VIDEO: Unified Command starts preparations for Dali refloat

Written by Nick Blenkey
Dali refloat preps continue

Salvors with the Unified Command continue wreckage removal from around the M/V Dali as they prepare to refloat the vessel [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers]

Officials of the Key Bridge Unified Command were yesterday continuing to evaluate the Dali in preparation for refloating the vessel and clearing the Fort McHenry Federal Channel to the Port of Baltimore.

Since explosive cuts brought down most of the bridge structure that had been pinning the Dali down, the scene around the vessel looks a lot less chaotic. However, there is still a lot of clearance to be done prior to the Dali refloat.

Unified Command officials have evaluated sonar and lidar imagery but are awaiting results from a dive survey before proceeding with plans to refloat and move the Dali to Seagirt Marine Terminal in the Port of Baltimore. Several steps must be taken before that survey can take place,

To permit safe diver access to the Patapsco riverbed next to the vessel, Unified Command cranes must first remove submerged and unstable wreckage from the controlled demolition. Safety also dictates the securing or removal of severely damaged containers and overhanging wreckage from the initial bridge collapse onto the deck of the Dali. This process is already underway and should be complete in the days ahead. (Unsurprisingly, given the scale of the task it faces, the Unified Command is in the habit of using terms like “the days ahead” and the “weeks ahead” rather than more specific timelines)

In parallel with the Dali refloat operations, the Unified Command will continue removing wreckage in the central part of the Fort McHenry Federal Channel.

More than 365 vessels have transited the four Port of Baltimore temporary alternate channels, the first of which was opened six days after the March 26 bridge collapse. These transits for commercial and recreational vessels will continue during the ongoing process to refloat the Dali and the salvage operation to clear the federal channel.

Nearly 50% of the 700-foot-wide Fort McHenry Federal Channel had already been cleared to an operational depth of 48 feet before the controlled demolition. The federal channel is expected to be fully capable of supporting all commercial vessels in and out of the Port of Baltimore to a minimum operational depth of 50 feet in the weeks ahead.

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