Ship That Hit The Baltimore Bridge Finally Returns To Port

Ship That Hit The Baltimore Bridge Finally Returns To Port

It’s taken almost two months of work, a few tons of explosives and the construction of a whole new trench in the lower Patapsco River, but the container ship that hit and destroyed the Francis Scott Key bridge is finally on the move again. The Dali hit the bridge on March 26 and has finally returned to port in Baltimore after the crash, which occurred just 30-minutes into its 27-day voyage to Sri Lanka.

The Dali container ship was freed from its bridge bonds last week, when demolition crews in Baltimore destroyed the remaining section of the Francis Scott Key bridge with explosives. Once the final span of the bridge had been blown up, the 1,000-foot vessel could finally be re-floated after being stranded for almost eight weeks.

Yesterday, crews took control of the Dali once again and returned it to port in Baltimore, reports the BBC. As the site explains:

The Army Corps of Engineers said that it would take around 21 hours to move the Dali to a nearby terminal.

Doing so first required that ballast tanks aboard the ship – which had been filled with large amounts of water to prevent it from swaying – be emptied, allowing the Dali to rise from the floor of Maryland’s Patapsco river.

At high tide around 0700 EST (1200 BST), five tugboats and several other vessels began moving the newly re-floated Dali 2.5 miles (4km) to a nearby marine terminal. Debris and parts of roadway are still clearly visible atop the ship, which remains heavily damaged.

Now that the ship has been safely returned to port, work can begin on returning commercial shipping to the Patapsco River. Workers are hoping to re-open the 700-foot-wide and 50-foot-deep federal navigation channel by the end of May. To do this, they will work to remove the final bridge elements from the channel and check the depth of the waterway following the crash, reports CNN.

An investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.

Once the waterway is deemed safe by a joint task force made up of multiple government agencies that are responding to the collapse, ships will once again be able to transit the river. As CNN explains:

“This marks the resumption of commercial vessel transits in and out of the Port of Baltimore,” the task force said in a Monday statement. “This truly signifies the next chapter in restoring the waterway commerce in this region, which also serves as the economic engine for thousands of workers and their families who depend on commerce traveling through the Port of Baltimore.”

As for the Dali, it’s now docked at the very same port that it departed from almost eight weeks ago. Its 21-strong crew has remained onboard the ship through the whole ordeal, with CNN adding that even though the ship is back in port they will be forced to remain onboard “for the foreseeable future.”

So far, the crew’s one-month visas for access to America have expired, and the FBI has also confiscated their cell phones as part of its investigation into the crash.

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