Crews Begin Removing Shipping Containers Off the Dali, Ship that Collapsed Key Bridge

April 8, 2024
Response crews began removing shipping containers using a floating crane barge at the site of the Francis Scott Key Bridge

Work to clear the Port of Baltimore’s main shipping channel hit another milestone Sunday as crews started removing shipping containers from the Dali, the cargo vessel that rammed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, collapsing it.

The Key Bridge Response Unified Command said it is progressing toward removing the pieces of the bridge that lie across the vessel’s bow in order to take weight off the ship and eventually allow it to move.

“The Unified Command is concurrently progressing on its main lines of effort to remove enough debris to open the channel to larger commercial traffic,” Coast Guard Capt. David O’Connell said in a news release late Sunday. “Every day we are working to achieve these goals safely and efficiently.”

The Army Corps of Engineers said last week that it aims to restore access to the main 700-foot-wide by 50-foot-deep channel and the Port of Baltimore to “normal capacity” by the end of May. During a visit to Baltimore on Friday, President Joe Biden reiterated that the federal government would cover the full cost of rebuilding the bridge.

“All of it,” Biden said during his visit. “I call on Congress to authorize this effort as soon as possible.”

Before Biden arrived Friday, Carlos Suazo Sandoval, the brother of Maynor Suazo Sandoval, said investigators called to say they had found his brother’s body. So far, the bodies of three of the six construction workers who were filling potholes on the bridge when it was struck by the Dali have been found. The other three are presumed to be dead.

Crews took advantage of a clear and sunny weekend to remove a 156-ton piece of span 19 of the bridge from the main channel Saturday. Pieces were still being taken by barge to Sparrows Point on Sunday. Removal will continue this week as weather permits, the release said. Last week, rain and lightning prevented the operation of cranes used to remove wreckage.

In total, 32 vessels so far have passed through temporary 11- and 14-feet-deep channels that pass under remaining parts of the Key Bridge on either side of the wreckage, Unified Command said Sunday. Meanwhile, 11 cargo ships remain trapped in the port behind the wreckage, including four that support the overseas deployment of U.S. military forces.


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