VIDEO: With first Baltimore temporary channel open, a second is in the works

Written by Nick Blenkey
tugboat transits Baltimore temporary channel

Screengrab from USCG video

As the first vessel successfully transited the Baltimore temporary channel established following the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, the Unified Command responding to the disaster announced plans to establish a second alternate channel.

The first vessel transiting the temporary channel, at 3.00 p.m. yesterday was the tugboat Crystal Coast pushing a fuel barge used to supply jet fuel to the Department of Defense, It was transiting to Dover Air Force Base.

USCG video

The first Baltimore temporary channel is on the northeast side of the main ship channel in the vicinity of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. It has a controlling depth of 11 feet, a 264-foot horizontal clearance, and vertical clearance of 95 feet. In the next part of a phased approach to opening the main federal channel, the Unified Command is working to establish a second Baltimore temporary channel on the southwest side of the main channel. This second channel will allow for deeper draft vessels with an anticipated draft restriction of 15 to 16 feet.

Two crane barges, a 650-ton crane and a 330-ton crane, are actively working on scene. Wreckage will continue to be lifted and transferred to a barge as daylight allows. A 230-ton land-based crane will offload and process the wreckage at Tradepoint Atlantic in Sparrows Point, Md. It will then be taken to a disposal site.

The current 2,000-yard safety zone around the Francis Scott Key Bridge remains in effect and is intended to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment. Members of the public may not enter the safety zone unless authorized by the COTP or designated representative. Those in the safety zone must comply with all lawful orders or directions given to them by the COTP or designated representative.

The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command includes the:

U.S. Coast Guard

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Maryland Department of the Environment

Maryland Transportation Authority

Maryland State Police

Witt O’Brien’s, representing Synergy Marine, the operator of the 10,000 dwt containership Dali that struck the bridge March 26 and that remains trapped beneath a section of the roadway that ran across the bridge.

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