Baltimore Key Bridge collapse updates: Second temporary channel opens as new underwater images released

A second temporary channel has now been opened in the waters around the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, to get trade and movement of goods in and out of the port back up and running.

The first temporary shipping route opened on Monday, with Captain David O’Connell describing it as “an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore”.

Officials said the second route for deeper vessels launched on Tuesday, with a third channel for larger vessels planned for the coming days.

New underwater images were released by the US Navy on Tuesday, capturing the wreckage deep in the Patapsco River.

This comes as the Dali ship’s owners have denied all responsibility for the deadly crash and seek a cap of $43.7m for any lawsuit payouts.

In a court filing, the ship’s owner Grace Ocean Private Limited and operator Synergy Marine PTE denied fault or neglect over the collapse that killed six construction workers: “[It] was not due to any fault, neglect, or want of care on the part of [ship owner & operator], the Vessel, or any persons or entities for whose acts [ship owner & operator] may be responsible.”

Key points

  • Dali ship owners deny responsibility for deadly bridge crash

  • Baltimore opens temporary shipping route around wreckage

  • Maryland governor warns the disaster poses a ‘national economic catastrophe’

  • A 200-tonne bridge segment removed from Patapsco River

Remembering the victims: Miguel Luna

07:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Miguel Luna was the first of six victims who went missing when the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed on Tuesday to be named.

Luna is one of the men who is now presumed dead, his wife María del Carmen Castellón told NBC sister station Telemundo 44 in Spanish.

After the bridge collapsed Ms Castellón said family members like her were able to get into the restricted zone while they desperately waited to hear news of their loved ones.

“They only tell us that we have to wait, that for now, they can’t give us information,” she said earlier in the day.

“[We feel] devastated, devastated because our heart is broken because we don’t know if they’ve rescued them yet. We’re just waiting to hear any news.”

One relative of Luna’s also told Sky News they were “distraught” as they waited to hear news, and that some family members were taken to a location in Baltimore by police, where they could be with families of the other missing people.

His loved ones reportedly said he is from El Salvador and has children.

Luna was also identified by the non-profit organisation Casa, which provides services around Baltimore and other areas to immigrant communities.

“Miguel Luna, from El Salvador, left at 6:30 p.m. Monday evening for work and since, has not come home. He is a husband, a father of three, and has called Maryland his home for over 19 years,” Casa wrote in a statement.

One of Luna’s children, Marvin Luna, told The Washington Post that he knew his father was working on the Key Bridge overnight but did not know it collapsed until one of his friends called him up and said, “The bridge is … gone.”

Marvin then called his father’s phone, but there was no reply.

Miguel Luna (Supplied)
Miguel Luna (Supplied)

Men on board the “Dali” ship remain stuck in Baltimore Harbour

06:00 , Michelle Del Rey

The crew on board the “Dali” ship are receiving counseling from mental health specialists in the maritime industry, a representative for the Synergy Marine Group, the organisation managing the ship said.

“A dedicated team, including clinical psychologists, is currently offering round-the-clock support to the crew of the Dali, in the form of regular, individual and confidential counseling,” the representative said.

“We’ve also offered these resources to the families of the crew as part of a comprehensive response that is under constant review by the psychologists and the wider Synergy Team”.

The crew also has the ability to contact their families at any point, the spokesperson said.

The latest from the Key Bridge Response

05:00 , Michelle Del Rey

The tugboat Crystal Coast pushing a fuel barge, transited the temporary alternate channel created by the Key Bridge Response Unified Command, at 3 p.m., today and is the first vessel to use the channel since the bridge collapsed into the federal waterway on Tuesday.

The barge is used to supply jet fuel to the Department of Defense (DOD) and was transiting to Dover Air Force Base.

The Captain of the Port (COPT) established the temporary alternate channel near Sollers Point for commercially-essential vessels. The temporary channel is on the northeast side of the main ship channel in the vicinity of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. This action is part of a phased approach to opening the main federal channel.

This new temporary channel is marked with government-lighted aids to navigation. It will be limited for transit at the discretion of the COTP and during daylight hours only. This temporary channel has a controlling depth of 11 feet, a 264-foot horizontal clearance, and vertical clearance of 95 feet.

The Unified Command is working to establish a second, temporary alternate channel on the southwest side of the main channel. This second channel will allow for deeper draft vessels with an anticipated draft restriction of 15 to 16 feet.

Remembering the victims: Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval

04:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Another of the workers missing and presumed dead since the bridge collapse in Baltimore has been named as Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, according to Martin Suazo, his brother.

Martin, who lives in Honduras, told CNN that his family over in Baltimore called him to tell him that his brother was missing after the container ship crashed into the bridge.

He is originally from Azacualpa in Honduras and had been living in the United States for more than 18 years. He was married and had an 18-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter.

His brother told the outlet that Sandoval was an entrepreneur who had started his own maintenance company, venturing to the US “in search of a better life,” Martin told the outlet.

In an interview with Honduran newspaper La Prensa, Martin said in Spanish, “What we’re living is inexplicable. We wish it wasn’t real. We’re dismayed, especially the agony of not knowing when they’re going to find the body.”

“My brother was a generous man,” the brother told NPR.

He gave a lot back to his community in Honduras, Martin said. While working in the US, Sandoval sent money back to Honduras — enough to open up a hotel which provided jobs for his town, including his family. On top of this, Martin told the outlet that his brother helped those with disabilities, paid for neighbours’ medicine and doctor’s visits, and he even sponsored a youth soccer league.

One of eight siblings, the construction worker was described by another one of his brothers, Carlos Suazo Sandoval, as a “joyful person who had a vision.”

“We still have faith until this moment, God grant the miracle, it would be beautiful,” Carlos told CNN en Español on Wednesday. “We still have hope, I know that time is our worst enemy.”

The Suazo family are now focusing on having Sandoval’s body found, and if they do, they plan to repatriate the body to Honduras, Carlos said.

The Honduran Embassy told Martin Suazo that it would work with him to bring his brother’s body back to the country for funeral arrangements.

Both Sandoval and Luna were members of Casa, the organisation said in a statement: “Our hearts break knowing that Miguel and Maynor were part of the six essential workers who were on the bridge when it came tumbling down...They had a dream of a better future for themselves and their families and made the brave decision to travel to this country for a brighter future.”

“In a time when there is so much hatred against the immigrant community, we look to the story of Maynor and Miguel who built bridges to connect communities, not building walls to divide them. Today and always we honor them and their sacrifices,” the group wrote.

Watch it: The efforts to reopen Baltimore Harbour

03:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Cruise passengers react to being rerouted after Baltimore’s bridge collapse

02:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Carnival Legend cruise passengers have shared their reactions to the trip being rerouted, after the collapse of the Francis Key Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland.

Following a trip to the Bahamas, the cruise was set to end on 31 March, with the ship initially docking in Baltimore, Maryland. However, after the Key Bridge collapsed on 26 March, Carnival Legend’s ship was rerouted, before being docked in Norfolk, Virginia, on 31 March.

As noted on Carnival Legend’s official website, passengers were then provided with a complimentary bus service back to Baltimore. The cruise’s next seven day trip – set to begin on 31 March – will also leave from and return to Norfolk. The following trips will abide by this strategy, instead of being operated in Baltimore, and passengers have been made aware of the change.

“We appreciate the pledge made by President Biden today to dedicate all available resources to reopen Baltimore Harbor to marine traffic as soon as possible,” the president of Carnival Cruise Line, Christine Duffy, said in a statement. “As those plans are finalised, we will update our future cruise guests on when we will return home to Baltimore, but in the meantime, we appreciate the quick response and support from officials in Norfolk.”

Amber Raiken has the full story...

Cruise passengers react to ship being rerouted after Baltimore’s bridge collapse

Maryland Governor urges people to donate to relief fund for families of the victims

01:00 , Michelle Del Rey

WATCH: White House vows to 'get to the bottom' of Baltimore Bridge collapse

Thursday 4 April 2024 00:11 , Michelle Del Rey

Governor Wes Moore said that federal and state partners are working with families of the victims

Wednesday 3 April 2024 22:02 , Michelle Del Rey

Mr Moore made the remarks during a news conference on Wednesday. He added that inclement weather has made it difficult for officials to remove the debris from the channel in order to retrieve the bodies of four of the victims that are trapped under the rubble.

“Current conditions make it unsafe for rescue divers to return to the water,” Mr Moore said. “We have to move fast. But we will not move careless. My directive is to complete this mission with no injuries and no casualties”.

Coast Guard official says that responding crew will adjust efforts during inclement weather

Wednesday 3 April 2024 21:40 , Michelle Del Rey

“Our operations continue but will be adjusted as necessary in response to any adverse weather conditions,” said U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Frank Schiano. “The Unified Command remains committed to re-opening the port while ensuring safety and environmental protection”.

On Wednesday, Baltimore weather was predicted to be stormy with lightening. Lightening in particular can make efforts to remove parts of the bridge more complicated and unsafe. In the afternoon, officials said the weather included thunderstorms and high winds.

Crew on board Dali ship prepared for 35-day journey, Coast Guard official says

Wednesday 3 April 2024 21:09 , Michelle Del Rey

Admiral Shannon Gilreath said that the 21-person crew on board the Dali prepared for a 35-day journey to Sri Lanka. Mr Gilreath said that the crew members have “all the supplies they need to be safe on board”. It’s previously been reported that the men do not have the proper visas to leave the ship, which compares in size to the Eiffel Tower.

He added that officials are keeping track of them and they are being supported

Two temporary channels are helping traffic, officials say

Wednesday 3 April 2024 20:49 , Michelle Del Rey

Admiral Shannon Gilreath said that the the two temporary channels that have been opened are helping with the flow of traffic out of Baltimore Harbour. Still, officials say they do not have a timeline on when they’ll be able to move the “Dali” ship out of the area.

Governor Wes Moore delivers daily update

Wednesday 3 April 2024 20:22 , Michelle Del Rey

Watch his remarks here.

Non-profit org helping migrants sends open letter to Biden administration demanding temporary work visas

Wednesday 3 April 2024 20:08 , Michelle Del Rey

CASA, a non-profit organisation that two of the victims belonged to, held a virtual press conference on Monday asking President Joe Biden’s administration to provide temporary work visas to migrants. The group also called for temporary protected status and humanitarian parole.

As part of the news conference, the advocates revealed a letter sent to the administration asking that construction workers receive the protective policies. Latino workers are eight percent of the construction workforce and suffer over 26 percent of the deaths, the letter stated.

“As construction companies and business leaders, we know that construction cannot function without immigrant workers. We also know that it is a physical, demanding, and sometimes dangerous work,” the letter reads.

“The deaths of the pothole crew stranded on the bridge illustrates that, despite many safeguards, essential construction workers are vulnerable to sudden accidents and deaths”. The letter was signed by the non-profit, leaders in the construction industry and other advocates.

ICYMI: How did the collision happen?

Wednesday 3 April 2024 19:00 , Michelle Del Rey

At around 1.30am ET local time, the Singapore-flagged vessel Dali struck a column on the Francis Scott Key Bridge, leading multiple parts of the 1.6-mile-long bridge to tumble into the water.

Just moments before the collision, the ship’s crew issued a mayday call. Maryland Gov Wes Moore added that the call “undoubtedly saved lives,” giving time for authorities to stop cars from continuing on the bridge.

The crew warned the Maryland Department of Transportation that a collision with the bridge “was possible,” the report said. “The vessel struck the bridge causing a complete collapse.”

It’s still unclear what caused the accident. But the ship was just 30 minutes into its 27-day journey to Sri Lanka.

Marcel Muise, the chief investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said data from the shipping container’s voyage data recorder, sometimes referred to as a “black box”, was still being analysed.

Mr Muise said that around 1.27am on Tuesday, one of the two pilots of the Dali had made radio contact regarding a “blackout” and ordered for the port anchor to be dropped as well as issuing additional steering commands.

Several seconds later the pilot issued another radio call over the radio reporting that the Dali had “lost all power and was approaching the bridge,” Mr Muise said.

Transportation authorities say the water under the bridge is around 50 feet deep.

There was no indication that the crash was intentional, officials said.

Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the Baltimore Fire Department, told The Associated Press that it appeared there were “some cargo or retainers hanging from the bridge”, creating unsafe and unstable conditions, and that emergency responders had to operate cautiously.

Jennifer Homendy, chair of the NTSB, said that over 750 tonnes of hazardous materials had been onboard the Dali container ship when the crash occurred.

An NTSB hazmat investigator was able to identify 56 containers of hazardous materials, a total of 764 tonnes of hazardous materials, Ms Homendy told a press conference on 27 March. The materials were “mostly corrosives, flammables, and some miscellaneous hazardous materials”, she added.

Some of the hazmat containers were breached, though state authorities have been made aware.

See it: Up-close view of the Dali ship under rubble

Wednesday 3 April 2024 18:35 , Michelle Del Rey

What is the impact the closure has had on supply chains?

Wednesday 3 April 2024 17:47 , Michelle Del Rey

Shipping companies are currently looking for alternative ports to move their goods into the US. Alternative routes include Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida Alex Cherin, a former executive at the Port of Long Beach told Fox News.

Still, he said that consumers will not likely see a large impact in the first three to six months following the tragedy. When it comes to automobiles coming into the country, he said that Port of Baltimore is very unique in how it’s able to process that type of cargo in a way that is unparalleled across the country.

“If there’s no facility available to either unload or offload automobiles on the East Coast, there aren’t very many other ports that can accommodate that”, he said. After six months, cargo might begin to be diverted to the West Coast.

The bodies of four of the men remain missing

Wednesday 3 April 2024 15:59 , Michelle Del Rey

The bodies of four out of the six construction workers that died in the tragedy remain missing. Officials say that another vehicle is intertwined with the wreckage of the bridge and can only be recover once parts of the bridge are cleared from the water.

Last week, officials recovered the bodies of Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, a 35-year old from Baltimore, and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, of Dundalk, Maryland.

WATCH: Moment first vessel passes through temporary alternate channel in Baltimore

Wednesday 3 April 2024 13:00 , Kelly Rissman

Second temporary channel opens around Baltimore bridge wreckage

Wednesday 3 April 2024 11:31 , Rachel Sharp

A second temporary channel has now been opened in the waters around the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, to get trade and movement of goods in and out of the port back up and running.

The first temporary shipping route opened on Monday, with Captain David O’Connell describing it as “an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore”.

Officials said the second route for deeper vessels launched on Tuesday, with a third channel for larger vessels planned for the coming days.

Commercial traffic starts to move

Wednesday 3 April 2024 04:00 , Kelly Rissman

A temporary shipping channel has opened around the Port of Baltimore to keep commercial traffic coming into the city following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge last week.

It is located on the northeast side of the main channel close to the bridge site. It has been marked with government-lighted aids for navigation. Officials said the passage is 11 feet deep with a 264-foot horizontal clearance and a vertical clearance of 95 feet.

It will be accessible to commercially essential vessels, officials added. The action marks one of the first in the effort to reopen the channel. Over the weekend, authorities removed a 250-tonne part of the wreckage from the site.

“This marks an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore,” US Coast Guard Captain David O’Connell, federal on-scene coordinator, said on Monday. “By opening this alternate route, we will support the flow of marine traffic into Baltimore.”

On Monday, workers were focused on removing a 350-tonne part of the bridge. A representative of the US Coast Guard who spoke to reporters at an afternoon news conference said that officials were also working on creating a second southwest channel to help deeper vessels coming into the area.

Michelle Del Rey has the full story...

Temporary channels to open around collapsed Baltimore bridge wreckage

WATCH: Moment first vessel passes through temporary alternate channel in Baltimore

Wednesday 3 April 2024 03:00 , Kelly Rissman

Could ‘Titanic law’ protect owner of ship in Baltimore bridge crash from compensation claims?

Wednesday 3 April 2024 02:00 , Kelly Rissman

The owner of the ship that collided with the Baltimore Francis Scott Key Bridge has filed a petition in federal court to restrict its amount of liability in the tragedy which resulted in the deaths of six people.

Grace Ocean Private Limited, the owner of the Dali ship, and Synergy Marine Group, the ship’s manager, submitted the filing under the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, a piece of legislation that enables ship owners to limit their liability for certain claims to the value of the vessel and its cargo at the end of its journey.

The law notably protected the makers of the “Titanic”. After the ship sank in 1912, its owner, White Star Line, was served with hundreds of lawsuits totalling $16m in damages. Citing the 1851 law, the case ultimately made its way to the US Supreme Court. In the end, negotiations outside of court resulted in a settlement of $664,000 in July 1916.

To get the funds, claimants had to end their claims in the US and England, where the ship set sail, and acknowledge that the owner “had no privity or knowledge of any negligence”, according to documents from the Library of Congress.

Experts say the Monday filing in the Baltimore case was not surprising. “This is exactly what I was expecting would occur,” Martin Davies, an admiralty law professor at Tulane University, said.

Michelle Del Rey has the full story...

Could ‘Titanic law’ protect owner of ship in Baltimore bridge crash?

Watch: Baltimore mayor Brandon Scott responds to racist remarks

Tuesday 2 April 2024 23:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Second temporary channel opened

Tuesday 2 April 2024 22:30 , Kelly Rissman

A second temporary channel was opened on Tuesday, just one week after the bridge’s catastrophic collapse, allowing commercial traffic to move through.

“I’m thankful that after only a week after the collapse, we have pathways and channels,” Gov Wes Moore said at a press conference.

Despite the victory, Mr Moore warned, “We are still a long way from being able to get the size and the cadence of the commercial traffic back to where it was before the collapse.”

Local leaders acknowledge ‘long road’ ahead

Tuesday 2 April 2024 21:45 , Kelly Rissman

Today marked one week since the fatal collapse of Baltimore’s Key Bridge, which took six construction workers’ lives.

Speaking at a Tuesday press conference, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott called the incident an “unpseakable tragedy.”

He added, “the road ahead is long and difficult” but we will “utilize every tool” to support the community and businesses.

Leaders also underscored that the bad weather has made the mission to clear the wreckage even more difficult.

US Army Corps of Engineers Col Estee Pinchasin shed light on some of the salvage efforts.

The state of the wreckage has made it difficult to know “where to cut, how to cut” into the tresses submerged in the water. She added, the workers are operating in an “extremely unforgiving” area, but they are developing a plan.

“The compelxity is even more complex than we thought,” Gov Moore said, adding “there are still a lot of unknowns.”

Sen Ben Cardin praised Mitch McConnell’s ‘positive comments'

Tuesday 2 April 2024 21:30 , Kelly Rissman

Maryland Sen Ben Cardin thanked his colleague Sen Mitch McConnell for his “positive comments” that he made earlier in the day.

Mr McConnell said in a radio interview, “In situations like that, whether it’s a hurricane in Florida or an accident like this, the federal government will step up and do the lion’s share of it.”

His comments come after Republicans have criticised the call from Maryland leaders — and President Biden— to use federal funds to pay for the cost of rebuilding the bridge.

In case you missed it, John Bowden has the full story about GOP’s opposition to the use of federal funds for the bridge’s reconstruction:

Baltimore’s mayor calls for bipartisan Key Bridge repair as he faces GOP opposition

Inclement weather has made clearing the wreckage difficult

Tuesday 2 April 2024 21:10 , Kelly Rissman

Gov Wes Moore said at a Tuesday press conference that “current conditions make it unsafe for rescue divers to return to the water.”

But, he added, “We have to move fast. But we cannot be careless... We have already lost six Marylanders we will not lose any more.”

WATCH: White House vows to ‘get to the bottom’ of Baltimore Bridge collapse

Tuesday 2 April 2024 21:00 , Kelly Rissman

Gov Wes Moore gives an update one week after bridge’s collapse

Tuesday 2 April 2024 20:46 , Kelly Rissman

Officials launch website for all information relating to Key Bridge collapse

Tuesday 2 April 2024 20:40 , Michelle Del Rey

A new website with information, including press releases, has been launched to provide the public with information related to the incident.

It’s available here.

Who is Marciel Muise? The man leading the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation

Tuesday 2 April 2024 20:21 , Michelle Del Rey

Marcel Muise is a marine casualty investigator who served in the US Coast Guard and captained oil drilling ships and rigs before joining the safety board, according to The Baltimore Banner.

Mr Muise worked for the NTSB for six years. The collapse is the largest disaster he has been tasked with overseeing since joining the agency.

First vessel passes through new temporary channel

Tuesday 2 April 2024 19:45 , Michelle Del Rey

Brother of one of the deceased men calls him ‘a generous man'

Tuesday 2 April 2024 19:09 , Michelle Del Rey

Martin Suazo Sandoval told NPR that his brother, Maynor Suazo Sandoval, was driven to help his family and his community in Honduras. “My brother was a generous man,” he said.

He also sent money home to his family to start a hotel that helped provide jobs for his family.

US congressman speaks out against Republicans opposed to funding bridge construction

Tuesday 2 April 2024 18:44 , Michelle Del Rey

James E Clyburn, a Democratic congressman from South Carolina, spoke out against some members of US Congress opposed to funding rebuilding efforts for the Baltimore Francis Scott Key Bridge in an interview with NBC News on Tuesday.

“The fact of the matter is, all of us, every state in the nation, all 50 of us, will take our turns needing this kind of assistance”.

Vessels start moving out of Baltimore

Tuesday 2 April 2024 18:10 , Michelle Del Rey

Limited ship traffic resumed for the first time after recovery teams opened a temporary channel with a controlling depth of 11 feet on the northbound side of the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

The first vessel to transit the channel was a tugboat pushing a barge supplying jet fuel to the US Department of Defence, the Coast Guard said.

A second temporary channel on the southbound side with a depth of 15 to 16 feet would open “in the coming days”, Maryland governor Wes Moore said.

A third channel with a depth of 20 to 25 feet would allow almost all tug and barge traffic in and out of the port after the debris was cleared, said Coast Guard rear admiral Shannon Gilreath.

Maryland lawmakers hold hearing on emergency legislation for port workers

Tuesday 2 April 2024 17:49 , Michelle Del Rey

Rebuilding process for Francis Scott Key Bridge likely to take several years

Tuesday 2 April 2024 17:30 , Michelle Del Rey

The New York Times is reporting that rebuilding the Francis Scott Key Bridge is taking several years. The bridge took five years to construct before it opened in 1977.

Collapse could fuel reinsurance pricing

Tuesday 2 April 2024 17:10 , Michelle Del Rey

According to the Wall Street Journal, the cost of rebuilding the Francis Scott Key Bridge will largely fall on reinsurers.

If the losses from the incident end up at the higher end of estimates, which are currently $2bn to $4bn, then insurers may add reserves to social inflation which could cause them to seek higher prices, the outlet reported.

Last year, natural catastrophe losses were capped at $108bn, above the 10-year average of $89bn.

Non profit to hold news conference Tuesday to call for work permits for long-term undocumented immigrants

Tuesday 2 April 2024 16:50 , Michelle Del Rey

CASA, an organisation that works with immigrants, is holding a news conference on Tuesday to call for better working conditions for undocumented immigrants.

The organisation said it has drafted a letter to President Joe Biden’s administration which it plans to reveal during the event. Two out of the six men that died belonged to the organisation.