Ship That Hit Baltimore Bridge Had 2 Electrical Failures Before Departure


Investigators recounted the crew’s desperate efforts to restore electrical power and halt the ship’s drift toward the bridge. They described how one of eight maintenance workers still on the bridge that night managed to sprint to safety moments before the bridge collapsed.
The 985-foot-long vessel departed the Port of Baltimore around 1 a.m. on March 26 and traveled along a heavily used shipping channel that would take it under the Francis Scott Key Bridge. But as it approached the bridge, the power went out on the vessel and alarms blared. The ship issued a mayday call.
As the authorities on the bridge rushed to close the bridge to traffic, the vessel drifted and ultimately crashed into one of the bridge’s supports, knocking most of the bridge into the water and killing six of the eight construction workers.
Investigators were able to collect the ship’s data and speak with crew members. The F.B.I. has also launched a criminal investigation into the crash.
The accident has spawned questions in the shipping industry about how to better protect against such a disaster at a time when cargo vessels have grown much larger. Transportation officials have been re-examining structural protection systems on bridges, which in some cases are missing or flawed, that are supposed to deflect wayward ships away from bridge piers.



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