Chamber of Customs Brokers Inc.

Ship Collapses Baltimore Bridge: See Latest Updates Here

BALTIMORE, March 27, 2024 – The baltimore bridge collapse occurred after a large cargo ship, disabled by a power outage, collided with the structure. This incident led to the closure of a major port along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. Tragically, six workers are missing and presumed deceased. Despite efforts by dive teams in challenging conditions amidst the wreckage-filled waters, search-and-rescue operations were halted around 18 hours after the accident, as confirmed by officials from the U.S. Coast Guard and Maryland State Police.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath said there was no hope of finding the missing workers alive due to the frigid water and the length of time elapsed since the accident. State Police Colonel Roland Butler said authorities hoped to return divers to the water after sunrise on Wednesday to recover the workers’ remains. The Singapore-flagged container vessel named Dali, heading out of Baltimore Harbor bound for Sri Lanka, plowed into a support pylon of the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the mouth of the Patapsco River at about 1:30 a.m. (0530 GMT). 

Almost instantly, a portion of the 1.6-mile (2.57 km) Baltimore bridge span collapsed into the cold waters, plunging vehicles and individuals into the river. Rescuers managed to retrieve two survivors, one of whom required hospitalization. These individuals, along with the six still unaccounted for, constituted a work crew engaged in repairing potholes on the bridge’s surface, as stated by officials earlier.

Subscribe to the MyCCBI365 newsletter

The ship experienced a power failure prior to the collision, allowing authorities to halt bridge traffic. Maryland Governor Wes Moore hailed this action as heroic, potentially saving lives. The bridge, confirmed by Moore, met safety standards with no structural concerns reported.


Officials ruled out foul play. Mayor Brandon Scott described a surreal scene of twisted metal soaring into the air, akin to a movie spectacle.


Social media footage depicted the vessel crashing into the bridge in darkness, illuminating the span’s headlights before plunging into the water and igniting.


Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg warned of significant supply chain disruptions due to the closure of a vital shipping lane. The Port of Baltimore, handling over 750,000 vehicles in 2022, faces substantial repercussions.


General Motors and Ford Motor pledged minimal disruption despite redirecting shipments. The 948-foot (288.95 m) vessel, experiencing a momentary propulsion loss, deployed anchors as part of emergency measures before impact, according to Synergy Marine Pte Ltd, the vessel’s management company.


The Dali, owned by Grace Ocean Pte Ltd, collided with a bridge pillar according to Synergy, with all 22 crew members accounted for.


The port closure could compel shippers to redirect cargo from containers to bulk material, causing bottlenecks and increased delays and costs along the Eastern seaboard, experts warn.


President Joe Biden praised the swift response of the U.S. Coast Guard to the mayday call and commended Maryland transportation officials for preemptively closing the bridge. Biden vowed to visit Baltimore promptly and pledged federal funding for bridge reconstruction.


“I’m directing my team to move heaven and Earth to reopen the port and rebuild the bridge as soon as humanly possible,” said Biden. The bridge, named after the author of the Star-Spangled Banner, was inaugurated in 1977.



Jennifer Homendy, Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, revealed that a team comprising 24 investigators and other agency personnel were present at the scene but refrained from boarding the ship during search-and-rescue operations. She mentioned that personnel from Singapore safety agencies would arrive in Baltimore on Wednesday.


Jayme Krause, 32, recounted working a night shift on shore when the cart of packages before her shook violently, resembling an intense thunderstorm. Upon hearing from a colleague at an Amazon logistics facility about the collapsed bridge, she rushed outside to witness the scene. “I went over there, and sure as anything, it was gone, the whole bridge was just like, there was nothing there,” she told Reuters. “It was a shocking sight to see.”


The bridge acts as the primary route for motorists between New York and Washington who wish to avoid downtown Baltimore. It was one of three crossings over the harbor, accommodating a traffic volume of 31,000 vehicles per day, or 11.3 million annually.


The same vessel was involved in an incident in the port of Antwerp, Belgium, in 2016, colliding with a quay while attempting to depart the North Sea container terminal. An inspection conducted in 2023 in San Antonio, Chile, identified deficiencies in “propulsion and auxiliary machinery,” according to data from the public Equasis website, which offers ship information.


Tuesday’s tragedy may mark the most severe bridge collapse in the U.S. since 2007, when the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River, claiming 13 lives.


The Dali was chartered by shipping company Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) at the time of the incident, as stated in a statement by the Danish company.


According to data from ship tracking and maritime analytics provider MarineTraffic, more than 40 ships, including small cargo vessels, tugboats, and pleasure craft, remained within Baltimore port. Additionally, at least 30 other ships had indicated Baltimore as their destination.

   Editor: Rod Villanueva

Share Article