Watch CBS News

Dozens of containers lifted from cargo ship Dali as Key Bridge collapse cleanup continues: "Incredible progress"

Funeral services to be held for 2 killed in Key Bridge collapse as recovery efforts continue
Funeral services to be held for 2 killed in Key Bridge collapse as recovery efforts continue 02:59

BALTIMORE -- Dozens of containers are being removed from the Dali cargo ship to free it as salvage operations continue on the collapsed Key Bridge in Baltimore. 

The bridge collapsed on March 26 after being struck by the malfunctioning ship, and the wreckage has blocked the Port of Baltimore's main shipping channel.

The priority of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is leading the salvage effort, is to clear the Fort McHenry Channell to resume operations at the port. 

The removal of containers from the Dali is a critical step in moving the pinned ship, which has tons of mangled steel on its bow.

Engineers aim to remove 178 containers to refloat the Dali, and 38 containers have been removed as of Thursday. The transfer of containers will continue as weather permits, the Baltimore mayor's office said. 

When will the channel reopen?  

Officials aim to reopen the permanent, 700-foot-wide by 50-foot-deep channel by the end of May. That would restore port access to its previous capacity. 

Two temporary passageways were created last week for smaller commercial and essential ships and barges. The mayor's office said Thursday that 69 vessels have traveled through the temporary alternate channels. 

A third, deeper temporary channel is expected to open this month, allowing most vessels into the Port of Baltimore. 

"There has been incredible progress this week towards our goal to open the limited access deep draft channel," said Col. Estee Pinchasin of the US Army Corps of Engineers in a statement. "Our amazing team of local, state, federal and community responders remain focused on the safe and efficient removal of debris and wreckage from the federal channel and waterway."

Salvage and recovery efforts continue 

As crews remove containers from the ship, wreckage and debris removal continue at the site. Engineers have to break up the bridge into smaller pieces to lift them away. 

The rubble and debris are going to Sparrows Point for processing and recycling.

Six construction workers died when the span plunged into the Patapsco River in the early morning hours of March 26. Three of those workers remain missing, and their bodies are believed to be entrapped in the wreckage. 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lieutenant General Scott Spellman said Tuesday that responders will "do all we can to find the remaining missing three workers and return them to their families. We are going to go about a lot of heavy lifting of steel and concrete in the weeks ahead, and we have to do that with a lot of care."  

A funeral mass and vigil will be held this Saturday for two of the construction workers who died that morning.   

Assistance Available

A new website is available with information about federal, state and local resources and programs related to the bridge collapse, Gov. Wes Moore announced Thursday. 

The resource includes assistance for for affected workers and businesses, major traffic updates and guidance on Maryland Business Recovery Centers.  

The website will be updated regularly as additional programs become available, Moore said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.