Key Bridge Collapses in Maryland After Cargo Ship Hit

( – In the early morning hours of March 26, the Francis Scott Key Bridge spanning the Patapsco River near Baltimore was brought crashing down into the nearly ice-cold waters. The only silver lining, if there is one to be found, is that the disaster occurred around 1:30 a.m. instead of during rush hour when a good part of the more than 30,000 vehicles that traveled it daily would have been upon it.

Massive Impact

The Singapore-flagged container ship MV Dali (IMO 9697428, MMSI 563004200) was navigating the river toward the Atlantic Ocean when it suffered two different power outages that reportedly knocked out the propulsion and steering systems. This would have prevented the crew from maneuvering the massive vessel in the critical moments as it approached the span and it subsequently smashed into one of the support structures bringing the bridge down, as can be seen in this dramatic video.

According to the Vessel Finder website, the Dali was built in 2015 and when filled to its maximum water line, has a deadweight of almost 117,000 metric tonnes (one metric tonne equals 2,204.6 pounds) making it roughly 258 million pounds if fully weighed down. It is reported to be roughly 300 m (984 ft.) in length and 48 m (157 feet) across its beam (width).

The ship’s crew was able to issue a distress call that allowed authorities to prevent additional vehicles from accessing the bridge, however, between those that were already on it and road crews repairing potholes, six people are missing and presumed dead as of early afternoon on March 27.

Not the First Time

Vessel Finder published an article in 2016 showing that the Dali collided with a stone quay while pulling away from a berth at a port in Antwerp, Belgium. That accident also occurred in clear weather and was attributed to the master of the boat and pilot — people, generally local, familiar with the port so that these behemoth ships can navigate designated channels.

There is nothing humorous about what happened in the port of Baltimore, which has been shut down for an indeterminate amount of time until access to the open sea can be restored getting supply lines reopened and putting workers who will be idled back on the job. However, with President Joe Biden being the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party for the 2024 election the words of the self-proclaimed “gaffe machine” in his comments on the tragedy are garnering attention.

In his speech, the POTUS said that he had been “over [the bridge] many, many times… either on a train [emphasis added] or by car.” As several pundits have noted, there are no railroad tracks across the bridge.

At roughly 2:00 p.m. on March 27, the Washington Post reported that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had recovered the equivalent of an airplane’s black box and was beginning to establish a timeline of events.

This is a developing story.

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