Salvors to use explosives to clear debris from boxship Dali

(BALTIMORE) — The Key Bridge Response Unified Command is scheduled to use precision cuts made with small explosive charges to remove a large section of the Francis Scott Key Bridge wreckage from on top of the containership Dali.

The vessel struck the bridge on March 26, causing it to collapse. Six highway workers who were on the span at the time were killed.

The exact time of the precision cuts will depend on multiple environmental and operational factors.

The small charges, a standard controlled demolition tool, will split the large section of truss at specific locations to create multiple smaller sections, which allows salvors to use cranes and barges already on scene to remove these sections of the bridge and ultimately remove Dali from the channel.

An artist’s rendering shows where small explosive charges will be placed to clear bridge debris from the containership Dali in Baltimore. Courtesy Key Bridge Response Unified Command

“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.”

The Key Bridge Response Unified Command coordinated with the Maryland Department of Emergency Management to issue a cellular notification ahead of the controlled demolition to maximize awareness to the communities near the bridge.

Hearing protection is not required outside of the 2,000-yard noise radius. Sound levels outside of the noise radius will be no louder than a standard fireworks show and will last two to five seconds.

“There is a small portion of the noise radius that includes land over the industrial portions of Hawkins Point,” said Chief Petty Officer Nicholas Carr, Key Bridge Response Unified Command safety officer. “We are ensuring workers in the area have advanced notice of the plan.”

Officers from the Maryland State Police and allied law enforcement agencies will provide perimeter security to the area and spectating is highly discouraged.

Similar methods were previously used in the area for the controlled demolition of the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge in March 2023 in Charles County, Maryland.

The current 2,000-yard safety zone around the Francis Scott Key Bridge remains in effect and is intended to protect personnel, vessels and the marine environment. No vessel or person will be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the captain of the port or a designated representative.

The temporary flight restriction extends for 2 nautical miles in radius from the center of the bridge and from the surface up to and including 1,500 feet above ground level.

– Key Bridge Response Unified Command

By Professional Mariner Staff