet of mud and loose bottom of the Patapsco River… divers must be guided via detailed verbal directions from operators in vessels topside viewing real-time CODA imagery,” USACE Baltimore wrote on X.

Underwater survey image showing the collapse Baltimore Key Bridge
Image courtesy USACE Baltimore
Underwater survey image showing the collapse Baltimore Key Bridge
Image courtesy USACE Baltimore
Underwater survey image showing the collapse Baltimore Key Bridge
Image courtesy USACE Baltimore
Underwater survey image showing the MV Dali
Image courtesy USACE Baltimore

Tradepoint Atlantic

Meanwhile, Tradepoint Atlantic (TPA), which operates a bulk and break bulk terminal just outside the Francis Scott Key Bridge, provided an update on operations to assist with restoration and recovery efforts. The company’s marine terminal (see map below) is the only terminal at the Port of Baltimore that sits outside the bridge and it remains open to both scheduled arrivals and redirected cargo. Over the next fifteen days, Tradepoint Terminals is expected to receive six regularly scheduled roll-on/roll-off vessels, plus an additional nine redirected vessels. Combined, these vessels will receive and process 10,000 automobiles.

It has also cleared a five-acre facility at the terminal to receive and process recovered bridge material.

The Tradepoint Atlantic facility, pictured bottom right in pink, in relation to the Francisco Scott Key Bridge and other Port of Baltimore terminals.
The Tradepoint Atlantic facility, pictured bottom right in pink, in relation to the Francisco Scott Key Bridge (E) and other Port of Baltimore terminals (in pink and light pink). Detailed map here. Map courtesy Maryland Port Authority

April 1, 2024: First Vessel Departs Baltimore Harbor

The tugboat Crystal Coast, pushing a fuel barge, was the first vessel to use the temporary alternate channel created after the Key Bridge collapsed into the federal waterway on Tuesday. The barge is used to provide jet fuel to the Department of Defense and was en route to Dover Air Force Base.

The Captain of the Port has established a temporary alternate channel near Sollers Point for essential commercial vessels, located on the northeast side of the main ship channel near the Francis Scott Key Bridge, as part of a phased approach to opening the main federal Fort McHenry Channel.

Join the gCaptain Club for a weekly news round-up, exclusive insights from the helm, and access to the private gCaptain Discord.

The tug Crystal Coast pushing a fuel barge departs Baltimore Harbor using a temporary channel established following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, April 1, 2024. Unified Command Photo

The new temporary channel, which is marked with government-lighted aids for navigation, has a controlling depth of 11 feet, a 264-foot horizontal clearance, and a 95-foot vertical clearance. Its use is at the discretion of the Captain of the Port and is only allowed during daylight hours.

The Unified Command said it is establishing a second, temporary alternate channel on the southwest side of the main channel to accommodate deeper draft vessels with an expected draft restriction of 15 to 16 feet.

Two crane barges are working to lift wreckage in Baltimore, which will be transferred to a barge and processed at Tradepoint Atlantic using a land-based crane before disposal.

The U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) is responsible for contracting out cranes, which include the 1,000-ton lift capacity derrick barge Chesapeake 1000, the 200-ton lift capacity revolving crane barge Ferrell and the 150-ton lift capacity crane barge Oyster Bay. All are now on scene. Another 400-ton lift capacity barge is scheduled to arrive in Baltimore next week.

“The [Defense Department] continues to support the whole-of-government response in Baltimore. Through the Unified Command, the U.S. Coast Guard is coordinating this effort in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Navy and many others,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters.

The current 2,000-yard safety zone around the Francis Scott Key Bridge remains in effect.

The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command in Baltimore includes the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of the Environment, Maryland Transportation Authority, Maryland State Police, and Witt O’Brien’s representing Synergy Marine, manager of the MV Dali.

March 31, 2024: Bridge Cutting Continues, Plans for Alternate Channel Emerge

The Unified Command continues operations to remove wreckage from the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore.

On Sunday, demolition crews cut parts of the collapsed bridge truss, with two crane barges actively working on the scene. The removed wreckage is transferred to a barge and later processed at Tradepoint Atlantic. Each lifting operation requires an engineering analysis to guide the salvage plans.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) has lowered the pressure of the underwater natural gas pipeline, which runs under the incident site, to 35psi. The Unified Command is working with BGE to inert the pipeline and eliminate hazards and risks.

Three dive teams are surveying sections of the bridge and the M/V Dali for future removal operations.

Alternate Channel

Meanwhile, the Captain of the Port is planning to establish a temporary alternate channel near the Francis Scott Key Bridge for commercially essential vessels.

“This will mark an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore,” said Capt. David O’Connell, Federal On-Scene Coordinator, Key Bridge Response 2024. “By opening this alternate route, we will support the flow of marine traffic into Baltimore.”

This action is part of a phased approach to opening the main channel. The temporary channel will be marked with government lighted aids to navigation and will have a controlling depth of 11 feet, a 264-foot horizontal clearance, and vertical clearance 96 feet—allowing smaller vessels to pass.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District, published a infographic showing the salvage plan:

A 2,000-yard safety zone around the Francis Scott Key Bridge remains in effect to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment. Entry into the safety zone requires permission from the COTP or a designated representative.

The COTP will issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16, with mariners requested to monitor this channel for the latest information.

A Debris Reporting Hotline has also been established. The public is advised to contact +1 (410) 205-6625 if they encounter any debris.

March 30, 2024: Bridge Cutting Commences

The M/V Dali is shown with the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 30, 2024, in Baltimore.
The M/V Dali is shown with the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 30, 2024, in Baltimore.

The Unified Command began the removal of debris from the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse on Saturday.

Highly trained demolition crews started by cutting the top portion of the collapsed bridge’s north side into smaller sections for safe removal. Salvage teams will use gas-powered cutters to disassemble the steel bridge.

Salvage operations on the Francis Scott Key Bridge commenced March 30, 2024, in Baltimore, Maryland. Salvage teams use an exothermic cutting torch to systematically separate sections of the steel bridge, which will be taken to a disposal site. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kimberly Reaves)

At the same time, divers are assessing the underwater work site to aid future operations. Each lifting operation requires an engineering analysis to guide salvage plans.

Two crane barges, a 650-ton crane and a 330-ton crane, are working to transfer the sections to a barge for processing at Tradepoint Atlantic before being taken to a disposal site.

Demolition crews with the Unified Command begin cutting the top portion of the north side of the collapsed bridge into smaller sections for safe removal by crane in the Patapsco River, in Baltimore, Maryland, March 30, 2024. U.S. Coasts Guard Photo
Demolition crews with the Unified Command begin cutting the top portion of the north side of the collapsed bridge into smaller sections for safe removal by crane in the Patapsco River, in Baltimore, Maryland, March 30, 2024. U.S. Coasts Guard Photo

Underwater Pipeline

The Unified Command is collaborating with Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) to reduce pressure on an underwater pipeline running under the incident site. The goal is to inert the pipeline to eliminate hazards and risks, with operations continuing through the weekend.

The Unified Command maintains a 2000-yard maritime Safety Zone for the M/V Dali recovery efforts, and a Temporary Flight Restriction up to 1,500 feet above ground level within a three nautical mile radius.

Barge cranes are shown near the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Taylor Bacon/Handout via REUTERS
Barge cranes are shown near the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge on the Patapsco River, in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. March 30, 2024. U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Taylor Bacon/Handout via REUTERS

The NTSB today revealed that the container ship Dali had a displacement of 112,383 metric tons (about 248 million pounds) at departure, with a gross tonnage of 95,128, which is a measure derived from the vessel’s internal spaces.

March 29, 2024: Equipment and Marine Assets Mobilized

Responders with the Unified Command conduct an overflight assessment of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, March 29, 2024. The Key Bridge was struck by the Singapore-flagged cargo ship Dali early morning on March 26, 2024. (Unified Command courtesy photo)
Responders with the Unified Command conduct an overflight assessment of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, March 29, 2024. Unified Command Photo

The Unified Command has sent the Donjon Marine crane barge Chesapeake 1000 crane barge to the incident site, with plans to dispatch an additional seven cranes, ten tugs, and nine barges over the next 120 hours. Weeks Marine’s 500-ton crane barge Weeks 533 is one of the cranes en route.

Engineers with the Unified Command plan salvage operations for the Dali, assessing the situation to determine the safest and most effective approach.

An overflight revealing no additional sheen in the waters around the M/V Dali.

March 29, 2024. Unified Command Photo
March 29, 2024. Unified Command Photo

Crews are monitoring for oil spills and hazardous substances at the incident site in Baltimore, with 2,700 feet of sorbent boom deployed and the same amount of hard containment boom. An additional 16,000 feet of boom is on standby. The effectiveness of the containment measures is being assessed and materials are replaced as needed.

The Unified Command is maintaining a 2000-yard Safety Zone and a Temporary Flight Restriction for the M/V Dali recovery efforts to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment from potential hazards associated with salvage work.

March 28, 2024: Response Kicks Into Gear

A U.S. Coast Guard patrol vessel travels along the Patapsco River, following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., March 28, 2024. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
A U.S. Coast Guard patrol vessel travels along the Patapsco River, following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., March 28, 2024. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

The Unified Command continues coordinating response operations to the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore.

Dive operations and vehicle recovery in Baltimore are paused due to hazardous conditions caused by submerged wreckage and debris.

Safety Zone

A 2000-yard Safety Zone is established by the Unified Command for the M/V Dali recovery efforts to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment from potential hazards associated with salvage work.

On-scene crews are monitoring for oil spills and hazardous substances at the incident site. Measures include 2,400 feet of sorbent boom deployed at the site, 2,400 feet of hard containment boom around the vessel, and an additional 1,000 feet of boom on standby.

The Unified Command conducted visual inspections of water quality and collecting samples for testing. First responders observed a sheen around the vessel.

Hazmat Containers

The Unified Command reports that out of 56 containers with hazardous materials, 14 were impacted and subsequently assessed by an industrial hygienist for potential hazards.

Air monitoring on and around the vessel is conducted, with no volatile organic compounds or flammable vapors detected. Pollution and debris removal operations are ongoing. No atmospheric hazards have been identified, and safety is being continuously ensured by the Unified Command.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Witt O’Brien’s, representing Dali’s manager Synergy Marine, have now joined the Unified Command.

NTSB has now released B-Roll footage from on board the Dali.

Feds Release $60 Million

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced the immediate availability of $60 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief (ER) funds for the Maryland Department of Transportation to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The funds serve as a down payment toward initial costs for emergency repairs, design, and reconstruction of the bridge.

March 27, 2024: Unified Command

Containership Dali entangled with destroyed baltimore bridge
A view of the Dali cargo vessel which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge causing it to collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., March 27, 2024. REUTERS/Mike Segar

A Unified Command and Joint Information Center have been established in Baltimore to coordinate response and disseminate information for the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. The command includes the U.S. Coast Guard, Maryland Department of the Environment, Maryland Transportation Authority, Maryland State Police, and Synergy Marine, Dali’s manager.

“The Unified Command’s operational priorities are ensuring the safety of the public and first responders, accountability of missing persons, safely restoring transportation infrastructure and commerce, protecting the environment, and supporting the investigation,” the Unified Command explained in a statement.

Divers recovered the first two bodies from the site. Four remain missing and are presumed dead.

This accident has been classified by the US Coast Guard as a major marine casualty. NTSB will lead the investigation, and the Office of Marine Safety will investigate and establish the probable cause. 

NTSB

The NTSB held a press conference during which NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy expressed condolences to the victims and their families, provided details about the investigative process and progress so far, and provided some numbers on the amount and type of hazardous cargo on board. The independent agency also released a timeline of events from Dali’s VDR data, providing some preliminary factual evidence in the critical moments from when the Dali left the Seagirt Marine Terminal to when it struck the bridge at around 01:29 local time on March 26th.

March 26, 2024: MV Dali Strikes Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge

Container-ship Dali entangled in the Baltimore bridge
View of the Dali cargo vessel which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge causing it to collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., March 26, 2024. REUTERS/Nathan Howard

The Singapore-flagged Dali, a 984.3-feet-long containership, was transporting 4,679 twenty-foot equivalent containers (TEUs) when it reportedly lost power and collided with a pillar of the Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday morning, causing the bridge to collapse in a matter of seconds.

The accident occurred just 50 minutes after the vessel departed from the Seagirt Marine Terminal with 21 crew members and two pilots on board on a voyage to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Tragically, six workers who were on the bridge at the time of the accident are missing.

A large portion of the collapsed bridge remains across the vessel’s bow, and the vessel remains firmly in place on the bridge pier. No pollution has been reported at this time.

Officials say initial damage estimates for the vessel and the bridge are greater than $500,000, exceeding the threshold for classification as a “major marine casualty,” which also includes the loss of six or more lives or the loss of a mechanically propelled vessel (MV) of 100 or more gross tons.

NTSB investigators on the cargo vessel Dali, which struck and collapsed the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, 2024. (Photo: Peter Knudson/NTSB)
NTSB investigators on the cargo vessel Dali, which struck and collapsed the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, 2024. (Photo: Peter Knudson/NTSB)

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched a go team to investigate, arriving at approximately 6 a.m. Tuesday morning just hours after the accident.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore declared a state of emergency.

USACE Emergency Activated

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District has activated its Emergency Operations Center, clearing the way for more than 1,100 engineering, construction, contracting and operations specialists to provide support to local, state and federal agencies.

USACE is leading the effort to clear the Federal channel in Baltimore as part of a larger interagency recovery effort. They are providing underwater assessment capabilities, structural engineering support, and waterway debris management. They are also prepared to provide hydrographic and topographic surveying. The Baltimore District operates and maintains over 290 miles of federal navigable channels within the Susquehanna River watershed.

“Our thoughts are with those impacted by the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge,” said Baltimore District Commander Col. Estee Pinchasin. “Our Emergency Managers are closely monitoring the incident and coordinating with partner agencies for any potential support requests.”

DALI Ownership and Management

The Dali is owned by Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and managed by Synergy Marine of Singapore. It is time chartered by Maersk and is carrying Maersk customers’ cargo, however, no Maersk crew and personnel were onboard the vessel.

“We are deeply concerned by this incident and are closely monitoring the situation,” Maersk said in a statement. “We understand the potential impact this may have on your logistics operation, and will communicate to our customers once we have more details from authorities.”

Vessel Information:

  • Name: Dali
  • Capacity: 10,000 TEU
  • Onboard Units: 4,679 containers, 55% of which are empty (814 20ft containers, 3,823 40ft containers, 42 45ft containers)
  • DWT:116,851.
  • Crew: All Indian, 22 in total
  • Owner: Grace Ocean Private Ltd
  • Movement: Outbound from Baltimore to Colombo

Back to Main
polygon icon polygon icon

Why Join the gCaptain Club?

Access exclusive insights, engage in vibrant discussions, and gain perspectives from our CEO.

Sign Up
close

JOIN OUR CREW

Maritime and offshore news trusted by our 106,891 members delivered daily straight to your inbox.

Join Our Crew

Join the 106,891 members that receive our newsletter.