A Ship Removal Is “More Complicated Than We Hoped” Because The Bridge’s Girders Are Tangled

A Ship Removal Is More Complicated Than We Hoped Because The Bridge's Girders Are Tangled

The Coast Guard said Monday that getting the box ship Dali out of the wreckage of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge will be even harder than they thought. For the ship to float again and be taken away, the 4,000-ton steel bridge span needs to be cut free and pulled off the bow of the Dali.

Commander of the Coast Guard 5th District, Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath, said that recent dive surveys of the area around the ship show that “it is more complicated than we had hoped for.” Sonar and lidar scans, he said, show that the bridge wreckage under the water is much more twisted and broken than the parts of the span that people can see.

“Below the waterline, along the bottom, is very challenging because these girders are tangled together, intertwined, making it very difficult to figure out where you need to eventually cut,” he noted. The girders in some parts of the bridge are “three-foot I-beams of inch-and-a-half steel.”

Because the operation is so complicated, the unified command has repeatedly turned down questions from the press about when the port will be open again and the ship will be freed.

What we don’t know about moving to Dali is still greater than what we do know. On Monday, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore told reporters, “There are a lot of things that could change as we continue to move the debris out. There are still things that we don’t know about how that’s going to translate into a timeline.”

Just getting everyone to work together on the project is hard and complicated. Three extra shipping lanes are being reopened by the unified command so that tug and barge traffic can start coming into and going out of the port. 50 boats are working on the water, and 370 people are working around the clock, the governor said.

The governor said, “You can’t overstate how hard this operation is.”

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