Crews detonate explosives to demolish part of Baltimore bridge and free stricken ship

All of the crew members of the Dali ship were on board when the operation took place

Michelle Del Rey
Tuesday 14 May 2024 11:19
WATCH: Baltimore Key Bridge explosion

Crews detonated explosions on parts of Baltimore’s collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in an attempt to free the stricken cargo vessel Deli that crashed into it in March.

The demolition took place on Monday evening after a weekend of bad weather forced United Command to postpone the explosion.

The operation happened just after 5pm in the Port of Baltimore where the ship has been sitting since the collision happened. Charges were set off on the wreckage, followed by a loud boom as part of the bridge fell into the water.

Billowing smoke then rose from the ship.

The demolition was necessary to refloat the vessel and return it to the Port of Baltimore, which officials say could happen this week if the operation is a success, The Baltimore Sun reported.

United Command demolishes part of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Monday (REUTERS/Leah Millis)

A small part of the bridge was still seen on top of the ship following the demolition. Plans for the operation advanced last week after authorities recovered the body of José Mynor López, 37, the last of the Key Bridge construction workers recovered from the water.

The Dali ship hit a pillar of the Key Bridge on March 26, sending at least seven construction workers into the Patapsco River below. The men had been working to fill potholes on the bridge when the incident happened.

Six of the men died, while at least one was rescued from the water. Authorities have been able to recover the bodies of all of the deceased men from the river.

Explosive charges are detonated to bring down sections of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge resting on the container ship Dali on Monday, May 13, 2024, in Baltimore (AP)

The 21-member crew on board the Dali remained on the ship when Monday’s demolition took place, Darrell Wilson, a spokesperson for Synergy Marine Group, which is managing the Dali, said.

All of the crew are safe and remained in the aft of the ship when the demolition took place, he stated. Twenty of the men are from India and one person is from Sri Lanka. The crew have not left the ship since the collision.

In a statement last week, Unified Command said that the explosion was “the safest and swiftest method to remove the bridge piece from on top of the Dali.”

Explosive charges are detonated to bring down sections of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge resting on the container ship Dali on Monday, May 13, 2024, in Baltimore (AP)

Officials have previously said that they plan to reopen the Port of Baltimore by the end of the Month. The area supports at least 8,000 jobs. Two days after the collapse, President Joe Biden’s administration approved $60 million in federal funding for the project.

Last month, Maryland state legislators introduced a bill that would allow for complete federal funding for the removal of the bridge. However federal lawmakers have expressed differing opinions on who should be responsible for covering the cost of the damages.

In April, the city of Baltimore filed a lawsuit against the owner and manager of ship, claiming the vessel was “unseaworthy”.

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