NEWS: Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Ship Collision

NEWS: Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Ship CollisionIn a terrible story out of Maryland today, rescue workers are searching for as many as seven people after a bridge collapse in Baltimore. The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed early Tuesday morning after being struck by a container vessel.

CNN posted a video of the collapse, reporting:

The ship, which hit the bridge just before 1:30 a.m., was the DALI, a Singaporean-flagged container vessel, public affairs officer for the US Coast Guard’s 5th District, Kimberly Reaves, said. It is about 984-feet, long, according to MarineTraffic data.

Lights on the ship flickered and a dark plume of smoke could be seen billowing from it before it veered towards a bridge pillar shortly before impact, CNN analysis of data from the MarineTraffic ship-tracking website shows.

No crew members on the ship were injured, ship management company Synergy Group said a statement.

Dali is owned by Grace Ocean pte Ltd of Singapore, managed by Synergy Marine Group of Singapore, and chartered for use for its containers by Maersk, the Danish shipping giant.

At the time of the collision, two harbor pilots were onboard. It is unclear whether the harbor pilots were in command on the bridge of the vessel, but given the location of the ship, they probably were.

Keven Cartwright, director of communications for the Baltimore Fire Department, told the AP that “…some cargo appeared to be dangling from the bridge, which spans the Patapsco River at the entrance to a busy harbor. The river leads to the Port of Baltimore, a major hub for shipping on the East Coast. Opened in 1977, the bridge is named for the writer of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’”

Governor Wes More has declared a state of emergency and is working to get federal resources deployed. The FBI is also on the scene, but there is no information to suggest terrorism.

The bridge is four lanes wide and 1.6 miles long, spanning over the Patapsco River and serving as a link to the Baltimore Beltway.

Two people have been saved from the water so far, reports CNN. They also note, “The container ship Dali, which had just left the Port of Baltimore and was en route to Colombo, Sri Lanka, was not being piloted by its own crew, but by local pilots who are used specifically to avoid accidents like the one that occurred early Tuesday morning.”

However, the ship lost power before the collision. In fact, the reports now are that the ship issued a mayday call in order to get people off of the bridge. If the negligent maintenance of the ship’s power plant caused the power failure and the ship was in essence drifting and out of control at the time of the collision, the fault will lie with the ship’s owners, managers, operators (charterers), and/or employers of the crew and officers.

Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.

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