March 26, 2024

"A major bridge in Baltimore collapsed after being struck by a cargo ship early Tuesday, sending vehicles plunging into the water...."

"It was not immediately clear how many people were on the span — the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which is part of Interstate 695 — when the cargo ship struck. Baltimore’s fire chief, James Wallace, told a news conference that officials were searching for 'upwards of seven people' and that two others had been pulled from the water....."


They're using sonar to detect the vehicles in the water — the Petapso River. What of people who escape from vehicles into that water? What was the height of the roadway? Is the fall survivable?

Here's the video, showing the ship hit the bridge and the bridge collapse. Scroll to find the crash:


ADDED: If you didn't on your own wonder if this could have been intentional, the denial will put the idea in your head:

116 comments:

Lem the artificially intelligent said...

“Vehicles submerged in the water” - Fire chief.

donald said...

They got no chance.

rehajm said...

Horrible. Am I obligated to reserve my judgements for a day or two or can I lead with them in the spirit of snapping people out the destructive zombie march?

gilbar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gilbar said...

What of people who escape from vehicles into that water?

in march? what do you think? this is a recovery operation

Clyde said...

They've rescued two people so far, one hospitalized. My guess is that they were close to one end of the bridge. At this point, it's been almost six hours since the bridge collapse, and the water is 49 degrees. I don't think it's likely that they find any more survivors.

My first thought when I heard about the accident when I woke up at 5:30 was of the 1980 Sunshine Skyway disaster over Tampa Bay, which killed 35 people. It took seven years to replace that bridge, and that was before wacko environmentalists. Things are going to be FUBAR in Baltimore for a while.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Probably unrelated but stories like this make me wonder where those literally TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS spent on INFRASTRUCTURE were actually spent. Then the natural follow up, is there anything left from that slush fund to rebuild this bridge? And completing the circle, will this freighter’s pilot and or captain get the same treatment as the one from the Exxon Valdez?

mezzrow said...

"Move along, nothing to see here."

People in power need to be staying up at night. Things may not start getting more interesting, but that's not the way I'd bet right now.

I wish I could. It would be so pretty to think that.

Make the most of every day.

Chris said...

Horrible, horrible accident. You can clearly see in the livestream that the ship lost power multiple times, and that thick black smoke was emanating from the stacks before it struck the bridge pilon.

Enigma said...

Based on this extended 6:46 minute video, the lights appeared to go out on the ship before the collision, and then there was smoke that may have indicated an engine restart and reversal. Given that this was a Maersk ship and that Maersk has successfully managed many ships for a very long time, I'll wait for the investigation report.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDceU9x58vc

Still, Baltimore is a very poorly managed city. Detroit by the Sea. Beyond the ship, I do suspect the quality of the local port officials, port traffic control, ship inspectors, law enforcement, etc.

Mr Wibble said...

Good. This country is a shithole, and Baltimore is the worse. They deserve it.

gspencer said...

NPR has narrowed down the possible causes,
--- Trump
--- climate change
--- white privilege

Christopher B said...

Those "we obviously have no clue what happened but we know it wasn't terrorism" denials do more harm than good. The fact the incantation is made after every incident just makes it plain they meant to paper over incidents that obviously are terroristic but it would be inconvenient to admit it.

BTW, did that Memphis manifesto ever get released?

Scott Gustafson said...

This also effectively shuts the port down until the debris is cleared. Baltimore is a major freight port and all of that traffic is going to have to go somewhere.

Steven said...

To say that the bridge collapsed into the Patapsco River does not reveal the true impact of the disaster. The tidal estuary of the Patapsco is the harbor for Baltimore. The bridge was near where the estuary joins the Chesapeake Bay. So although the bridge did not span the Chesapeake Bay, its loss will probably shut down shipping from the Port of Baltimore for quite sometime. And truck traffic from the Port and the surrounding industrial area will be severely affected, since this span was part of the Baltimore Beltway with its link to the Interstate 95.

rhhardin said...

A lot of the bridge was built too strong, since it's still standing.

You want a one-horse shay effect. Nothing fails first, but everything fails at once.

rhhardin said...

Disqus login today had me identify bridges, which is always a challenge.

Dave Begley said...

Chris, above, has valuable info.

TRISTRAM said...

Was it a maaersk pilot or a US harbor pilot? If the latter, who was it and what was their career like before this?

Gusty Winds said...

Hopefully Mayor Pete will get to Baltimore quickly.

TRISTRAM said...

"Blogger Mr Wibble said...
Good. This country is a shithole, and Baltimore is the worse. They deserve it."

The port of Baltimore is closed for a while. Days, weeks, months. Supply chain it services isn't limited to Baltimore. It will affect the US and international businesses. Maybe even you.

Gusty Winds said...

Do we know who the ship's captain voted for yet??

Tom T. said...

Hard to imagine surviving that fall into the water, at high speed, with debris coming down around you. I've heard there was a construction crew on the bridge too.

That bridge's typical traffic is relatively light; there aren't that many commuters around that side of the city. As others have mentioned, the real problem here is the loss of the port. They're going to be under pressure to clear that channel fast.

donald said...

Not gonna be a bad artificial reef IYKWIMAITYD.

Howard said...

The denial didn't put the idea of intentionality in your head. The conspiracy ideation that you regularly engage with your commentators about has softened your brain to the point of it's becoming a conspiracy generating organ.

Gusty Winds said...

Two power losses, and an engine surge right before the ship hits the bridge support like a bullseye.

Darkisland said...

The bridge was 150 feet above the water I read.

It's a shipping channel so at least 50 feet deep, I assume.

Add to that the metal bridge structure itself encasing any cars in a tangle of steel and the water temperature.

Survival seems pretty unlikely.

I think, but am not sure anymore, that the ship has to have a Baltimore harbor pilot to enter harbor. Who that pilot might work for i don know. I doubt they would be a Maersk employee just on economics.

I would assume the pilot was picked up before the bridge an in charge of the ship but don't know.

Did the ship sink or get trapped in the bridge? That would also complicate things.

John Henry

Gusty Winds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darkisland said...

It doesn't require a conspiracy theory, Howard.

Attacking a harbor as warfare is hundreds of years old and done many times.

It's why Baltimore has fort McHenry.

A huge metal structure that can be dropped into the water just makes it easier.

It could be done by a country, a group or even 4-5 could take control of a ship.

Not much harder than hijacking an airliner and flying into a building.

You probably thought that possibility was a conspiracy theory on 9/10/01.

John Henry

Fredrick said...

The reports are it was an LSEG ship tracking data as a Singapore-flagged container ship, the Dali. The bridge is more than 100 foot tall at that point. If there's power failure it should be investigated onboard the ship. There should not be single point failures on any commercial ship that size.

Lem the artificially intelligent said...

The name that came to mind was Hazelwood. I had to look up the name of the oil tanker, but the name of captain was immediately accessible.

Lem the artificially intelligent said...

The name that came to mind was Hazelwood. I had to look up the name of the oil tanker, but the name of captain was immediately accessible.

gilbar said...

remember back when people were so clueless, that they didn't realize that the USA is a shithole?

MadisonMan said...

What a nightmare for Baltimore. Will also add: Mayor Scott of Baltimore looks super young. This will define his entire career.

Darkisland said...

Most, I thought all, bridges have pretty substantial fortification and or pilings around the supports to prevent this.

One of the reasons my first thought was intentional was because to breach these and hit the supports the ship would need to be under power at speed and hit pretty much straight on.

Also, a busy port like Baltimore always had tugs around. I would have thought 1 or more would be escorting through the bridge.

Even if not, I would have thought one could get to the ship before disaster.

I am assuming a really stupid accident. I'm not ruling out out intentionality.

And we will probably find later today that some law related to shippi g, pilotage or bridges was changed in 2019 and it is all president emeritus Trump fault

John Henry

Mr. O. Possum said...

The bridge took five years to build in the 1970s. I wonder how long it will take now.

That it is named after Francis Scott key is terribly symbolic.

Darkisland said...

Fort McHenry was built 200+ years ago to defend Baltimore harbor.

It has not had a harbor defense role since the 19th century. I might have implirit still does. Sorry.

John Henry

Kevin said...

Yet another reason to buckle up.

Joe Biden, America's Putin said...

Fitting his happened under Biden's and his corrupt greedy handler's watch.

Aggie said...

What a disaster. It looks like they shut down traffic on the bridge well in advance, knowing of the problem, and the vehicles that went down, were parked on the span - service vehicles. The vessel blacked out about 4 minutes before hitting the bridge, so it was a good response. But it will be the municipal / Law Enforcement / Emergency folks that are casualties. And some of them were parked in the middle of the span, a very poor choice considering the risks. Wonder why they did that, as they weren't serving any clear purpose with that choice. But it probably wouldn't have mattered. The bridge was no match for a drifting vessel of that size.

I wonder if the pilot dropped anchors. And I wonder if harbors are going to change their policies with respect to harbor tugs. Ships, even big ships, have become very maneuverable with the advent of bow and stern thrusters, and azimuthing drives - even mega ships like this container vessel can almost dock themselves these days, without tugs. But a 'power-out' disaster like this one may cause them to re-think their critical systems. I sure hope so.

These mega container ships: As big as these ships are these days, they have huge wind-sail area when loaded, an in a blackout and a breeze, they'll get moving with a lot of destructive mass. This fully-loaded one made very quick work of that bridge. A few tugs alongside might have saved the day.

Here it is, going over: time stamp 1:28:49 EDT

https://youtu.be/83a7h3kkgPg

dbp said...

We've all seen a lot of bridges and it seems as if the ones I've noticed have a wide concrete pier around where the towers go into the water. I had assumed this was to prevent exactly this sort of thing. Maybe container ships have grown to the point that the above water part can hit the tower before the underwater part runs aground.

Going forward, maybe the replacement should be a tunnel, or a bridge such that the towers are located on land or in shallow water, such that a ship will not be able to reach this vulnerable structure under any circumstance.

Joe Biden, America's Putin said...

Delivering all our Joy Behar made in China junk to be sold at Home Goods?

Rocco said...

Sal Mercogliano is a maritime expert at the US Naval Institute. He runs a YouTube channel called “What is Going on With Shipping?” I expect he’ll have some good information about the tragedy soon, if he hasn’t started already.

Joe Biden, America's Putin said...

That scene is a metaphor for Biden and his corrupt butt-fukking lunatic handlers ruining our lives.

Bob Boyd said...

The posted video is some kind of live feed and doesn't show the collapse.

Here's a link to the collapse video: https://youtu.be/YVdVpd-pqcM

Bob Boyd said...

My bad. The posted video does show the crash.
In the immortal words of Miss Emily Latella, never mind.

Leland said...

In the early 2000’s, a ship in the Houston Ship Channel raised a crane as it was attempting to pass under I-610 bridge ripping into lanes on one side of the bridge. The crane operator was Middle Eastern and the timing was suspect. Turned out to be basic incompetence by the operator and stress to get tasks done that should have waited. Marine vessel allision with bridges happens more often than we may want to know. Usually the bridges are less well known and critical as this bridge today.

Howard said...

Well if it was intentional why did they do it at 1:00 in the morning when there was little traffic on the bridge and it caused the least amount of harm?

It used to be called common sense, John Henry:

Hanlon's razor is an adage or rule of thumb that states:[1]

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
It is a philosophical razor that suggests a way of eliminating unlikely explanations for human behavior. It is probably named after Robert J. Hanlon, who submitted the statement to Murphy's Law Book Two (1980).[1] Similar statements have been recorded since at least the 18th century.

Narayanan said...

from ship's log star date 03/26/2023

the captain was not sober past midnight today - log entry
nor was the pilot - log entry

john said...

Did you find it both amazing and disturbing how fragile that bridge seemed to be? It would have been great were Henry Petroski alive to offer his perspective.

Bob Boyd said...

If they told us Putin did it, would you believe them?

Tom T. said...

Just FYI, the ship was on its way out, not in. Whatever problems occurred on the ship happened shortly after it left port.

Narayanan said...

Enigma said...
Based on this extended 6:46 minute video,
=================
looks to me ship veered toward bridge-support-structure? wrong rudder applied?

wildswan said...

I've been over that bridge hundreds of times. It's part of a major route between DC and points north. It is the southern side, so to speak, of 695, the beltway around Baltimore. You can still go around Baltimore on 695, on the north side but that was always jammed at rush hour. Now it will be horrible all the time. The south side of 695 was also one ways to get to BWI airport though people who live in the area prefer to use a network of lesser roads.
In short, the harbor is blocked and the Baltimore beltway and BWI airport are impacted. The Didn't Earn Its running Baltimore won't be able to handle this. So far, they've done nothing but tell the news that they're on the scene. And i doubt that they will ever really do more. This may be the end of Baltimore.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Read John McPhee's "Looking for a Ship" to learn about freight shipping. Coincidentally, it ends with his freighter losing power.

Prof. M. Drout said...

It has never made sense to me why there hasn't been an effort made to make the major North/South artery for the entire East coast more robust. It's not just around Baltimore, where the bridges get massively backed up all the time (the Key bridge bled off a lot of truck traffic that will now have to go back onto 95), but there's the spot in Hartford where all lanes of 95 go UNDERNEATH A BUILDING (I have nightmares about what a terrorist attack could do there) or the 95/128 junction just south of Boston where ALL traffic for 95 has to squeeze into a one-lane circle...
We used to be a country in which sober and serious people tried to reduce vulnerabilities so that it wasn't worth the risk for adversaries to attack our infrastructure. Used to be.
I fear that over the next few years we are going to have to re-learn a lot of very hard lessons about preparedness and the difference between "want" and "need".

Original Mike said...

Blogger Mr Wibble said..."Good. This country is a shithole, and Baltimore is the worse. They deserve it."

What is wrong with you? Are you trying to be funny?

mikeski said...

$5 says the bridge never ends up getting rebuilt.

Mayor Scott of Baltimore looks super young. This will define his entire career.

Mayor Method Man, a little out of his element.

wildswan said...

There are other nearby ports, Newark and Norfolk, which will move to take Baltimore's port business before the Didn't Earn Its who are now Baltimore's political leadership do anything for the port of Baltimore. They're are all just grifters. That's why I think Baltimore is over.
The second season of The Wire is all about Baltimore's port woes and shows a leadership interested making money off real estate, not the port and its business. It's only worse by now. The whole future of the city went into the Patapsco river along with that bridge.

DLH said...

As a Maryland resident and fisherman who fishes under that bridge 20 plus times a year for striped bass I can honestly say I can’t believe it didn’t happen until now. The shipping channel is very narrow, only a few hundred yards tops and is 55 feet deep but surrounded by 20 foot depths on north and south sides. This will be devastating to my state and obviously the nation as a whole.

wildswan said...

This just shows how all the terrorists we've let into the country can choke off our economy and how all the incompetents we've elected will not be able to do anything but run about in circles, phoning each other, and applying to each other for grants which they will siphon into each other's pockets.

gilbar said...

dbp said...
replacement should be a tunnel, or a bridge such that the towers are located on land or in shallow water,

care to give us your estimate of the time scale for a tunnel or suspension bridge 1.6 miles long?
[the old bridge had its longest span 1,200 feet.. out of the 1.6 miles of bridge]

Gusty Winds said...

Blogger Howard said...
Well if it was intentional why did they do it at 1:00 in the morning when there was little traffic on the bridge and it caused the least amount of harm?

The point to blowing up bridges isn't to kill people. It's to cut supply lines. The harm here is massive Howard.

The effects on commerce and inflation are going to be huge. If it was intentional, the tragedy of people who were killed are collateral to the real intent. How do you get goods in and out of Baltimore, incoming or outgoing without the bridge??

COVID wasn't meant to destroy everything like a nuclear bomb. It was meant to bring the economy and everyone to their knees. Look at the effect COVID had on goods coming in and out of US ports. Ships sat floating in the ocean because they couldn't get loaded or unloaded.

Joe Smith said...

Was that the police chief? WTF is he doing in Baltimore? Why not the usual lesbian black woman?

Not substantial pylons. If that boat hit the Bay Bridge, the boat would sink.

Dems and lefties will scream 'Infrastructure!' 'Racism!'

And so it goes...

Gusty Winds said...

From what I'm reading, when a merchant ship leaves port it's pretty much "all hands on deck" and "man the battle stations".

Are the mechanical failures that occurred on this ship leaving port due to modern day incompetence?

We see diminishing quality with Boeing. We see it with train derailments (East Palatine, OH). We do have a competence problem in America.

The problem with coming out so quickly and saying, "we don't know what happened, but we know it wasn't intentional"...is exactly that. They don't know what happened.

Same bullshit with Autism. "We don't know what caused the Autism spike, but is sure the fuck wasn't the vaccines".

Mr. O. Possum said...

Footage on X of presumably the same ship, the Dali, crashing into an Antwerp dock.

https://x.com/BigFish3000/status/1772628130223542434?s=20

Mason G said...

"We see diminishing quality with Boeing. We see it with train derailments (East Palatine, OH). We do have a competence problem in America."

You can hire people based on competence or you can choose other measures. We have been opting for Door #2 for some time now.

Joe Smith said...

'$5 says the bridge never ends up getting rebuilt.'

Of course it will, especially in a democrat-run, minority-heavy city.

Massive opportunity for graft.

Pockets don't line themselves...

Narayanan said...

As big as these ships are these days, they have huge wind-sail area when loaded
=================
how do container-ships compare against cruise ships?

Darkisland said...

Howard, also not a lot of harbor traffic at 1am also less visibility in the dark hours

A nearby tug could have seen what was happening and pushed the ship off collision course, missing the bridge.

A near miss on a full bridge causes much less damage than a hit on an empty bridge that collapses it.

And the bad guys won't get a second chance as security would be stepped up.

Like after that other baseless conspiracy theory on 9/11

I now think it was probably an accident. I have a lot of questions as to how it happened. Pilot, tugs, bridge construction as I mentioned.

My first thought was 60/40attack/accident. Learning more I am at 10/90 attack/accixent

John Henry

Mr Wibble said...

What is wrong with you? Are you trying to be funny?

Nope, completely serious. I'm just disappointed that it didn't happen during rush hour.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

That ship had just left the Port of Baltimore with tugboats. How could the engines fail so soon after leaving port? Didn't the engine room gang check the engines before departure? The ship released the tugboats before it reached the bridge. If the tugboats had been still been guiding the ship, there would have been no bridge collision and collapse.

Rocco said...

Ship Lost Power Before Hitting Bridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZbUXewlQDk

MV Dali Hitting Key Bridge in Baltimore - Track and Video Analysis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=N39w6aQFKSQ

Darkisland said...

Hey john

Great to see another Petroski fan. I think I've read all his books. Learned a lot from them too.

They are suffiently detailed for the engineer but clearly written enough for the lay person.

I had the pleasure of corresponding with him years back. He told a story of a structural failure due to a worker sitting on a pipe, sprinkling salt on an egg and spilling some.

He called it apocryphal

I confirmed, from hard personal experience, that even minute amounts of chloride can do it. That his story might well not be apocryphal.

As a temporary fix, I allowed city water to be sprayed on 316L stainless steel tubing as a temporary fix until a new pump was delivered in the morning. The tubing failed from chloride stress corrosion in less than 12 hours.

Pictures on request. I have a section of the tube with crack on my desk for the past 40 years.

Darkisland said...

And Fred, also a big fan of McPhee and looking for a ship.

John Henry

Big Mike said...

Some details from a person who used to work in the southeast Baltimore area.

The ship was under the command of a certified harbor pilot at the time of the collision with the bridge. Unless the ship lost power or lost steering at just the wrong moment, it’s the pilot’s responsibility to get the ship safely out of the harbor. At least one report said that there were two pilots on the bridge, which suggests one was a trainee. Is this a training accident?

At the point where it collapsed the bridge is 185 feet above mean sea level. The drop may have been more or less than that depending on the tide. I’m amazed that there were two survivors and I don’t expect any others.

From a vehicular traffic perspective, there had been four ways to get from the south of Baltimore (towards Washington, DC) to the northeast (towards Philadelphia, Trenton, New York, and New England: (1) take I-695 (the Baltimore Beltway) west and north of the city; (2) take I-95 through the city, using a tunnel under the harbor; (3) take I-895, using a different tunnel under the harbor and going through industrial areas east of the city; or (4) take the Key Bridge southeast of the city and then take the eastern portion of the Baltimore Beltway around the city. The tunnels are a choke point and collect exorbitant tolls, but the bottom line is that people who had used the Key Bridge will still be able to get from one side of the harbor to the other.

Shipping is a totally different issue. The FBI has gotten involved so the collapsed bridge is a crime scene until they say otherwise. This will delay the reopening of the channel for some additional period of time beyond what is needed to clear enough debris so that ships can use thst channel again. Consequently ships docked in the harbor are stuck in the harbor until further notice, and ships scheduled to enter the harbor must be rerouted to a different East Coast port. The US Department of Transportation probably needs to get involved, but under its present leadership, no one should count on it.

Royal Caribbean cruise line runs cruises out of Baltimore Harbor: mostly weekly round trip cruises from Baltimore to Bermuda, which I assume aren’t running this time of year, supplemented by longer cruises from Baltimore to the Bahamas. It being early spring that ship is probably at sea. Royal Caribbean will have to make some accommodations.

My own best guess is that they’ll demolish what’s left of the bridge and replace it with a third tunnel. They surely know how to do it, having bored tunnels under that harbor twice already. However there may be something in the local geology that precludes another tunnel.

Aggie said...

"Looking for a Ship" is an excellent book, as are all of McPhee's.

I think they'll take on a heavy salvage company, mobilize a floating crane, and have the channel cleared quite quickly, once the recovery is complete and the investigation wraps up. The port won't be out of commission for too long, maybe a month. Traffic will be fun for quite a while, though.

I wonder if the Root Cause analysis will have the courage to go far enough. The obsession with emissions is what has driven the advent of these mega-ships. In the past, fuel costs drove design innovation, which in turn, drove the world economy. But now its the false god of Greenhouse Compliance. Emissions efficiency has driven ship owners to build mega ships, load them up with thousands of containers, and use a single, high-efficiency main engine to drive them, big 2-stroke, low rpm engines, big as a warehouse. That also means there's no backup when there's an outage at a critical moment; Single Point failures. Good news: They won't have to worry about their emissions today.

Ocean-going ships are chronically short-staffed too, and the quality of merchant seamen has been on the decline for a number of years. For a while, senior officers were mostly still Westerners, but that has been diminishing, too. A ship like this may only have a couple of dozen people on board, and ship management systems rely heavily on record-keeping. They're going to have the maritime transportation safety people crawling up their *ss for a few weeks, and the reports should be pretty interesting. @gcaptain.com will be a good source of info.

Joe Smith said...

The lights went out seconds before hitting the bridge.

The claim is that the ship lost power.

How did it then steer in the last seconds to hit the pylon?

Inquiring minds.

But don't worry, Mayor Pete will be all over this...

Original Mike said...

Blogger Mr Wibble said..."Nope, completely serious. I'm just disappointed that it didn't happen during rush hour."

Wow. I've been wondering who to take seriously in your running argument with tim in vermont. Thanks for so clearly answering that question.

BillieBob Thorton said...

When the bridges in Florida were washed out from the hurricane all the experts said it would take months to get them reopened, DeSantis got it done in weeks. Given the leadership in Maryland it will be years and years before that bridge is rebuilt, if it gets rebuilt at all.

Rusty said...

You can see on the video I saw that the power went out twice on the ship before it hit the bridge. I think they were trying to gain control. The bridge is obviously very old. That it hadn't been improved over the years is damning.

BillieBob Thorton said...

As far as replacing the bridge with a tunnel it would take years to design and years just to build the TBM. (tunnel boring machine)

DLH said...

Anyone that thinks a tugboat could have intervened at the time of the first power outage has no idea what they are talking about. The tugs are used to get the vessel safely to the channel. Once at speed they are helpless against that gross tonnage.

Joe Smith said...

Was there a harbor pilot?

If not, why not?

Howard said...

John McPhee is every geologists favorite non fiction writer. I've read Basin and Range, Suspect Terrain and Coming into Country.

Gusty Winds said...

Was this one of the racist bridges Mayor Pete was lecturing us about??

Joe Smith said...

'That it hadn't been improved over the years is damning.'

That money was much better spent on DEI officers for the city.

Safe bridges are a symbol of white supremacy.

JK Brown said...

As it turns out, Key Bridge was a key bridge. The Port of Baltimore is going to be closed for a couple weeks at least.

Ship was in the channel, lost power, notified the port of being dead and at risk of hitting the bridge. Only question is if it was currents or efforts to stop once partial power restored that cause the ship to leave the channel.

A big question is why the bridge towers didn't have protection, at least similar to the transmission lines just north of the bridge.

JK Brown said...

"Once at speed they are helpless against that gross tonnage."

Yeah, saw a container ship coming in hot to the container pier on Sand Island, Honolulu. They had their anchor underfoot and dragging the tugs. It got stopped, but it was close to the bridge connecting the island to Oahu and all the containers came in on Sand Island.

Joe Smith said...

Not my joke:

The bridge had information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of Hillary Clinton...

Hassayamper said...

@Howard: The denial didn't put the idea of intentionality in your head. The conspiracy ideation that you regularly engage with your commentators about has softened your brain to the point of it's becoming a conspiracy generating organ.

No, Howard. Often and shamelessly, we have been lied to by government functionaries, leftist politicians, and the news media establishment, in order to coddle interest groups and manipulate beliefs that the Democrats depend upon to be elected. At this point, until proven otherwise, it's safe to assume that anything they tell us is a deliberate falsehood crafted for the political advantage of the Democratic Party. It's not conspiracy theorizing if it turns out to be true. Which it does, time and time again, because Democrats and our hired help in our own government are filthy, untrustworthy liars and manipulators.

Hassayamper said...

John McPhee is every geologists favorite non fiction writer. I've read Basin and Range, Suspect Terrain and Coming into Country.

McPhee's La Place de la Concorde Suisse is also worth a read. There is some geology and geography, but it's mostly a study on how Switzerland stays at permanent peace, with a citizen militia that defends the homeland so effectively that not even Hitler dared to invade. Our warmongering politician scum, Democrat and Republican alike, could learn a lot from it.

Jim Gust said...

Just FYI 95 does not pass through Hartford. You were thinking of I84.

Mark said...

Best story I've seen explaining what happened.

https://gcaptain.com/ship-lost-control-before-hitting-baltimore-bridge

Mark said...

When the power went out the ship lost maneuverability and there were powerful winds at the time. Apparently the rear rudder isn't enough to maintain its course at harbor speeds; they need the powered bow thrusters (which weren't working because of the power loss). Without propulsion and steering, the wind blew the ship off its course and into the bridge support.

Achilles said...

Rocco said...

Sal Mercogliano is a maritime expert at the US Naval Institute. He runs a YouTube channel called “What is Going on With Shipping?” I expect he’ll have some good information about the tragedy soon, if he hasn’t started already.

Indeed he does.

Josephbleau said...

Perhaps Maryland will be in play for Trump now. A major disaster is never good for the incumbent, no matter what a blue shithole Maryland is. The GOP senate candidate seems to be off to a good start. Maryland is very much part of the DC nexus but this wreck is the disaster of the century for them, they will irrationally place blame.

Rusty said...

Joe Smith said...
"Was there a harbor pilot?

If not, why not?"

He was onboard according to the accounts I read. The ship kept losing power. There might not have been anything he could have done.

Jim at said...

"At about 1:30, a container ship struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which I’ve been over many, many times commuting from the state of Delaware either on a train or by car..." - Biden

There are no tracks on the bridge so he couldn't have taken a train.

Why does this lying imbecile constantly inject himself into every situation?

Joe Smith said...

'He was onboard according to the accounts I read. The ship kept losing power. There might not have been anything he could have done.'

I read otherwise but who knows for sure.

Weird that the boat swerved at the end...maybe went that way from the reverse thrust of the propeller?

Joe Smith said...

Biden says the federal government will pay for a new bridge just like that, but not a dime for a border fence.

Is the bridge federal property?

Either way, fuck you East Palestine, Ohio.

PM said...

Thanks, Achilles. Devastating event.

Joe Smith said...

Has anyone heard the climate change angle, or why the bridge collapsed because of white supremacy?

I can't wait to see how the mid-wit dems try to spin this one...

Prof. M. Drout said...

Jim Gust: You are right, my bad. I drive 84 through CT about 5x as much as I take 95 and every single time I go under that building I think about what a truck-bomb could do, but that doesn't sever N/S highway connectivity unless the Q Bridge at New Haven was also taken out. 84 is also essential if anything happens to the lower Hudson River bridges, because it allows you to re-route traffic up to Bear Mountain or Newburgh.

I brought this up because I once met a civil engineer was part of a task force to figure out how to create redundancy in the interstate highway system so that if there were attacks or sabotage on major bridges, essential traffic--particularly military traffic--could be routed around the damage. Fascinating guy. It turns out that, thanks to the way the highway system was planned back in the '50s, there are alternate routes along most of the length of 95, although geography is geography, so the Hudson and Delaware River bridges are always going to be vulnerabilities.

The reason he was telling me this was that I had asked why the northward extension of 95 (that would have cut through inside the 128 belt) was abandoned. His answer: "Money talks everywhere, but in Massachusetts, it screams." Powerful people didn't want 95 cutting through parts of Newton and Lexington 'just so tourists going to Maine don't have to sit in a little traffic on 128.'" Ah, those deep thinking statesmen of Beacon Hill. (Because I highway is pretty narrow and you could have routed it along existing train tracks for the most part).

John henry said...

I agree that a tug could not stop a ship at that speed (perhaps 10kts or so?) I do think if the tug could get on the bow it could nudge the container ship off collision course.

I don't understand why engine AND electrical power went out. Normally power is provided by an independent generator.

I don't understand why the alternate generator, if there is one and the emergency generator we're not running at idle speed anytime the ship was leaving Harbour. I thought that was standard maritime practice.

John Henry

Megaera3 said...

McPhee has been one of my favorite writers since I first ran across "Basin and Range" and his book on bark canoes. One best-loved comment from a selection of shorter essays was the recommendation that if there is someone you truly dislike, give him a bear cub.

Based on the shipping website commended in several places above (and comments there as well) the tugs had cast off well before the disaster, nothing unusual. The Dali was chartered by Maersk, flagged out of Singapore -- doubtful that the Master was American, but I have seen nothing anywhere identifying him, or indeed, any crew member(s). Not even a casualty list, though there must have been some injuries from the impact, not to mention anyone on the bow when the bridge came down on it. Suspect? Don't know, but container ships run with skeleton crews under any circumstances. The required harbor pilot was indeed on board, but per entirely normal practice the vessel was under its Master's control, the pilot having complied with all his obligations. Nothing he could have done in any case.

All sorts of dark speculations about the Dali deliberately ramming the bridge support, but once the power cut out, at that location, disaster was going to happen. The question will be what caused the engine failure and whether there were supposedly required redundant backups in operation. And, of course, if not, why not?

The bridge was the only HazMat (radioactives such as for hospitals, fuels, flammables, corrosives of any and all descriptions) routing available for a considerable distance in any direction of the Baltimore area, means the feds will have to grant a variance from all the forest of transport regulations for any movement of such materials into, out of or through the area. Any vessels currently in the harbor are there until the Dali's cargo can be removed and the ship (which may well be taking on water and fixing to sink in the channel (icing on the disaster cake so to speak), and then a portion of the channel cleared of the bridge itself. Mammoth undertaking...anybody here actually believe Mayor Pete can deal with any aspect of it?

Gospace said...

I have a relatively large circle of friends and acquaintances who are retired or active duty or former military. Anyone who has expressed an opinion, including me, doesn't think this was just another unfortunate accident.

As for the timing, mentioned by Howard above, ports operate 24/7/365. In the old days, as when my uncle, grandfather and his brothers were merchants loading and unloading happened during daylight hours, and took days. And ships arrived and departed during daylight hours. Container ships pull in and are unloaded and loaded within hours. And they depart when loaded- another ship is waiting for the berth. And- they're diesel powered, not steam. No need to spend time building up a head of steam to run the engines and generators. Flip a few switches, and you're good to go. A little more complicated then that, but not by much,

The main engine doesn't generate electricity. The electric generators are wholly separate from propulsion. In a shipping channel, two gensets should be on, in parallel, either one able to take the whole load. Or- one should be feeding priority loads- like engine controls, steering motors, and emergency lighting, the other hotel services, all non-essential loads.

If the Dali was suborned to take out a bridge, it would have to do it when the opportunity arose, not at a time of the master's choosing. Warning calls? Hey- you want the investigators to know how you were trying to avoid doing what you were trying to do... and let them know in advance "OMG, we're headed towards the bridge!" I mean, would a real terrorist give any warning? And if you're familiar with how fast agencies react- the warning made it through to the right people to stop traffic on the bridge before the collision happened? With only moments from the power loss to the collision?

If the powers that be really wanted, the shipping channel could be cleared by tomorrow. Wouldn't be cheap- but it could be done. Basically nothing more then cutting up bridge sections and pulling debris aside. Don't know how many floating cranes are in the immediate neighborhood- but enough money could move them to the former bridge.

As for the replacement- the environmental impact study alone will mean it's more then a decade away. Unless the government decides it wants one quickly. Remember, though, you get any two of the following three- Fast. Cheap. Good.

Bunkypotatohead said...

That bridge was built about 50 years ago. It doesn't serve the city. It connects eastern and western Baltimore County, completing the 695 beltway that surrounds the city. Basically, it gave a way to get from either side to the other, without having to go through the city. It also gave a secondary path for interstate traffic on I95.
The state paid for it, and apparently the feds are going to pay to replace it. But the Baltimore mayor will have little to do with any of it, except for whatever graft he can manage.

Narayanan said...

The point to blowing up bridges isn't to kill people. It's to cut supply lines
===========
do any behemoth container ships transit the Bosporus and Black Sea to Crimea where NATO want to destroy bridge?

Narayanan said...

Safe bridges are a symbol of white supremacy.
============
They surely need Math and science.

Narayanan said...

I hear CA offering MD their expertise on bullet train so FJB can open new bridge for his triumphal whistle-stop tour from DC to DE via Baltimore after his second term

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Awfully aligned to the site of the Alum Chine explosion. Somewhat close to the site of the Tivoli (Fells Point) dock collapse. Excluding pandemics and heat waves (at least that of 1901), those may be the deadliest ever disasters in Maryland except for Flight 214.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Nope, I failed to notice that the 1865 ramming of the Black Diamond by the sidewheel paddle steamer Massachusetts was deadlier than the Alum Chine and Tivoli Pier disasters. And it happened at pretty much the exact time Booth crossed the Potomac upstream, the ramming being off Blackistone Island where the first Europeans to settle in Maryland first set foot in Maryland, the original Maryland Day. The Francis Scott Key Bridge disaster was almost on Maryland Day.

dbp said...

gilbar said...

care to give us your estimate of the time scale for a tunnel or suspension bridge 1.6 miles long?
[the old bridge had its longest span 1,200 feet.. out of the 1.6 miles of bridge]

The entire bridge wouldn't have to be one span, since much of the current bridge is over shallow water. The middle two towers appear to be the only ones in deep water. A single span of 2,400 feet would place the two new towers in shallow water.

Former Illinois resident said...

Today there's discussion re: "dirty fuel", which would wreck ship's engines and curtail its electrical power. Accident will have been caused by DEI policies implemented at harbor operation, but won't be explicitly disclosed as "employee error" on part of Baltimore Harbor workers.

Mutaman said...


Blogger Joe Smith said...


"That money was much better spent on DEI officers for the city.

Safe bridges are a symbol of white supremacy."

Polly want a cracker?