Bridge Collision – Port of Baltimore Shut Down

posted in: Chesapeake Bay News | 0
Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse Baltimore MD
Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse
Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District


At 1:27 a.m. on March 26, 2024, Coast Guard watchstanders received a report into the Coast Guard Sector Maryland – National Capital Region command center reporting a 984-foot Singapore-flagged containership collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Additionally, it was reported that the bridge collapsed and there were reports of persons in the water. Response boat crews from Coast Guard Stations Curtis Bay and Annapolis deployed to the incident for active search and rescue.

Within minutes, emergency response to the accident began. An immediate closure of the bridge before the collision by emergency responders likely saved lives. On the water, vessels from the U.S. Coast Guard, Baltimore City Fire Department, local tugboats, and others responded quickly and began search and rescue efforts.

Prior to the incident, the DALI (IMO 9697428) initiated a MAY DAY call. Moments later the vessel struck a large support on the west side of the channel. The main bridge structure immediately collapsed into the river and onto the bow of the ship. The collapsed remains of the bridge blocked large vessel traffic, resulting in a closure of Baltimore Harbor.

On March 26, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District activated its Emergency Operations Center, clearing the way for more than 1,100 engineering, construction, contracting and operations specialists to provide support to local, state and federal agencies following the collapse of the bridge.

In accordance with USACE’s federal authorities, USACE will lead the effort to clear the Federal channel as part of the larger interagency recovery effort. Together with local, state, and federal partners, they are working closely to determine the key actions required to remove the fallen bridge.

USACE, Baltimore District operates and maintains more than 290 miles of federal navigable channels within the Susquehanna River watershed, including the Fort McHenry Channel where the bridge is located.

On March 27th, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that the agency has launched a go team to investigate the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott issued an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency in Baltimore City in response to the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse incident. Maryland Governor Wes Moore declared a State of Emergency in Maryland and announced that the state was working with an interagency team to quickly deploy federal resources.

As a result of the accident, I-695 Outer Loop closed at MD 10 (exit 2) and Inner Loop closed at MD 157/Peninsula Expressway (exit 43), according to Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).

The Francis Scott Key Bridge is one of Baltimore’s most familiar landmarks. Located on I-695 (Baltimore Beltway), the bridge spans the lower Patapsco River between Hawkins Point and Sollers Point. The bridge is the outermost of the three major crossings of Baltimore Harbor.

Managed by the Maryland Port Administration, Port of Baltimore’s state-owned public marine terminals and private terminals handled a record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo, worth $80 billion, in 2023.

The collision was the second recent accident involving large commercial vessels in the Chesapeake Bay. In March 2022, the container ship EVER FORWARD ran aground near Gibson Island south of Baltimore Maryland. The incident quickly drew international attention to the Chesapeake Bay maritime industry.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.