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Insights into the Baltimore Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse Revealed

Container ship collides with Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing collapse. Multiple casualties feared. Port closed, major supply chain disruptions expected.

In the early hours of Tuesday, March 26, a devastating incident unfolded near Baltimore, US, as a container ship collided with the iconic Francis Scott Key Bridge, resulting in its partial collapse.

The collision sent several vehicles plunging into the River Patapsco, leading to a grim aftermath with at least six individuals presumed dead, as reported by the Coast Guard after hours of rescue efforts.

Governor Wes Moore of Maryland swiftly declared a state of emergency, while the Port of Baltimore remains closed to ships, exacerbating the logistical challenges posed by the disaster. President Joe Biden pledged federal support to cover the reconstruction costs of the bridge and the restoration of port operations.

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The Francis Scott Key Bridge, an emblem of Baltimore, was inaugurated in 1977 in homage to Francis Scott Key, renowned for penning the US national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner. Spanning 1.6 miles across the Patapsco River and Baltimore harbor, the bridge stood as a testament to engineering prowess, boasting a main span of 1,200 feet, ranking among the world’s longest continuous truss bridges.

Video footage captured the harrowing moment when the container ship Dali collided with a pillar of the bridge, precipitating its collapse around 01:30 local time. Tragically, eight individuals, part of a construction crew engaged in repair works on the bridge, were present during the catastrophic event. While two workers were rescued, six others remain unaccounted for, likely succumbing to the frigid waters and the prolonged submersion.

The Singapore-flagged container ship Dali, operated by Synergy Group, had embarked from Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal en route to Colombo, Sri Lanka. However, a sudden deviation from its course and propulsion issues culminated in the calamitous collision with the Key Bridge. Although the crew and two American pilots aboard the Dali were safely evacuated, questions linger regarding the precise circumstances leading to the accident.

Authorities speculate on potential causes such as engine failure, steering malfunction, or generator blackout. Notably, the Dali had a prior incident in 2016 in Belgium, where it scraped its stern along a quay during departure, raising concerns about its operational history.

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The aftermath of the bridge collapse reverberates beyond the immediate loss of life and infrastructure damage. The closure of the Key Bridge disrupts vital transportation routes, particularly for hazardous material transport, and severely impacts shipping activity at the Port of Baltimore. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg highlighted the significant and protracted disruptions to supply chains, echoing concerns voiced by container shipping expert Lars Jansen about the incident’s ramifications on US East Coast trade.

SourceBBC

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