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IPFS News Link • Maryland

Two Of The Fastest U.S. Sealift Ships Trapped By Baltimore Bridge Collapse


Two of the most capable military cargo ships in U.S. inventory are among the vessels now stuck in Baltimore following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge yesterday. The two members of the Algol class, which are also some of the fastest cargo vessels of their general size anywhere in the world, and two other reserve sealift ships were in port in Baltimore when the incident occurred. Readers can first get up to speed on what happened to the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which was struck by the container ship MV Dali, with The War Zone's initial reporting on the incident here.

At the time of writing, the movement of ships in or out of the Port of Baltimore continues to be suspended indefinitely due to the incident yesterday, which also remains under investigation. Six members of a construction team that was working on the bridge when the Dali struck it are now presumed to have died. Two other workers from that team were rescued, one of whom was hospitalized. There have been no other reported casualties and authorities say a mayday call from the crew of the Dali helped prevent a larger disaster. The ship remains pinned under a collapsed section of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and is severely damaged. What the timelines might be for clearing the channel and repairing the bridge is unclear.

"I've directed my team to move heaven and Earth to reopen the port and rebuild the bridge as soon as humanly possible," President Joe Biden said yesterday. "It is my intention that the Federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge."

"This port is the top vehicle handling port in the United States," Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg told NPR's "Morning Edition" today. "We can't wait for the bridge work to be complete to see that channel reopened. There are vessels that are stuck inside right now and there's an enormous amount of traffic that goes through there. That's really important to the entire economy."