NATIONAL NEWS

Maritime terminal prepares for influx of redirected ships as Baltimore bridge cleanup continues

Apr 3, 2024, 11:02 AM

BALTIMORE (AP) — The only maritime shipping terminal currently operating in the Port of Baltimore is preparing to process an influx of ships as crews continue clearing the mangled wreckage of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Tradepoint Atlantic will unload and process an estimated 10,000 vehicles over the next 15 days, according to a company statement. That includes six regularly scheduled ships and nine others redirected as access to the port’s main terminals remains blocked, posing a logistical nightmare for shipping along the East Coast.

Crews opened a second temporary channel through the collapse site Tuesday, but it’s too shallow for most commercial vessels. The two alternate channels are meant primarily to aid in the cleanup effort. Work continues to open a third channel that will allow larger vessels to pass through the bottleneck and restore more commercial activity, officials said.

Meanwhile, bad weather has hindered salvage operations in recent days. The Patapsco River is also very murky, severely limiting the visibility of divers.

The bridge fell March 26 after being struck by the cargo ship Dali, which lost power shortly after leaving Baltimore, bound for Sri Lanka. The ship issued a mayday alert with just enough time for police to stop traffic, but not enough to save a roadwork crew filling potholes on the bridge.

Authorities believe six of the workers plunged to their deaths in the collapse, including two whose bodies were recovered last week. Two others survived. The ship remains stationary, its 21 crew members still aboard.

Viewed close up from the deck of a Coast Guard boat, the scope of the catastrophe emerged through heavy fog Wednesday afternoon: Massive steel bridge girders were twisted like ribbons while crushed metal shipping containers dangled perilously from the stalled cargo ship. Fallen street lights that once lined the bridge jutted like toothpicks from the water’s surface.

The sheer volume of debris dwarfed even the cranes and barges involved in the cleanup. And that’s only the view from above; officials said underwater conditions are significantly more challenging.

Divers are still trying to get a sense of the tangled, muddy web. Sonar is being used to map the wreckage on the river bottom in 50 feet (15 meters) of water. A large floating crane nicknamed “Chessy” is helping with the salvage.

Crews will soon begin lifting undamaged containers off the ship before removing the chunks of steel and concrete embedded in its bow, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath said at a news conference.

The Maryland Senate is moving swiftly to pass a bill that would provide financial assistance to port employees without work who aren’t covered under unemployment insurance. The bill also would let the governor use state reserves to help some small businesses avoid layoffs and encourage companies that relocate elsewhere to return to Baltimore once the port reopens.

President Joe Biden is expected to visit the collapse site Friday.

Other vessels are also stuck in Baltimore’s harbor until shipping traffic can resume through the port, which is one of the largest on the East Coast and a symbol of the city’s maritime culture. It handles more cars and farm equipment than any other U.S. port.

___

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Brian Witte in Annapolis and Sarah Brumfield in Washington.

National News

Associated Press

Winston, beloved gorilla at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, dies at 52 after suffering health problems

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (AP) — Winston, a western lowland gorilla who was a favorite attraction at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, has died at the age of 52 after suffering multiple health problems, officials said. The park said Winston was euthanized Saturday after veterinarians determined his condition was declining. “After careful consideration stemming from furthering […]

27 minutes ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

47 minutes ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

1 hour ago

Gov. Greg Abbott receives a briefing for Hurricane Beryl from local elected officials Sunday, July ...

Associated Press

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott demands answers as customers remain without power after Beryl

DALLAS (AP) — With around 350,000 homes and businesses still without power in the Houston area almost a week after Hurricane Beryl hit Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday said he’s demanding an investigation into the response of the utility that serves the area as well as answers about its preparations for upcoming storms. “Power […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Acclaimed video artist Bill Viola dies at 73, created landmark `Tristan und Isolde’ production

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Bill Viola, a video artist who combined with director Peter Sellars on a groundbreaking production of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” originally seen in Los Angeles, Paris and New York, has died at age 73. Viola died Friday at his home in Long Beach of Alzheimer’s disease, his website announced. What […]

5 hours ago

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, July 13, 202...

Associated Press

Biden tries to balance his condemnation of the attack on Trump with the ongoing 2024 campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland security and law enforcement officials were briefing President Joe Biden on Sunday about the apparent assassination attempt on his predecessor, Donald Trump, as the White House continued to call for national unity and condemn the stunning act of violence. Vice President Kamala Harris was joining Biden for an update from top […]

10 hours ago

Maritime terminal prepares for influx of redirected ships as Baltimore bridge cleanup continues