Salvage crews within the Key Bridge Unified Command are preparing for the removal of the piece of bridge lying on top of the container ship Dali. On 26 March, the container ship allided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore resulting in its collapse.

The operation to remove the bride section requires careful handling of roadbed material, crushed containers, and bridge fragments currently resting on the M/V Dali’s bow. The salvage teams are meticulously preparing for the refloat of the Dali, ensuring all aspects of the wreckage impacts are thoroughly evaluated and addressed.

‘The complexities of this next phase of operations require thorough preparation, strategic planning, and specialised expertise,’ says Capt. David O’Connell, federal on-scene coordinator, Key Bridge Unified Command. ‘We have the right team making this work happen in the safest and most efficient way possible.’

Teams have strategically removed 182 containers from the ship to facilitate the removal of the piece of steel structure, referred to as “section four”. Crews have also been working to remove the portions of bridge span 17, which are in contact with the opposite side of the M/V Dali.


Specialised equipment has been employed to closely monitor the positioning and movement of the M/V Dali and the bridge wreckage in contact with it.

‘We’ve got a total of six of, what we call, inclinometers that measure tilt on key locations of the span and key locations of the ship so we can watch how it’s pitching and rolling with tide, and wind,’ explains Rob Ruthledge, a contractor working for the Key Bridge Unified Command. ‘We have a sensor measuring the relative position of the span on the ship so we can see, if for some reason, it starts to slip. We also have what are called string gauges, which can measure, in real-time, the stress, while they are performing operations.’

Also read: What happened in the minutes leading up to the Key Bridge collapse

Shipping channels

So far, four temporary shipping channels have been opened to regain access to the port of Baltimore. The last one, opened on 25 April, was the first that could accommodate some larger deep draught vessels.

The Key Bridge Unified Command remains committed to restoring full access to the Fort McHenry Channel as swiftly and safely as possible and is providing updates regularly.

Also read: First deep draught channel past Key Bridge

Scott Key Bridge collapse

On 26 March, the container ship Dali left the Port of Baltimore headed for Colombo. Shortly after departure, the ship lost propulsion and allided with the Scott Key Bridge, which subsequently collapsed. The ship’s crew were reported safe, but eight road workers were working on the bridge when it collapsed. Two were rescued from the water, the bodies of two more were recovered soon after. A third body was recovered on 5 April, a fourth on 14 April and a fifth on 1 May.

UPDATE 7 MAY: The body of the sixth road worker was found and recovered on 7 May.

Picture (top): An aerial image of the Unified Command response operations in Baltimore, Maryland on 22 April (US Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Alejandro Rivera).

Also read: Baltimore claims container ship Dali was unseaworthy before bridge allision