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First container ship arrives at Port of Baltimore since Key Bridge collapse: "Another milestone"

Community leaders honor victims of Key Bridge collapse
Community leaders honor victims of Key Bridge collapse 02:56

BALTIMORE -- The first container ship arrived at the Port of Baltimore since the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed more than a month ago.

The MSC Cargo Passion III made it through the 35-foot temporary channel on Sunday, carrying nearly 1,000 containers.

"Another milestone today! First container ship to arrive at Seagirt Terminal since the crisis began," the Port of Baltimore said on social media.   

Four temporary channels have been opened since the bridge's collapse on March 26.

This fourth channel will only be open for a few days, but at 35 feet deep and 300 feet wide it will allow several ships that are stuck in the Port of Baltimore to get out.


"Around that 35-foot draft is where you're really starting to get some of the inventory that's coming onboard that had really been some of the hallmarks of The Port of Baltimore," Maryland Governor Wes Moore said.

The opening of these channels follows the largest of four recent openings on Thursday, which restored 15% of the pre-collapse commercial activity at the Port of Baltimore. The adjustment will allow large commercial ships that were stuck to depart and others to enter, including those carrying containers, vehicles, and farm equipment.

Recreational boats allowed

Recreational boats will also be able to pass through the Key Bridge collapse salvage area during specific hours.

Larry Lewis has spent the last 20 or so years on the water. He says the opportunity to pass through the collapse site is important for recreational boaters, not just chartering businesses.

"We have boaters and owners who are stuck on the other side of the bridge, and some who are trying to get out for maintenance and things done," Lewis said.

Traffic through the temporary channels will be strictly one-way, with outbound movements scheduled from 3:30 to 4:30 PM and inbound from 4:30 to 5:30 PM.

"There's going to be plenty of people out there that's going to be directing and keeping this a very safe and orderly passage," Lewis explained.

Salvage effort at Key Bridge site ongoing 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading the salvage effort. The branch said its priority is to clear the main channel through the river to reopen access to the Port of Baltimore. 

Massive floating cranes are being used as wreckage and debris removal continues. Engineers have to break the mangled bridge into smaller pieces to lift them away, and Navy sonar images revealed wreckage in the deepest part of the channel. 

Gov. Wes Moore announced Friday that over 1,300 tons of steel from what used to be the Francis Scott Key Bridge have been removed from the river so far. 

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

Main shipping channel timeline remains end of May

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to reopen the main shipping channel - which is 700 feet wide and 50 feet deep - by the end of May. 

"There's no way around it that in terms of the impact on the local and the state economy, we want to resume 100 percent of pre-collapse activity because it just contributes to so many jobs in the economy, contributes to so much income that flows through both the city, the county and the rest of the state," DePasquale said.

With the main channel closed, businesses have had to use alternative methods to transport their products. 

With nearly half of the 700-foot main shipping channel cleared, salvage teams are now focused on the portion of the span on top of the Dali.  

2 bodies remain missing 

The men killed in the Key Bridge collapse were working for Brawner Builders, filling potholes on the center span of the bridge. 

"Most were immigrants, but all were Marylanders." President Joe Biden said shortly after the collapse. "Hardworking, strong and selfless. After pulling a night shift fixing potholes, they were on a break when the ship struck."  

As a memorial grows on Fort Armistead Road for the six men killed in the accident, recovery efforts to locate the two workers still missing under the wreckage are ongoing. They have been identified as Miguel Luna, of El Salvador, and Jose Maynor Lopez, of Guatemala.

Three of the victims recovered were identified as: Dorlian Cabrera, 26, who was originally from Guatemala and lived in Dundalk; Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, who lived in Baltimore and was from Mexico; and Maynor Yasir Suazo-Sandoval, 38, of Guatemala.

A fourth body was recovered last week. He has not been identified at the request of his family, but he is known to be from Mexico.

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