a map of a city
Click on the map for an enlarged view. Imagery ©2024 Airbus, Commonwealth of Virginia, Landsat / Copernicus, Maxar Technologies, Sanborn, United States Geological Survey, USDA/FPAC/GEO. Map data ©2024. Source: Google Maps. Composite graphic illustration by Brian Cohen.

Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapsed in Maryland. Avoid Until Further Notice. Travel Alert.

A container ship crashed into one of the supports of this key bridge.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in Maryland due to a container ship crashing into one of the supports of the bridge at approximately 1:30 in the morning Eastern Daylight Time earlier today, Tuesday, March 26, 2024 and resulted in several vehicles falling into the water below. Avoid this area until further notice if you are driving in the Baltimore area.

Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapsed in Maryland. Avoid Until Further Notice. Travel Alert.

The official statement from Synergy Marine Group — which is the operator of the container ship that crashed into the bridge — is as follows:

Owners and managers of the Singapore-flagged container ship “DALI” (IMO 9697428) report that the vessel collided with one of the pillars of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, Baltimore  whilst under pilotage with two pilots onboard, at approximately 01 30 local time on 26th March.

All crew members, including the two pilots have been accounted for and there are no reports of any injuries. There has also been no pollution.

Whilst the exact cause of the incident is yet to be determined, the ‘DALI’ has now mobilised its Qualified Individual Incident response service. The US Coast Guard and local officials have been notified, and the owners and managers are fully cooperating with Federal and State government agencies under an approved plan

Dali — which is owned by Grace Ocean Private Limited of Singapore — was on its way to Colombo with 4,679 units and a crew of 22 people who are based in India.

Maersk — which offers integrated container logistics and supply chain services and chartered the vessel in question — has issued this official advisory:

In the early hours of 26 March 2024, a vessel collided with the Francis Scott Key bridge, resulting in damage to the structure. Information on the situation remains pending and we remain in close contact with officials in the area.

We can confirm that the container vessel “DALI”,  is owned by Grace Ocean, and operated by Synergy Group. It is time chartered by Maersk and is carrying Maersk customers’ cargo. No Maersk crew and personnel were onboard the vessel.

Due to the damage to the bridge and resulting debris, it will not be possible to reach the Helen Delich Bentley port of Baltimore for the time being. In line with this, we are omitting Baltimore on all our services for the foreseeable future, until it is deemed safe for passage through this area.

For cargo already on water, we will omit the port, and will discharge cargo set for Baltimore, in nearby ports. From these ports, it will be possible to utilise landside transportation to reach final destination instead. Your local Maersk representative can assist in booking this.

Please note that for cargo set to discharge in Baltimore, delays may occur, as they will need to discharge in other ports. We are keeping a close eye on the safety situation in the area and continuing to assess the viability of transportation through the area. We will inform you of any changes that may impact your cargo.

We are deeply concerned by this incident and are closely monitoring the situation. We understand the potential impact this may have on your logistics operation, and will communicate to our customers once we have more details from authorities. Our teams are on hand to support with your planning, should you need any assistance.

For more information on your cargo, please reach out to your local Maersk representative.

Our teams are on hand to support with your planning, should you need any assistance.

A state of emergency has official been declared by the mayor of the city of Baltimore and by the governor of the state of Maryland.

The following message is currently at the official Internet web site of the Maryland Transportation Authority:

At approximately 1:30 a.m. on March 26, 2024, a cargo ship leaving the Port of Baltimore struck the (I-695) Francis Scott Key Bridge. This caused a collapse of the bridge.

I-695 Outer Loop closed at MD 10 (exit 2) and Inner Loop closed at MD 157/Peninsula Expressway (exit 43). Harbor Crossings alternate routes will be I-95 or I-895 tunnels. Vehicles transporting hazardous materials prohibited in tunnels should use the western section of I-695 around tunnels. This includes vehicles carrying bottled propane gas in excess of 10 pounds per container (maximum of 10 containers), bulk gasoline, explosives, significant amounts of radioactive materials.

The Port of Baltimore is still open for truck transactions. Vessel (waterway) traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore is suspended until further notice.

The president of the United States has vowed to have the bridge rebuilt “as soon as humanly possible” and that “it’s my intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge”, according to this video of recent remarks by Joseph Biden.

Pete Buttigieg — who is the current secretary of transportation of the United States — issued the following statement:

No fatalities or injuries have been officially reported at the time that this article was published.

Francis Scott Key Bridge was a part of Interstate 695 which carried greater than 30,000 vehicles per day over the Patapsco River. With regard to Interstate 695, the:

  • Outer Loop is closed at Maryland State Highway 10, which is Exit 2
  • Inner Loop is closed at Maryland State Highway 157 and Peninsula Expressway, which is Exit 43

Alternate routes include the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel via Interstate 895 and the Fort McHenry Tunnel via Interstate 95 — both of which charge a toll from a minimum of $1.40 to a maximum of $45.00. Motorists of cars will pay $3.00 — or $4.00 if their vehicles are not equipped with a transponder and use the Pay-By-Plate option instead.

Other alternate routes are available as well; but they are even less convenient.

Final Boarding Call

I am not going to speculate on what led to the cause of this incident, as I am not a structural engineer. Some people have already resorted to a wide range of speculation from conspiracy theories pertaining to nefarious actions by governments to the practice of hiring people solely based on diversity, equity, and inclusion to the fear that this was an act of terrorism.

One outcome may be true, though: because of this significant disruption to the supply chain in general, prices of certain items may temporarily increase — such as automobiles that are manufactured outside of the United States.

Just know that this is a developing story. If more pertinent updates are offered, I intend to include them in a future article.

If you plan on traveling through or within the Baltimore metropolitan area, allow yourself extra time due to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Imagery ©2024 Airbus, Commonwealth of Virginia, Landsat / Copernicus, Maxar Technologies, Sanborn, United States Geological Survey, USDA/FPAC/GEO. Map data ©2024. Source: Google Maps. Composite graphic illustration by Brian Cohen.

  1. I find the official statement as mentioning only Singapore. They say it’s a Singapore flagged ship. The ship’s crew and officers are all Indian. The shipping company is Greek. The ship is on a Maersk mission, which is a Danish company. The collision was in United States territorial waters.

    Maybe they want to say that they are top notched, having links to Singapore. Or maybe they like to slam Singapore, which is a very common attitude, partly based on jealousy.

    I was woken up in the middle of the night with news of this so it is significant.

    What a bummer to be driving and then your car is in the water. Even worse if you get a head injury then drown.

    My philosophy is not to drive in the middle of the night unless absolutely necessary. If followed, maybe a car wouldn’t be on the bridge at 1:30 am. At least one truck fell into the water.

    This is the ultimate “what is wrong with the photo?”. The bridge has fallen. 🙁

    1. My understanding is that it’s the ship’s flag of convenience which has the direct implications in how such incident is to be managed by applicable authorities and other parties to the incident in foreign waters. And that the nationality of the crew staffing the ship won’t move the dial on that. The nationality of the shipping company and that company being on contract to some extent with Maersk probably doesn’t change much either. That said, I’ll try to run this by some experts in international maritime law and experts with affiliation with the World Maritime University and/or IMO.

    2. Reports say the traffic was quickly stopped on the bridge when the ship sent a distress call. But there was a crew on the bridge doing road maintenance – they were not evacuated.

      1. All the missing were maintenance crew and citizens of Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador. What happened to the Black men of Baltimore? On welfare? Too lazy to work? Victims of racial discrimination? On drugs? Something is going on.

  2. This Key Bridge incident seems to have cost some lives from the start. Now what follows is a big cargo traffic problem given how important Baltimore is as a cargo port.

    If it were the Key Bridge between DC and Virginia that were to go down like this, cargo disruptions wouldn’t register. But the latter Key Bridge also has no big boats going under it.

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