March 29, 2024

"But state officials worried about terrorism had focused on bombs and bad guys in small boats, not an errant 95,000-gross-ton container ship...."

"And after [the Interstate 35 bridge collapse in 2007], the focus wasn’t on building the kind of massive and costly barriers that might have had even a chance of stopping a ship like the Singapore-flagged Dali from sending the Key Bridge crumpling into the Patapsco River, said the former senior transportation official. 'It never occurred to anybody,' he said.... At the time of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge accident, the Baltimore Sun reported that a top state engineer said the Key Bridge couldn’t withstand a similar collision. 'I’m talking about the main supports, a direct hit — it would knock it down,' the official said."

From "Officials studied Baltimore bridge risks but didn’t prepare for ship strike" (WaPo).

They knew the problem. "It never occurred to anybody"... please. The necessary precaution, the bridge having the limitations they knew it had, was to ban ships that size from passing there. That's how I see it, as a layperson. Prove me wrong.

130 comments:

RideSpaceMountain said...

The Francis Scott Key bridge now identifies as a tunnel. Would you friggin' boomers get with the program? It's 2024. Leave the Francis Scott Key tunnel alone!

Enigma said...

This guy very clearly shows that they SHOULD have known. They had one job... This type of collision has happened before with this type of bridge and the replacement bridge (see link) was designed very well. It has many concrete "dolphins" to protect the towers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPoM_9IWLLU

Of course, don't look at the many similar disasters that plagued the nearby D.C. subway/metro for a very long time. The unions kept the payrolls stuffed with many, many unneeded "managers" while the tracks and trains fell apart.

One of many stories from that era:

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-the-washington-dc-metro-system-complete-disaster-20346

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I read, somewhere, that originally they weren't going to build that bridge because of the heavy shipping in and out of the harbor. Building a bridge there was simply a very bad idea. So originally they were going to build a tunnel, but decided on a bridge because it was much, much cheaper.

Rit said...

At least 100 people a day are killed in automobile accidents in the US. The necessary precaution, automobiles and drivers having the limitations they have, is to ban the use of automobiles. That's how I see it, as a layperson. Prove me wrong.

Kevin said...

"But I never thought it would happen to me..."

We have become governed by Navin Johnsons.

gilbar said...

'It never occurred to anybody,' he said....
AND, THE NEXT SENTENCE READS...
At the time of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge accident, the Baltimore Sun reported that a top state engineer said the Key Bridge couldn’t withstand a similar collision.

sounds like; it DID occur to someone

rrsafety said...

The answer is simple. You use "Dolphins" to protect the bridge supports. It is low tech and highly effective. To say "we didn't know" is a lie because many bridges have them.

Carla Zaz said...

"It never occurred to anybody"

Well, it occurred to the designers and builders of other bridges that have extended barriers protecting their bridge supports, both at sea and on roadways.

Like 9/11, it never occurred to anybody that someone would use passenger airliners for terrorist attacks on buildings. Except it occurred to Tom Clancy in his book, Debt of Honor.

Carla Zaz said...

There is an entire profession dedicated to considering "what if?"

It's called engineering. The possibility of a vessel losing control and colliding with other things (which has happened many times) is something that is supposed to occur to the engineers who are supposed to think of every possible scenario and account for it.

Joe Smith said...

You're not wrong.

And most 'officials' are idiots, especially ones of the government bent...

Jupiter said...

"That's how I see it, as a layperson. Prove me wrong."

Well, right. That's why we don't allow airplanes to fly over our cities.

Mr. Majestyk said...

How small would a cargo ship have to be such that a strike by it similar to the Dali's would not cause a collapse? I am not an engineer and don't know. Unless you can answer that question, you can't really say that banning ships the size of the Dali was necessary. It may be that a strike from ANY cargo ship of a practical size would have caused the bridge to collapse. Maybe having tugs accompany ships past the bridge would have been a better precaution. But again, I'm not an expert. Maybe we just have to live with the fact that we can't eliminate all risk in life. And if that leaves you scared, just remember all the thousands, maybe 10s or 100s of thousands, of such bridge passings that have occurred without incident.

Original Mike said...

"The necessary precaution, the bridge having the limitations they knew it had, was to ban ships that size from passing there."

Pretty sure the economics of such an action would have doomed Baltimore as a shipping hub. Maybe that's OK, maybe the country doesn't need it, but it does have to be acknowledged.

Old and slow said...

They didn't even need to ban those large ships, just use tugboats to move them past the bridge to a safer position before releasing them. A small cost the size of a large cost.

BillieBob Thorton said...

Banning post panamax container ships from Baltimore would be the death of shipping commerce to that region. Or they could have acknowledged the problem and taken steps to protect the bridge. A first step would have been requiring tugs to escort ships past the bridge while they came up with a plan to install protection.
I think what this disaster and others like it show is how elected officials and bureaucrats have failed to protect and improve essential infrastructure. Instead they are all in on removing racist roads and building EV charging stations for vehicles that one one wants.

Howard said...

So it wasn't terrorism like all you paranoid people thought?

Now you're switching into 20/20 hindsight mode.

From idiocy to childishness. Give me a break, lol.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Maybe require the use of tugboats to get under the bridge. The Dali had dropped its tugboas shortly before the crash, as it was allowed to do.

Achilles said...

They knew the problem. "It never occurred to anybody"... please. The necessary precaution, the bridge having the limitations they knew it had, was to ban ships that size from passing there. That's how I see it, as a layperson. Prove me wrong.


We just need to admit that "shit happens."

There is this demand that everything is made 100% safe. This is corrosive.

If the automobile was invented in modern times it would be deemed unsafe and not allowed to be implemented.

The problem is Karen. Karen is in charge of our country right now. Karen bitches and nags and gets absolutely self righteous and absurd anytime some accident happens. But Karen never solves any problems herself. Karen just sips her wine and sits on the couch and bitches. When Karen gets truly motivated she gets a job in HR and bitches at engineers all day.

Achilles said...

Old and slow said...

They didn't even need to ban those large ships, just use tugboats to move them past the bridge to a safer position before releasing them. A small cost the size of a large cost.

What if the tugboats malfunctioned?

Ann Althouse said...

"Pretty sure the economics of such an action would have doomed Baltimore as a shipping hub. Maybe that's OK, maybe the country doesn't need it, but it does have to be acknowledged."

That's exactly my point. If Baltimore isn't an adequate port, it isn't. It shouldn't pretend to be. You can't make things economically feasible by cutting costs until you get there. They could have built a tunnel, and if that was too expensive, avoided any bridge at all. Everything's rerouted now, so it could have been routed that way before. Not every harbor must be spanned. But if you need to span it with a bridge for the cars and trucks, then maybe you can't have your extra big ships. You've got to choose. Not build a collapsible bridge and cross your fingers.

gadfly said...

Major seaports used to use tugs to control ship traffic into and out of port. Then came supertankers and large barge ships like the Dali that tugs couldn't control - and as it turns out, these Godzilla ships have no emergency steering.

Airports cannot control takeoffs and landings without electronic controls and ships are far scarier than tiny Piper Cubs that have automatic surveillance broadcasting equipment.

Even with sophisticated air traffic control systems, airport locations are now joined to cities which brings about more heavy traffic areas, so perhaps building super-ship ports far from bridges and people with buildups prohibited would be an obvious plan destined to fail. I shudder just thinking about the very long bridges that cross Chesapeake Bay which is almost 200 miles long and subjected to heavy tides.

Dagwood said...

The necessary precaution, the bridge having the limitations they knew it had, was to ban ships that size from passing there.

But that would be racist, according to little petey.

JAORE said...

Sigh... (retired) Civil engineer here.

Yes, you can protect the piers. Perhaps the impact loads have increased over the years due to today's massive container ships.

But tell a group of competent engineers to design and build the new level of protection, then fund it.... you'll have a safe system.

But NEW bridges, or widening existing bridges get much more credit to the politicians. So, relatively low probability, safety issues get ignored.

And that's before today's insane focus on fixing "racist" bridges.

Original Mike said...

I've read that the harbor used to require tugs accompany ships past the bridge, but that regulation was done away with. Either for economics or because, as I've also read, tugs aren't sufficient to stop what just happened.

narciso said...

yet trillions of dollars have been spent on infrastructure, yet it never gets to where it is supposed to,

Original Mike said...

It would be interesting to know how many other harbors have similar infrastructure risks.

who-knew said...

Howard said "So it wasn't terrorism like all you paranoid people thought?" While I don't think I'm paranoid, I also don't think we know for sure it wasn't terrorism. I know the authorities told us it wasn't before they actually knew shit about what happened. What I've seen so far about the crash points to it being a pure accident. Unfortunately the fallout from the corruption of our government and it's so-called intelligence agencies leaves plenty of room for doubt about anything they deign to tell us.

Old and slow said...

Blogger Achilles said...

What if the tugboats malfunctioned?

Tugboats, plural. Also ship's engines would be idling. It adds so much redundancy that it changes the odds of catastrophe massively.

Christopher B said...

gadfly said...
Major seaports used to use tugs to control ship traffic into and out of port. Then came supertankers and large barge ships like the Dali that tugs couldn't control - and as it turns out, these Godzilla ships have no emergency steering.


Bullshit on stilts. Why you think anybody believes the drivel, invective, and outright fantasies you post on any topic is really beyond my comprehension.

I've posted this link several times which clearly shows tugs maneuvering MV Dali in the Baltimore Harbor Basin.

Original Mike said...

"You've got to choose."

While I don't disagree, I wonder; who's going to make them? Our government simply doesn't do deliberative things.

Josephbleau said...

In my opinion, guiding the traffic with tugs, as has been mentioned above, would have been a successful countermeasure, it is subject to possible failure, but not single point failure, only three point failure, with two tugs. If tugs were required the bridge would still be there. So to save a cost of 2 million per year in tug fees paid by the carriers they will spent 400 million over 10 years for a new bridge. And building a sufficient rock or concrete filled crib around each of the two towers would have eliminated the issue for 30 million or so.

In conclusion Baltimore deserves this for being dysfunctional and not wanting to spend money on something important like a bridge, instead of on some graft. As was said in a council meeting in East St. Louis, if you are going to have a library, why waste the money by buying books?

Achilles said...

God the whining and moaning.

The problem is all of the "Infrastructure" spending in our country now is diverted from engineers and construction workers who actually build things to a bunch of whiny Eco freaks and grievance studies majors.

Incidentally by empowering whiners we get more...

whiners.

gilbar said...

people!
WE ALL NEED, to count our blessings, and look at the Good Side of this disaster.
Don't you REALIZE? resident Biden used to drive a train over that bridge.. EVERY DAY on his way home?
If it weren't for Air Force One, being able to fly resident Biden to Del. for his weekly 2 week vacations;
we Might Well have lost him! And the train he was driving!! And all his passengers!!!

let us Thank GOD, for the United States Air Force!!!
Aim High! Air Force !!

narciso said...

this boat should not have been allowed in, but as long as you thread and go through the right exit, bob's your uncle, of course, Maersk and Synergy has lost any interest in basic precautions,

Joe Bar said...

I yield to Sal over at "What's Going on With Shipping" For information on this topic.

According to him, that is not a large vessel. It is medium sized.

Previous bridge collisions revealed the need for protection, in the form of dolphins, as stated above. This need was not addressed. Incompetence at all levels.

Tugs were never required for the bridge passage. That is normal procedure for that area.

The port facilities were there long before the bridge. The original plan was to build a tunnel. A bridge was built for two reasons. 1. It is much cheaper. 2. Hazardous cargos cannot use a tunnel, in most cases.

Baltimore is the busiest East Coast port for vehicle transport.

Narr said...

Biden is trying to cover the whole thing up with a blanket of Federal money. A good way of relegating all the discovery in the mother of all lawsuits to the background.

It's a refinement of the Conclusion First, Investigation Later style of American governance dating back to Nov 1963 if not earlier.



BarrySanders20 said...

Other harbors on the east coast have figured out that a few metric buttloads of rocks does the trick

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...

That's exactly my point. If Baltimore isn't an adequate port, it isn't. It shouldn't pretend to be. You can't make things economically feasible by cutting costs until you get there. They could have built a tunnel, and if that was too expensive, avoided any bridge at all. Everything's rerouted now, so it could have been routed that way before. Not every harbor must be spanned. But if you need to span it with a bridge for the cars and trucks, then maybe you can't have your extra big ships. You've got to choose. Not build a collapsible bridge and cross your fingers.

All bridges are collapsible. If we required every bridge to be able to take a broadside collision from a huge ship we would have no bridges.

There are not that many places in the world where you can move 100,000 tons of cargo from water to land efficiently. Baltimore happens to have one.

People don't want to drive an hour around 3 sides of a square because you are worried about an accident like this.

We should just choose to accept that shit happens. I realize that people see accidents as an opportunity to attack people who make their life work though. That is what HR is all about.

Achilles said...

narciso said...

yet trillions of dollars have been spent on infrastructure, yet it never gets to where it is supposed to,

Exactly.

Obama famously admitted that women don't like jobs that are "shovel ready."

So all of that infrastructure spending goes to Karen now to write environmental impact statements and make sure that construction companies are inclusive.

Whining = infrastructure.

Rich said...

Bigger ships are inherently less maneuverable in confined spaces and generally draw more water as well (as was the case with Dali).

A Panamax vessel could have also brought down the bridge but, all else being equal, it would be somewhat less likely to get into this kind of trouble.

A ship this big in a port that tight probably should have had several tugs hard abreast until it was well into more open water — but you shouldn't cut it that close with the vessel's draw vs. the channel depth in any case.

Leland said...

Yeah, that's bullshit they nobody considered the risk of a vessel collision of the bridge. If they said they hadn't reassessed based on the larger neo-panamax vessel, I might believe them, except why did they not reassess? Did nobody in the Maryland Port Administration perform a risk assessment when they permitted these newer ships to dock in Baltimore?

8 years ago, Miami welcomed their first Neo-Panamax vessel. Here is a story on it:
"Miami has spent $1.3 billion in port improvements to accommodate bigger ships including dredging its its shipping channel to a depth of 52 feet, construction of a port access tunnel directly linking the port to the interstate highway system and construction of a rail bridge and on-port track that connects PortMiami to the Florida East Coast rail yard."

Apparently, MPA only spent money on new cranes.

Enigma said...

@Howard: "So it wasn't terrorism like all you paranoid people thought?"


Not me. See all of my old comments about the bridge. Baltimore's Korrupt Krazy Keystone Kops were on the beat.

Lem the artificially intelligent said...

They had to consider how high to make it. That meant they had to consider what kind of ships were going to pass. If they didn’t consider it, they were negligent. Or they did consider it, designed for it, budget it and then removed it, declaring an unnecessary over-design, cost saving measure.

Scroll down: check out the protection of the GWB in NYC which unlike the bridge in Baltimore, the columns holding up the bridge are not as exposed to the shipping channel.

If someone can dig up the archived original design drawings, the hardened protection is very likely on those drawings.

tim in vermont said...

I saw a picture of an old newspaper article where shipping experts, on hearing of the decision to build a bridge, rather than a tunnel, in order to save money, started a pool to pick the day when this would happen.

Michael said...

I too was surprised the bridge had no protection surrounding the piers. Especially in a busy port such as Baltimore.

Rabel said...

"Could of, would of, should of."

- Jim Mora, head coach of the New Orleans Saints in 1987.

Michael said...

narciso said...
yet trillions of dollars have been spent on infrastructure, yet it never gets to where it is supposed to,


Oh, the $$$ gets to where it's supposed to go. Don't kid yourself.

Carla Zaz said...

(1) Baltimore already has a tunnel, two in fact, the harbor tunnel and the Fort McHenry Tunnel. A bridge is necessary because of the freight that is carried down the interstate. For security reasons, trucks carrying dangerous materials are not allowed to use the tunnels.

So until the new bridge is built, trucks will need to go the long way around Baltimore, clogging already overburdened highways. Or companies will instead opt for rail to move shipments up and down the east coast.

(2) Yes, D.C.'s Metro system has had many safety mishaps. So Metro's general manager shut-down sections at a time to do safety upgrades. And the fires and derailings and near collisions kept happening. After the general manager decided to retire early because of safety certification lapses, Maryland decided to hire that same manager, Paul Wiedefeld, as the state Secretary of Transportation.

tim in vermont said...

One other thing that is known is that these big ships run on very thick oil, and they don’t really run reliably until they have thoroughly warmed up, so the loss of power that this ship experienced, which caused the accident, was also a foreseeable event.

Leland said...

Blogger gadfly said...
Major seaports used to use tugs to control ship traffic into and out of port. Then came supertankers and large barge ships like the Dali that tugs couldn't control - and as it turns out, these Godzilla ships have no emergency steering.


Gadfly spreading disinformation. M/V Dali had two tugs that unberthed the vessel from the quayside, escorted the vessels through a near 180 degree turn at the end of Baltimore Harbor, steered her into the channel to go under the bridge, and then left as the vessel accelerated to leave the harbor.

More misinformation:
Airports cannot control takeoffs and landings without electronic controls and ships are far scarier than tiny Piper Cubs that have automatic surveillance broadcasting equipment.
All vessels of the M/V Dali size have Automated Identification Systems ("AIS) : "AIS is intended, primarily, to allow ships to view marine traffic in their area and to be seen by that traffic." M/V Dali's AIS was still functioning when the rest of the system lost power.

Still more:
Even with sophisticated air traffic control systems
Major US ports have vessel control systems. Not only do they track marine vessels in and out of the Port of Baltimore; they track each and every cargo container in and out of the port. Who the hell do you think took the distress call from M/V Dali? They even had law enforcement stop traffic over the bridge! It wasn't that nobody knew where M/V Dali was. The vessel lost power. The sophisticated Air Traffic Control system in the US cannot stop a plane crash if the plane losses power.

John said...

Old and slow said...
They didn't even need to ban those large ships, just use tugboats to move them past the bridge to a safer position before releasing them. A small cost the size of a large cost.

This is the correct answer. No amount of engineering can stop destruction when a 95,000 ton ship runs into a bridge.

MattJ said...

The harbor was there and in use for years before someone decided to put a road there. If they couldn't afford to build a safe road (i.e. better bridge or a tunnel), they shouldn't put the road there.

Yancey Ward said...

"So it wasn't terrorism like all you paranoid people thought?"

Who exactly, Howard?

ColoComment said...

If I'm remembering correctly from my risk management days, you have two basic factors for utilizing your scarce resources ("scarce" in the economics sense) when addressing risk mitigation.

To determine the highest & best use of your [scarce] resources, you can devise a matrix in which you insert your weighted estimates/assumptions of (a) the likelihodd of a particular failure event, on one axis, and (b) the the seriousness of said failure, on the other axis.

...and then you take your results and estimate the cost of each relative to its likelihood of failure, to see which/how many of those mitigation efforts you can afford with the money you have to spend.

Only Biden (or whoever) believes that we have an unlimited amount of money to correct or mitigate all risks to 100% safe.

Larry J said...

"The necessary precaution, the bridge having the limitations they knew it had, was to ban ships that size from passing there. That's how I see it, as a layperson. Prove me wrong."

The bridge was in place for about 50 years. In that time, who knows how many times large ships have crossed under that bridge, but it's likely in the thousands, maybe tens of thousands. All it took was one ship losing control at the worst possible time to cause this disaster. The probability of this happening was low, but the consequences of it happening were very high. That's the essence of risk assessment.

What could they have done to prevent this accident? The first thing would've been to build protections such as the dolphins used at other bridges for this exact purpose. Failing that, they could've required very large ships be escorted by tugs until clear of the bridge. I've gone on a lot of cruises, and some ports require exactly that just in case (and to make more money for the tug companies).

Breezy said...

Changes are incremental. Straw and camel’s back and all that. Catastrophes are bound to happen regardless of preparation.

Now of course a risk review of all port entryways need to done. This is incremental improvement, post mortem applied learnings.

Also:
“I shudder just thinking about the very long bridges that cross Chesapeake Bay which is almost 200 miles long and subjected to heavy tides.”

If you’re referring to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, it’s 17 miles long, not 200. It’s mostly bridge, but dives under water twice, a mile long each time, for the ships that need to pass by. When winds are high, vehicle traffic is shut down. It is definitely vulnerable to a Dali like strike, as is any bridge crossing a port entryway.



Fred Drinkwater said...

My evergreen explanation for many disasters is "Maintenance isn't sexy."

A corollary is, "Safety engineering isn't sexy."

Jersey Fled said...

Strangely, the Delaware River Port Authority, which operates bridges along the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and NewJersey, has “dolphins” of the type that would have prevented a similar tragedy at all four of the bridges that it operates. The Commodore Barry bridge is roughly 80 miles north of the Francis Scott Key, of the same basic design and span, and was built roughly at the same time. It has “Dolphins”

No excuses for the State of Maryland or the city of Baltimore.

pacwest said...

Not build a collapsible bridge and cross your fingers.

The world is full of risk/reward calculations that affect our safety on a daily basis. So it was and so it will ever be. There will always be eggs being broken to cook the omelet of civilization. Less risk, less reward. No risk (not that that can ever be achieved), no reward. There's always an economic calculation involved. When you make choices sometimes things go wrong. You're only 100% safe when you're dead.

Shorter version - shit happens. Airplanes, trains and automobiles. Add boats to the list.

Robert Cook said...

"The unions kept the payrolls stuffed with many, many unneeded 'managers' while the tracks and trains fell apart."

How (and why?) did "the unions keep the payrolls stuffed with many, many unneeded managers"...? As I understand it, from general knowledge and personal experience as a once-upon-a-time union employee, management and union members are adversaries at bottom...cooperative when the contracts are agreed to by both parties and in effect, antagonistic otherwise.

loudogblog said...

They would never ban large cargo ships from using the ports because the ports generate a tremendous amount of money and the bride didn't.

By using the argument that every risk, no matter how small, must be totally eliminated, we'd also have to ban all large aircraft to prevent another 9/11.

And speaking of 9/11, if they did ban large ships from a harbor, what would stop some terrorists from hijacking a large ship and ramming a bridge support anyway?

The best course of action would be to either erect barriers that can prevent large ships from taking out a support or design the bridge so that it won't collapse if one of the supports is taken out.


Robert Cook said...

P.S. Unless otherwise demonstrated, system failures are typically the fault of management, who, uh, set the policies by which the system operates.

Humperdink said...

Howard blathered"So it wasn't terrorism like all you paranoid people thought?"

Who do you mean when you say "all you", oh precious one? List some names please.

Hey Skipper said...

@Ann: What if the tugboats malfunctioned?

Two things:

First, ships that size use at least two tugs.

Second: because the ship doesn't need steerageway (sufficient speed for the rudder to be effective), then the tug/ship combo can move much more slowly — even at a crawl — and still maintain directional control.

Which seems to make the conclusion obvious: seeing the threat, why didn't they mandate tugs from the outset?

But that misses an unavoidable issue. Assume some roughly approximation of the number of ship movements per year that require passing under a bridge. Low guess: a million.

Historically, how many of those movements involved a loss of steering control while the ship was moving in the direction of the bridge? In a year, probably none. Maybe, on average, a five year period elapses before one such instance.

So, 100% chance of one instance in five years, or five million movements. How long would it take before the harbor bridge would stand a 10% chance of a loss of control incident, given the annual number of ship movements?

At a movement rate of 10 large ships/day, that works out to ... about 137 years.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

It’s being reported from the wife of one of the two survivors that all the workers on the bridge were on break in their cars. That raises the question as to what extent the cause of death was the difficulty of getting out of the cars once they went into the water.

Brian said...

Baltimore isn't an adequate port, it isn't. It shouldn't pretend to be. You can't make things economically feasible by cutting costs until you get there.

That’s an awfully easy thing to say from Wisconsin with (I assume) a state pension. It’s quite another if your livelihood depends on the port. How many would die from poverty if you just closed the port?

There are no perfect answers. That only exists in academia and leftist fantasyland.

Achilles said...

Howard said...

So it wasn't terrorism like all you paranoid people thought?

Now you're switching into 20/20 hindsight mode.

From idiocy to childishness. Give me a break, lol.


Most didn't think it was terrorism.

But you were never that good at getting past your own straw men. They keep your tiny little world safe from the scary things outside.

We are pointing out that this happened because the trillions we spend on "infrastructure" is now just a jobs program for bullshit environmentalism and inclusivity Karens thanks to Obama and the "progressive" movement.

Leland said...

This isn't a chicken and egg question. The port of Baltimore came first and Baltimore the city grew around it. Just like New York, Philadelphia, and DC grew around their marine access, as well San Francisco, Seattle, Tokyo, London, Rotterdam, Sydney, etc... Baltimore wouldn't be what it is without the port. The port was there, because it was far inland on a navigable water way with natural shelter. The city grew by taking advantage of this natural geography that provided a robust economy. You can move the port, but the City of Baltimore would diminish in size, and jobs followed by homes will move around the new port, but you'll lose the economic advantage of the port being where it was originally formed.

Also, the FSK wasn't the only bridge a powerless M/V Dali could have hit. If the tugs had stayed with the vessel past the FSK, then let it go, it could have still hit the US 50 William Preston Lane Jr. Bridge before entering the Chesapeake. I suppose Maryland could give up on Baltimore and build a larger port around Annapolis, but that's 25 miles of extra inland travel for trains and trucks to move the load. Seems much easier to just figure out what went wrong the M/V Dali powerplant and fix that problem.

Achilles said...

Hey Skipper said...

@Ann: What if the tugboats malfunctioned?

Two things:

First, ships that size use at least two tugs.

Second: because the ship doesn't need steerageway (sufficient speed for the rudder to be effective), then the tug/ship combo can move much more slowly — even at a crawl — and still maintain directional control.

Which seems to make the conclusion obvious: seeing the threat, why didn't they mandate tugs from the outset?

But that misses an unavoidable issue. Assume some roughly approximation of the number of ship movements per year that require passing under a bridge. Low guess: a million.

Historically, how many of those movements involved a loss of steering control while the ship was moving in the direction of the bridge? In a year, probably none. Maybe, on average, a five year period elapses before one such instance.

So, 100% chance of one instance in five years, or five million movements. How long would it take before the harbor bridge would stand a 10% chance of a loss of control incident, given the annual number of ship movements?

At a movement rate of 10 large ships/day, that works out to ... about 137 years.


Exactly. You can't stop all accidents from happening.

But what will happen now is the government will find a way to hire a few thousand more Karens because of this accident.

And they will write lots of impact statements and drink a lot of wine and get paid more than the engineers and construction workers that eventually fix this.

Enigma said...

@Robert Cook: "management and union members are adversaries at bottom"

Do not question the ways of D.C., as there are no adversaries in the congealed federal-state-city-back-rubbing government. The federal agencies have cantankerous labor unions despite the fact that the federal government regulates these unions. They are symbolic and toothless unions, but routinely used for partisan advantage to suit the current congress and administration.

Regarding your comment, management boundaries apply only to the "little people." Each and every Metro station had a "station manager":

https://www.wmata.com/schedules/maps/

Other issues: The current employees kept the number of new hires down and bullied new hires so they'd earn more overtime. They left track switches broken for years, limiting work-around when trains broke down. They didn't (install or) repair the air conditioning system in favor of paying salaries. They had some weird job title where "guides" would stand in purple vests with megaphones to show people how to walk from platforms to other platforms or the exits. Many of the stations were polluted with brake dust. Etc.

This ended only when there were train derailments, fires, and deaths. They brought in an outside airport manager to fix it circa 2017.

AnotherJim said...

"We just need to admit that "shit happens."" Not this much shit. If the cost of a ship strike is billions of dollars, it just makes sense to spend a few millions to mitigate that risk. They could probably design the channel to ground the big ships before they can strike a pylon and thereby force the pilots to stay in the channel.

Leland said...

Further on the question of tugs, using Gadfly's analogy. Airports also use tugs to move aircraft away from terminals, like a seaport does for vessels away from terminals. Airport tugs don't normally accompany the aircraft all the way to the runway, and they certainly wouldn't be able to stop an aircraft after an aborted take-off roll. Airport tugs simply move the aircraft to a navigable taxiway, remain with the aircraft until the engines are running (not at full or even cruise throttle, but simply running), and then depart the aircraft to allow the vehicle to travel on its own to its destination. This is what M/V Dali's tugs did in the port of Baltimore. Once the vessel was in a navigable channel for a vessel of its size, the tugs were released.

Good stuff from Hey Skipper @1:45pm

Narayanan said...

But that would be racist, according to little petey.
=====================
was Baltimore a port for slave ships?

jaydub said...

"You've got to choose. Not build a collapsible bridge and cross your fingers."

No you don't. Instead of trying the impossible, i.e., building a bridge that can't collapse, why not fix the real culprits which appear to be poor ship emergency procedures and/or inadequate redundancy of critical ship control systems and/or inadequate ship watch standers and/or poor training. I was chief engineer on several USN ships, including a 45,000 ton amphibious ship, commanded several destroyer type ships, ran the navy's largest intermediate ship maintenance facility and was responsible for propulsion plant readiness training of Pacific Fleet conventional aircraft carriers. IOW, I am very experienced in what is required for ships to safely enter and leave port, and I can almost guarantee this disaster could and should have been prevented by actions on the ship (proper maintenance standards, critical system tests prior entering restricted maneuvering situations, adequate number of properly trained watch standers and special equipment setup to improve reliability.) I can also guarantee the Dali was deficient in some way in all those categories, and most significantly, they probably operated with absolute minimum crew members, probably no more than a dozen to fifteen watch standers total on deck and in the engineering spaces at the time of the accident. I estimate the total number of crew on the ship was in the low thirties with routinely no more than ten on watch everywhere in the ship at any one time. Those numbers are adequate for routine watch standing situations on an ocean transit, but this accident occurred in a non-routine situation wherein extra hands were required to control and recover from an loss of electrical power and/or a loss of rudder control, which appears to be what happened. If so, an emergency generator in running standby and a watch stander in the steering room might have been all that was required to quickly recover from whatever casualty occurred. A couple of deck seamen on the bow ready to drop one or both anchors would likely have at least slowed the ship if not stopped it. A tug made up on the bow and ready to work while the ship was standing out of port could have steered the ship's bow away from the bridge supports. In fact, it was reported that tugs had previously been required until the ship was clear of the bridge before someone made the decision tugs were redundant and too expensive. Fixing those type of things and tasking the Coast Guard to develop a process to verify compliance is all that is required and would be a hell of a lot cheaper than digging a tunnel.

Jay said...

"Maintenance isn't sexy."

Losing main engine and all four generators in 6 minutes IIRC. I pretty sure the final report is gonna be one of those doorstops that detail just how every person involved was lazy and/or incompetent.

Gospace said...

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is a Bridge Tunnel because the Navy vetoed a bridge. The Hampton Roads area is full of tunnels because the Navy vetoed bridges.

Then there's the Coronado Bay Bridge which the Navy didn't want. From something I vaguely recall reading when I was younger it's designed so that all studied collapse scenarios leave enough room overhead for a carrier to clear the wreckage.

The Boring Company has supposedly revolutionized tunnel construction. This would be an ideal time to for them to show their tunneling prowess off. From their website the Prufrock can tunnel one mile a week. Even if it's size limited to one lane per tunnel putting 4 lanes in would be faster then conventional tunneling.

MadTownGuy said...

"They knew the problem. "It never occurred to anybody"... please. The necessary precaution, the bridge having the limitations they knew it had, was to ban ships that size from passing there. That's how I see it, as a layperson. Prove me wrong."

Would that I could. Should I be concerned that this might be a 'Wag the Dog' event, to demonstrate the Federal DOT's ability to jump in and fix a crisis?

Josephbleau said...

When they do the new bridge I hope they look at a suspension bridge instead of a truss bridge, with the two towers located in water shallow enough to ground a vessel headed out of the channel. The truss section is shorter than the golden gate or the Oakland bay bridge.

If you use two tugs then three engine systems would need to fail at the same time, very unlikely, but as was mentioned above, the ship can go very slow using tugs as steerage is done by the tugs so a barrier would be even more effective.

I once saw four tugs move an aircraft carrier from the Norfolk Naval Shipyard down the Elisabeth River to the Atlantic. All the bridges there have nice concrete barriers around the piers,( and lots of security troops and helicopters around too). The tugs did fine, very slow and precise. It is no secret how to do it, Baltimore just was not professional.

tim in vermont said...

There's never time or money to do it right, but there's always time and money to do it over. I am sorry, but this was an easily foreseeable, and widely foreseen risk. Politicians made these choices.

https://twitter.com/charlesbonnerjr/status/1772792317667103036

Evidently this is from a book called "Bay Pilot, A History of the Association of Maryland Pilots". Author claims that he had heard that the boys over at the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard, in a bit of gallows humor, were joking about starting a pool for the date that this would happen.

I am less and less impressed with the drive for economic efficiency every day, I have to admit. How does a globalist define a good paying American job? Economic inefficiency. I miss that we once lived in a country where Greyhound bus service was available in almost every town in America at one time, but it was inefficient. There are so many infrastructure things that we could have, but instead we spend trillions on everything from a bloated and not fit for purpose military which is more prone to get us into trouble than out of it, to inflationary spending, which only drives up the stock market because all of the money that we are printing has to go somewhere, so it bids up the price of stocks. Oh yeah, and artificially gooses our nominal GDP.

"They knew the problem. "It never occurred to anybody"... please"

It wasn't a lab leak. The Russians blew up their own pipeline, because they are so stupid. It's been proven that Fidel Castro is not Justin Trudeau's biological father... In fact, the itinerary of the Trudeau's honeymoon trip to the Caribbean lists a visit to an "undisclosed island" on a date that easily fits with the conception of Justin Trudeau, with no stretches of medical credulity, and his mother was a noted "starfucker" and his "father" widely known to be gay.

We are just dared not to believe they stuff they tell us, because if we don't, then we must be the crazy ones, not the people telling us to believe absurdities.

"The most essential command of the Party...." yada yada yada.

Drago said...

"But state officials worried about terrorism had focused on bombs and bad guys in small boats, not an errant 95,000-gross-ton container ship."

I can attest via personal experience that as far back as the early and mid-2000's that states had been made aware of and ran coordinated exercises with, combined federal/military/state agencies, to practice against the potential for container/LNG vessel scale terrorist actions.

So, they knew. But choices were made and here we are...with a very racist bridge (Howitzer Howard the BLM fanboy can explain) down.

Drago said...

Leland: "Gadfly spreading disinformation."

Evergreen.

Hey Skipper said...

I typed too quickly.

… number of big ship movements under a bridge *globally* …

… how long would it take before the Baltimore Harbor bridge …

Aggie said...

The key words haven't been mentioned yet: Risk management. We do hazardous and dangerous things all the time in the modern world. We split people open on a table, we launch planes and rocket ships with people inside, we defuse time bombs. All safely, with a good chance of a normal continuation of life and preservation of limb.

You have to weigh the risks and settle on the mitigations. I don't know anything about this bridge, aside from what it used to look like, and what it looks like now. When it was built, ships of this size and capability didn't exist. The channel is a narrow one, so I don't know if there was practical room for protective dolphins, or other countermeasures; there might not have been sufficient room between the main bridge supports to allow for both fortification and ships, for instance. But accompanying tugs and barriers on either side of the bridge along the channel, would have been a excellent mitigation, remembering that the engines failed quite some time and distance away from the impact. A series of port protocols verifying the integrity of ship propulsion and navigation systems could have identified the similar problems that the ship had previously suffered elsewhere, for instance. Like that.

This is the métier of insurance underwriters - and civic management. I suspect therein lies the rub. Baltimore is the quintessential political machine, and political machinery has a way of being greased when pragmatism wants to trump concerns of safety and risk. Tugs cost money and are a cost borne by the shipper. How do we work around this to find a solution, Mr. Port Authority? Hmm?

I see that some are upset that commenters haven't been hysterical enough about terrorism to suit their expectations. It was mooted at first, as it always is, but now people are being annoyingly rational. Poor thing. You think it's bad now, just wait 'till you have to explain the election outcome to yourself.

Lem the artificially intelligent said...

You know what occurred to a lot of people, and they still didn't do anything about it?

New Orleans flooding.

Robert Cook said...

"It’s being reported from the wife of one of the two survivors that all the workers on the bridge were on break in their cars. That raises the question as to what extent the cause of death was the difficulty of getting out of the cars once they went into the water."

Billionaire Angela Chao drowned in her car a couple of weeks ago when she backed by error into a pond and could break or otherwise open her car windows or doors.

(I've already got an order of SAFEHAMMERS on the way.)

Leland said...

I would say the necessary precaution would be to determine the root cause of the M/V Dali's power loss 48 hours prior to its debarkation. Apparently, they failed to find it, and after remaining docked for 2 extra days, the failure occurred again during critical operations. If stricter procedures for the reliable functioning of critical equipment were in place prior to debarkation, nobody outside Baltimore would be talking about the Francis Scott Key bridge today. Procedures are poorer barriers than passive physical barriers in preventing incidents. Still, good procedures are why maritime and aviation "accidents" are rarer than automobile accidents.

Mason G said...

"If Baltimore isn't an adequate port, it isn't. It shouldn't pretend to be. You can't make things economically feasible by cutting costs until you get there."

Define "adequate".

Thomas Sowell says "There are no solutions, only trade-offs." According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

"Slips and falls in bathtubs and showers were found to be the most frequent type of accident. Burns from scalding water were less common, but generally much more serious, resulting in over 70 deaths each year. In addition, over 100 people drown every year in bathtubs."

So- should bathtubs and showers be banned?

lamech said...

As to some of the questions raised, see
https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/28/us/baltimore-bridge-protections-ships-states.html


One can also look to the recently initiated construction to install a Bridge Collision Protection System for the Delaware Memorial Bridge. For that project “The design will protect the Delaware Memorial Bridge from a vessel collision in the range of 156,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT), travelling at a speed of approximately seven knots.”
https://www.bridgeweb.com/Contract-awarded-for-enhanced-collision-protection-at-Delaware-bridge/4997
The cost of the project is approximately $93 million (January 2023).

It appears that a hypothetical collision between the Dali and the Bridge Collision Protection System for the Delaware Memorial Bridge would be inside of that designed level protection. The Dali maximum weight is reported as approximately 116,000 DWT. At the time of the accident was carrying nearly 4,700 containers (of a 10,000 container capacity) and was reportedly travelling at about 8 knots.
https://apnews.com/article/baltimore-bridge-collapse-cargo-ship-dali-09aeffc6fa81f3069d4ba226def90555
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Dali (approximately 116,000 Maximum DWT, a figure repeated in several reports).

It appears that risk assessment and prioritized remediation is, and for decades has been, an ongoing cost-benefit analysis effort for bridges and other infrastructure.

All indications are that the statement from “the former senior transportation official” that "It never occurred to anybody" is patently false, and stupidly stated.
"the work on the Delaware Memorial Bridge reflects the fact that some transportation and maritime experts have been mulling the hazards of new cargo ships squeezing under decades-old bridges for some time."
"Stray ships have long been viewed as a risk to bridges, particularly after a freighter slammed into the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay in 1980, killing 35 people.
After that disaster, officials in Maryland acknowledged that the Key Bridge, which opened in 1977, could be knocked down by a direct hit. But they said that the concrete barriers that had been installed in the river were intended to deflect or slow an out-of-control vessel."
https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/28/us/baltimore-bridge-protections-ships-states.html


Also, the supposed ideal of having a tunnel where The Francis Scott Key Bridge had been would seemingly include removing the redundancy of having two paths for hazardous materials to be able to pass the Baltimore section of the I-95 east coast transportation corridor -- A serious factor to take into account.


“If Baltimore isn't an adequate port, it isn't. It shouldn't pretend to be.”
As per the above, it appears plain that what constitutes an adequate port requires wide-ranging analysis, including consideration of very real practical needs (including dealing with global shipping shipping standards). And, must take into account existing infrastructure, some of which is from over a century ago (The Francis Scott Key Bridge was in use for almost 50 years).

There are no ideal systems, everything is just tradeoffs, especially in engineering.

Old and slow said...

Blogger Achilles said...

God the whining and moaning.

Yes, you do carry on, don't you?

stlcdr said...

Original Mike said...
"You've got to choose."

While I don't disagree, I wonder; who's going to make them? Our government simply doesn't do deliberative things.

3/29/24, 12:04 PM


Considering government is the enemy of the people, It's not surprising they don't actually solve problems. And they will use this one for political purposes, also.

Rabel said...

"That raises the question as to what extent the cause of death was the difficulty of getting out of the cars once they went into the water."

They fell 185 feet, about 15 stories. I doubt that they drowned. Water's pretty hard.

Achilles said...

AnotherJim said...

"We just need to admit that "shit happens."" Not this much shit. If the cost of a ship strike is billions of dollars, it just makes sense to spend a few millions to mitigate that risk. They could probably design the channel to ground the big ships before they can strike a pylon and thereby force the pilots to stay in the channel.

You are right.

We should erect a barrier of environmental, sociology and womyn's studies majors who write impact studies and flood the area in front of the pier with worthless papers and empty wine bottles.

Hey Skipper said...

lamech: ✅

MadisonMan said...

"It never occurred to anybody" and "Experts say"
Two nonsense phrases.

Achilles said...

I realize of course I am missing out on the most important aspect of this aspect of this accident.

The one thing that we desperately need to make the situation better.

More important that whining Karens and arm chair civil engineers or need for more environmental impact statements.

The most important aspect of addressing this situation!

Lawsuits.

Lawyers are going to be cashing in on this. It is going to be glorious. Nothing will help the community heal more than buying a summer vacay home for an injury law firm.

Jim at said...

So it wasn't terrorism like all you paranoid people thought?

All? There were a couple commenters questioning how something like this could happen. Legitimate questions at the time. Now it's a couple days later and more information is available.

You realize you don't have to be an asshole on every subject, right?

Gospace said...

What can tugs do? A lot. Your average harbor tug is designed to push and pull floating objects that are much heavier than the tugs themselves. Having a tugs on either side of the Dali as it passed under the bridge would have prevented this. Every harbor in the world has different regulations on when and where a tugs is required.

When stationed at Ballast Point every US sub arriving and departing had one or more tugs attached. It wasn't actually necessary. Why do I say that? Watched a Brit boat pull in for a port call and training with US forces. The CO waved off the US Navy tugs assigned to assist in docking, and with one screw and expert shiphandling pulled right alongside parallel to the pier.

Well handled tugs can do a lot. A lot of ships today don't use them. They have bow and stern thrusters. I recently watched a time lapse video of cruise ships arriving and departing in (IIRC) Tampa Bay. Wonderfully choreographed dance without a tug in sight.

I read shortly after the bridge hit that the Dali had bow thrusters and they (or it) was the cause of the power loss. It wa being operated at full power and abruptly turned off. Unbalancing the generator load kicking it offline. If that's the case then there's a whole lot of other questions...

Mikey NTH said...

Of course such a large ship would take out that bridge. With the placement of the main supports there was no way to protect them - too close to the channel.

So what? A lot of transit has risk. If you want to be risk free go jump in a grave. Outside of zombie apocalypse total safety is what you would get.

Mikey NTH said...

Terrorism? I am pretty sure I was on the accident side of things. I know I mentioned here or at Instapundit different ships losing power and going aground.

Breezy said...

I have to say this catastrophe might be a necessary slap on the head for risk assessment of various infrastructure situations. Failure has some rewards.

RIP to the 6 men who lost their lives. May their collective loss not be in vein.

holdfast said...

A proper precaution would be to make sure that if there were an incident like this, that traffic could be halted very quickly. Fortunately in this case it was late at night and there was very little traffic. Had this happened at rush-hour their would have been much more carnage.

PM said...

Agree w/Leland @3:36: First things first.

Rusty said...

tim in vermont said...
"One other thing that is known is that these big ships run on very thick oil, and they don’t really run reliably until they have thoroughly warmed up, so the loss of power that this ship experienced, which caused the accident, was also a foreseeable event."
Typically called,"bunkerC" oil. Basically one level above roofing tar. It has to be preheated to flow.
I think the engine on the DALI is a two stroke with turbochargers. 55,630HP.
I don't know if the motors are direct coupled to the propeler. If it was when the power came back on they were trying to reverse. I know they dropped to port ancker in an effort to turn the ship.
What amazed me was how much of the bridge fell and all at once.

Jupiter said...

"From idiocy to childishness. Give me a break, lol."

Hold out your arm.

Rusty said...

"There are no ideal systems, everything is just tradeoffs, especially in engineering."
This.
Fast , sturdy or cheap. Pick any two

Another old lawyer said...

Oh, BS. I'd bet there were plenty of people working on the project that thought and even raised how the bridge could be collapsed by a ship striking a main support. But the decision-makers made the decisions they did regardless.

What would be most interesting to pursue is whether the decision-makers suspected or even knew of that risk and its magnitude (were they among the experts our admin state is built on?), and whether that info on the risk and magnitude got stopped by the thermocline management layer. That's a phrase I've used to describe that layer of management that doesn't like to provide their superiors with bad facts/info or anything that contradicts the decisions expected from or already made by those superiors, lest the thermocline layer risk a CLM (Career Limiting Move).

Mikey NTH said...

Thank you lamech for your comment. There is a lot going on with any infrastructure or structure that is not politics all the time. Monday morning analysis is easy if you don't know what priorities are being made.

Paul said...

"It never occurred to anybody"...

Strange.. didn't some passenger jets on 9/11 slam into buildings in NYC? Did that "It never occurred to anybody?"...

Do any of these idiots realize terrorist just walk across our Southern Border and can steal trucks, vans, small planes, boats, etc... improvise explosives and poisons, and can KILL SCORES OF PEOPLE???? Can destroy our power grid? Can paralyze whole cities?

Oh, I guess that "It never occurred to anybody." Duh...

DLH said...

I will be relived when people stop saying “bridge piers”.

Narr said...

I'll cop to speculating about sabotage . . . Why not? It may not be the most likely explanation, but it is a plausible one IMO.

And even if it is just an unfortunate accident, it may inspire certain parties to deliberate actions now that the scenario has been run.



walter said...

Could be the perfect time to rename it...

Aggie said...

So a Bridge Collision Protection System has been started for the Delaware Memorial Bridge, one that takes into account the size and tonnage of modern ships. That is the engineering efforts toward making something that is fit for purpose. Good.

But: The Delaware Memorial Bridge is not the same thing as the Francis Scott Key Bridge, and therein lies the devil that is in the details. It is almost always not a 'one size fits all' solution.

Leland said...

Speculation... If you look at the charts for the channel, it is double wide to allow two ships to pass side by side. At that width, it barely fits between the two tower supports. The bridge was built 50 years ago, but ship widths have continued to grow as the ships have grown longer. I suspect the channel was widen as much as the two spans would allow, and there wasn't enough room for physical barriers without narrowing the channel to be single wide.

Joe Biden, America's Putin said...

Diversity hire Buttijudge will come to the rescue with his standard issue BS rhetoric.

Josephbleau said...

I will be relived when people stop saying “bridge piers”.

Why? it's a standard term in the industry.

"A bridge pier is a type of structure that extends to the ground below or into the water. It is used to support bridge superstructure and transfer the loads to the foundation. The bridge piers can be constructed to be substantially attractive and strong in order to withstand both vertical and horizontal loads. It also does not hinder water flow or tide if the bridge..."

https://theconstructor.org/structures/bridge-pier-types/36121/

"Precast bridge piers: Construction techniques, structural systems, and ...
Oct 12, 2022. The aim of this paper is to make a comprehensive evaluation of existing works on precast bridge piers, considering several aspects including construction techniques, structural systems, and seismic response. The general classification..."

https://journals.sagepub.com › doi › 10.1177 › 13694332221133596

Narayanan said...

Anyone notice brown rusty look of the truss?
Maintenancce/Paint

Fritz said...

walter said...
Could be the perfect time to rename it..


My money is on the Freddie Gray Memorial Bridge.

wildswan said...

They used to require the use of tugboats in Baltimore Harbor till ships got below the Key bridge and that was to prevent what just happened. But then to save money they changed that rule. And here we are about to spend a lot of money. The Port can handle container ships as long as it takes precautions with tugs. But I don't believe the Port of Baltimore can be rebuilt by the crew in charge in Baltimore. Their basic principles are not from the field of engineering but from Anti Racist Structural Equity. All they are capable of is maybe staging an anti-White Supremacy pageant on the girders. Different groups could recite narratives about grievances. Spotlights. The Mayor in tears. Then go away. And the Port dies while the grifter political class pockets the money intended for a new bridge.

Bima said...

I am not familiar with the design of bridges but offhore oil platform design does include consideration of ship collisions. The most common standards are issued by the American Petroleum Institute, the International Standards Organization and several Norwegian organizations. The rules in API and ISO are the same. NORSOK gives three formulas for fixed installations including jacket structures +++. They consider the size of the ship, the speed it's moving, the angle at which it hits the structure, and sea state (weather). It's not a trivial report. Without approval, by UN approved design auditors (yes, that UN), the platform cannot be installed. And, FWIW, the engineers that design these facilities went to the same schools as the ones who design bridges.

Lem the artificially intelligent said...

What Bima just said at 9:40 👆🏽

Big Mike said...

But I don't believe the Port of Baltimore can be rebuilt by the crew in charge in Baltimore.

@wildswan, + 1

Tim said...

You didn't have to ban the large container ships. All that was necessary was proper pilings protecting the bridge supports from collision. And they should have been included in any risk analysis for the bridge. Our ruling class is incompetent, uncaring, and criminal. The competent engineers are not listened to, and the cronies are the ones promoted to positions of decision making. Because they will do as they are told and never mind the consequences. And mark my words, there will be no consequences for those in charge. Only the poor souls who died on the bridge.

Joe Biden, America's Putin said...

Diversity Hire - useless Pete Buttijudge asks that you send money so the corrupt left can nuke the Electoral College.

Joe Biden, America's Putin said...

In corrupt Chi com cartel Crook Joe USA - we don't build things and we don't do quality.

We have woke pedophiles, taker-class, morons, greed, open borders, and the hack press lying liars who lie, running the show.

Former Illinois resident said...

Quite obvious that our country could be immobilized by several concurrent strikes against major power and critical transportation infrastructure locations, this Baltimore bridge as example. The electrical grid is also very vulnerable to sabotage.

Much of our critical infrastructure is poorly-maintained, deteriorating, and unfortified. That infrastructure is unfortunately a low spending-priority to Feds, and to many states. Our Secretaries of Transportation (Buttigieg) and Dept of Energy (Granholm) are unqualified career politicians with no practical backgrounds for their roles.

We're just sitting ducks.

Cue another Boeing jet mishap.


Esteban said...

Or just build a tunnel and then you don’t have to worry about this issue.

I do wonder what, if any, risk assessments the insurance carriers had on the bridge and what they thought the risk was.

JK Brown said...

The Maryland Port Authority started planning for the neoPanamax ships in 2010 with plans for deeper berths and cranes that could extend the additional 50' of beam. In 2016, they heralded the arrival of the first neoPanamax ship, ones that took advantage of the larger locks added to the canal.

From the looks of the damage on the bow main deck, it was the wider beam that permitted the ship to reach and impact the bridge pylons. The ship has dents on the bow at the waterline but it is the flare to the wide main deck at the bow that took out the bridge.

JK Brown said...

Tugs were not the solution. The ship was at 8 kts which is just about steerage on a ship that big. Tugs run maybe 12 kts down hill. They'd barely keep up with nothing to move the ship left.

The new bridge should be built with a wider main span so that the bridge pylons can be on the shoals. Nothing like 20' of sediment to stop a ship leaving a channel. Channel was 50', ship was 40' draft and the shoals on both sides of the channel above the bridge were in the 20s.

In fact, had the power loss happened 30 seconds earlier or later than it did, it is likely the ship would have run aground either above or below the bridge. It was a very narrow chain of events that led to the disaster.

mikee said...

Imagining horrible ways to inflict death and damage on the US is easy. Stopping many of those imagined attack methodologies is damned hard. Stopping all of the attack methodologies imaginable is impossible.

If you got half a dozen Army Corps of Engineers or Special Forces officers or hazmat hauler truck drivers around a table, they could come up with millions of deaths via infrastructure attacks and damage to hazardous material in transportation before a break for lunch.

That said, ascribing to malice that which is readily explained by incompetence is an analytic mistake in most cases. Big ship hit bridge. Bridge down. Why ship hit bridge? That's all you need to know in this case.



Steve said...

People have been protecting bridges from impact with riprap (essentially giant rocks) since the Roman era.

There are ways to protect these bridges, but people have chosen not to based on short term costs and environmental concerns.