Baltimore Bridge: Alternative Route To Open For Shipping

Baltimore Bridge Alternative Route To Open For Shipping - Merchant Navy Info - News

Baltimore port gets a temporary emergency route for ships and boats to be opened in the US city of Baltimore. This is after the collapse of a major bridge, officials have announced.

Six people have lost their lives after the Dali cargo ship struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge last Tuesday. Thus, resulting in shipments being suspended in and out of one of the country’s busiest ports.

Meanwhile, efforts are underway to clear debris from the water.

A 200-tonne chunk of the bridge was moved on Saturday.

President to visit Baltimore bridge

US President Joe Biden is set to visit the site on Friday, the White House announced.

“As the president said within hours of the collapse, this administration will be with the people of Baltimore every step of the way.” This was said by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre informed reporters on Monday.

Those involved in the clean-up have been cutting debris from the bridge into tiny pieces. The reason is that can be removed and taken to a disposal site.

Cranes have been brought to the site to help lift debris from the area. That includes the Chesapeake 1000, the largest crane on the eastern US seaboard.

As per a statement from the Key Bridge Response, a body was set up in the wake of the accident. Also, port officials are preparing to open the temporary channel to the northeast side of the main channel close to the collapsed bridge. This would be for “commercially essential vessels”.

This will be part of a “phased approach to opening the main channel”.

Capt David O’Connell, who has been helping to coordinate the response. He said the alternative route “will mark an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore”.

“By opening this alternate route, we will support the flow of marine traffic,” he added.

Currently, a 2,000-yard (1,828-metre) safety zone exists around the wreckage. Thus, preventing all vessels and people from entering the area without permission from port officials.

Roughly 80-90% of the bridge wreckage is currently underwater, according to officials.

Baltimore Bridge a Major Shipping Route

The Port of Baltimore is a key economic generator for the state of Maryland. Additionally, it is a vital artery for imports and exports of US and global trade.

Experts say it could take a month before it reopens, and years to rebuild the bridge. It is thought an investigation into last week’s incident may take years.

The US government last week approved $60 (£47m) in initial emergency funds requested by Maryland.

President Biden told reporters at the White House hours after the incident that he hopes the US government “will pay for the entire cost” of the bridge’s reconstruction.

But the proposal was met with almost immediate backlash from conservative Republicans who aim to curb government spending.

“The very thought of having the Federal Government pay for the Baltimore bridge is TOTALLY ABSURD!!”. South Carolina Republican Ralph Norman told The Hill.

Insurance expected to help

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in an MSNBC interview on Wednesday that she expected insurance payments to cover some of the costs of rebuilding the bridge.

The Dali container vessel – which is nearly as long as the Eiffel Tower – remains on the water. Its 22-person crew, all Indian nationals, are reportedly still aboard and unharmed.

Little is known about them, and it remains unclear when they will be on the stranded ship.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore earlier said each stage of the recovery and salvage operation would be difficult, as there were “3,000 to 4,000 tonnes of steel… sitting on that ship”.

The recovery has been further complicated by the amount of debris in the dark waters of the Patapsco River. Divers have been unable to see more than a foot or two in front of them.

Eight construction workers were repairing potholes on the Key Bridge when the Dali cargo ship veered into one of its columns. Thus, forcing most of the structure into the water.

Two were rescued and the bodies of two others have been recovered. The search for the remaining four – who are presumed dead – has been put on hold. Due to the problems posed by the bridge debris.

Isabel Franco, the wife of Jose Mynor Lopez, who is still missing, told CBS News that the 35-year-old had a “kind heart”. Moreover, is always “worried” about his loved ones.

Four vehicles are also unaccounted for.

Sonar scanning is ongoing for vehicles, human remains and debris that could potentially be dislodged underwater.

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