Gov. Moore celebrates ship’s removal, but says he won’t be satisfied until Key Bridge stands again

May 21, 2024, 8:30 AM | Updated: 10:26 am

BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland Gov. Wes Moore celebrated the removal of a hulking container ship just under eight weeks after the deadly collapse of a Baltimore bridge, but emphasized Tuesday that the work is not done.

“I’m very moved by the fact that I can now look out over the Patapsco River and not see the Dali anymore. It’s a beautiful sight,” Moore said during a news conference, gesturing to the collapse site behind him. “But I will not be satisfied until I can look over the same site and see the Francis Scott Key Bridge standing again. That’s mission completion.”

Tugboats escorted the damaged Dali back to the Port of Baltimore on Monday, nearly two months after the ship lost power and crashed into one of the bridge’s supporting columns, killing six construction workers and halting most maritime traffic through the port. Crews have already cleared thousands of tons of mangled steel from the water.

The Dali experienced electrical blackouts about 10 hours before leaving the port on its way to Sri Lanka and yet again shortly before it slammed into the bridge, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said in their preliminary report. The FBI has launched a criminal investigation into the circumstances leading up to the crash.

More than 500 commercial vessels have already moved through alternate channels to the Port of Baltimore in recent weeks, but on Tuesday a 400-foot-wide (120-meter-wide) channel with a depth of 50 feet (15 meters) will open to 24/7 operations, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath said. Officials are aiming to reach a width of 700 feet (213 meters) by the end of the month, he said. Work will continue to remove the rest of the debris beneath the water in the channel, he said.

Moore thanked members of the Unified Command, noting that it was not preordained that they would be able to move so quickly and safely, recover all six victims’ bodies and swiftly launch support programs.

“These milestones did not just happen,” Moore said. “Change does not just happen. Change is made to happen. And this team made it happen.”

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Gov. Moore celebrates ship’s removal, but says he won’t be satisfied until Key Bridge stands again