Baltimore bridge collapses after boxship strike

(BALTIMORE) — The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed early Tuesday morning after a support column was struck by a containership, sending at least seven cars into the Patapsco River, launching a search-and-rescue operation and prompting Gov. Wes Moore to declare a state of emergency, The Baltimore Sun reported.

In a Tuesday morning news conference, Baltimore Fire Department Chief James Wallace said authorities are “still very much in an active search-and-rescue posture,” noting they are searching for “upwards of seven individuals” and that sonar has detected the presence of vehicles in the water. There is no indication that the event was intentional, Wallace said.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew West said the 948-foot Singapore-flagged containership Dali struck the bridge at approximately 1:20 a.m.

Reuters/Julia Nikhinson photo

The Coast Guard has deployed four response boats as well as a helicopter to aid in the search-and-rescue mission. Several police helicopters were also seen circling the area Tuesday morning.

Video from the incident shows the containership, billowing smoke, striking a support beam and quickly causing much of the bridge to collapse. Just before the collision, the ship’s lights appear to turn on and off multiple times.

The ship had been under the operation of a pilot, as is required by Maryland law.

Screen shot from BBC video

All traffic has been rerouted from the 1.6-mile steel bridge that is part of Interstate 695.

Authorities are using sonar and underwater drones. Divers have battled against water temperature, tide and darkness in their efforts.

The ship was built in 2015 and arriving from Norfolk, Va., according to Vessel Finder, a ship-tracking website. It departed from the Port of Baltimore around 1 a.m., according to Marine Traffic, a separate tracking website.

The cause of the incident is yet to be determined, according to a statement from Dali’s owners and managers. Two pilots were aboard the ship and they, as well as all 22 Indian crewmembers, have “been accounted for and there are no reports of any injuries.”

There has been no pollution, according to the ship’s manager, Synergy Marine Group. Wallace said authorities had not confirmed if any fuel spilled into the water but said there had been an odor of “diesel fuel.”

U.S. Coast Guard report:

(BALTIMORE) — The U.S. Coast Guard is coordinating with local, state and federal agencies in response to the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore on Tuesday morning.

Coast Guard watch standers received a report at the Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region command center at 1:27 a.m. reporting a 948-foot Singapore-flagged containership collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Additionally, it was reported that the bridge collapsed and there were reports of persons in the water.

Response boat crews from Coast Guard Stations Curtis Bay and Annapolis have crews deployed to the incident for active search and rescue.

A Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and Coast Guard investigators and pollution responders are also en route to the incident.

An urgent marine information broadcast is issued regarding the incident and there has been a 2,000-yard safety zone issued for the surrounding waters. Mariners are urged to avoid the area.



By Professional Mariner Staff