The Baltimore Bridge, also known as the “Francis Scott Key Bridge”, collapsed after a disrupting collision. In the footage that is circling online, A large container ship hit the bridge, making a sizable 1.6-mile-long part of the bridge fall into the Patapsco River. The catastrophic event led many vehicles and people that were on the bridge to fall into the deep river. The city fire department’s communication chief, Kevin Cartwright, stated it to be a “developing mass-casualty.”

Who Was On The Ship?

A Singaporean-flagged Dali vessel collided with a critical bridge pillar that remained stuck until Tuesday morning, causing havoc. The crew on board are accounted to be safe by Synergy Marine Group, the company that operated the vessel.

Source: Pexels/John Mark Barit

Synergy stated there were two pilots to steer the ship through the crossing, and they took all the precautionary measures beforehand. The exact cause of the incident is yet to be revealed.

Video Of The Collapse

The video that everyone can see on the internet shows the vessel approaching the Baltimore bridge, which is followed by a massive collision that leads to the structure collapsing into the water.

Source: Wikimedia/Jonathon Coombes

The cars can be seen falling into the water from the bridge; it is a haunting sight.

Extent Of Casualties

Multiple vehicles were on the bridge, according to Mr Cartwright when the bridge came into collision with the containership. The number of casualties is still varying.

Source: Pixabay/Hans

“Around 20 people and cars fell into the water,” said Baltimore City Fire’s Chief James Wallace.

Continued Rescue Efforts

Sonar and infrared technology are being used to locate all the cars in the water. Two have been rescued. Out of which, one is said to be in a profoundly severe condition.

Source: Pexels/Inge Wallumrød

The rescue mission is still very much active in hopes of finding the rest of the victims.

What Were The Precautionary Measures Taken By The Governor?

Maryland Governor Wes Moore was quick to declare a state of emergency and announced that he was working with federal agencies to rescue the people as soon as possible.

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The Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld suspended all the traffic, enclosing Interstate 695, going in and out of Port Baltimore until further notice.

Who Is To Be Blamed?

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas wrote on X that the incident was purely accidental; he added that authorities were “assessing the impacts and closely monitoring the tragic situation unfolding.”

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Paul J. Wiedefeld stated in his Tuesday morning conference that an investigation is being held regarding the crash and the bridge’s collapse. It is in its initial stages, but there is no indication of the accident being intentional or planned.

The Ship Owner’s Brief Criminal History

According to the records, the owner of the Dali ship is known to be involved in at least three deadly events reading the sea since 2018. These events led to the death of crew members and many more.

Source: Pexels/Julius Silver

There is more to be revealed regarding the ship owner, but for now, there are no answers from the company’s corporate communications regarding this issue.

What Is The History Of The Baltimore Bridge?

The Baltimore Bridge has many names, ‘The Francis Scott Key Bridge’ often referred to as ‘Key Bridge’ or ‘Beltway Bridge.’ It is named after the amateur poet Francies Scott Key, who is known as the author of the American national anthem.

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The bridge built in 1977 is 1.2 miles or 8,500 feet long. It became the final link in Interstate 695, completing a two-year-long project.

The Impact On The Baltimore Port Post-Incident

There is no doubt the incident will cause a considerable effect that could last for months. The Helen Delich Bentley Port is one of the largest ports in the United States. The port is mainly used for specialized cargo, like trucks, trailers, and tractors.

Source: Pexels/David Dibert

Bulk cargo such as petroleum and coal also use this port as a gateway. In 2023 alone, around 800,000 vehicles passed through this port, recording around three million tons of cargo being transported through it.

What Effects Will This Incident Have On The Shipping Routes?

There are several ships that were coming into the Baltimore port, which are now being diverted to the north of New York and New Jersey or south of Port Virginia.

Source: Pexels/Jan van der Wolf

Which should not cause much disruption, considering these ports are big enough to welcome more traffic. The ports manage ten times more volume of cargo and ships each week.

Importance Of The Baltimore Bridge In Handling Cargos

The other ports might be able to carry a larger volume of imports, but the specialized supply chains might face more disruptions, such as the Domino Sugar Refinery, which is located in the port.

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It is the country’s largest churning raw sugar imported in the city. Raw sugar is imported from overseas and turned into refined sugar to be consumed by the US.

What Is The Baltimore Port Best Known For?

The port is the best for handling cargo on vehicles like autos, trucks, and wheeled cranes. As well as coal, liquified natural gas, and wastepaper are the top exporters here.

Source: Pexels/Khunkorn Laowisit

While gypsum, salt, and sugar are the most significant imports from this port.

Was The Collapse Incident Normal?

Julian Carter, a civil and structural engineer, states that the Baltimore Bridge has “very weak points.” These structures are simpler in concept but need to be stronger in some areas.

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As the ship collapsed, the bridge changed its shape. The high amount of energy from the ship, with its many thousand tons of impact, can very easily result in such a collapse. It is, unfortunately, a catastrophic collapse.

Is Reconstruction Possible?

The reconstruction can cost up to $600 million, according to a civil emerging specialist. Whereas in the 1970s, when the bridge was first constructed, the cost of building it would have been roughly $60 million.

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David Mackenzie, the chair of engineering and architecture consultancy, said, “It is going to be over ten times that to rebuild it at least. It is going to be an expensive rebuild.”