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What happened in Baltimore?

Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed early on Tuesday after a container ship smashed into the four-lane span, plunging cars into the river.

What happened in Baltimore?

At 1.27am local time (5.27am Irish time) a container ship named the Dali was sailing down the Patapsco River when it struck a pylon of the bridge, crumpling almost the entire structure into the water. There was no indication of terrorism, police said.

Are there any casualities?

A construction crew was fixing potholes on the bridge and eight people fell into the river where water temperatures were 47 F (8 C). Two people were rescued, one unharmed and one critically injured. Six people remain missing.

What do we know about the ship that was involved?

The Dali was leaving Baltimore en route to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

All 22 crew have been accounted for and there were no injuries, the ship’s manager, Synergy Marine Group, said.

The registered owner of the Singapore-flagged ship is Grace Ocean Pte Ltd, LSEG data show. The ship is 948 feet (289 metres) long and was stacked high with containers.

The ship can hold up to 10,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit, or TEU, a measure of cargo capacity around 15 metres squared. It was carrying 4,679 TEU.

What do we know about the bridge that collapsed?

The Francis Scott Key Bridge was one of three ways to cross the Baltimore Harbor and handled 31,000 cars each per day, and well over 11 million a year.It is four lanes wide and sits 185 feet (56 meters) above the Patapsco River.

It opened in 1977 near to where Francis Scott Key wrote the “Star Spangled Banner” in 1814 after witnessing the British defeat at the Battle of Baltimore, and the British bombing of Fort McHenry.

How will the collapse impact Baltimore port?

Sea traffic was suspended after the collision.

Although Baltimore is one of the smallest container ports on the Northeastern seaboard, handling about a tenth of the volume that passes through the Port of New York and New Jersey, it is the busiest US port for car shipments, handling at least 750,000 vehicles in 2023, according to data from the Maryland Port Administration.

In 2023, the port was the second busiest for coal exports.

Baltimore is also the largest US port by volume for handling farm and construction machinery, as well as agricultural products such as sugar and salt.

So, while containers can be redistributed to bigger ports, according to shipping expert Lars Jensen, there could still be major disruptions to shipments of cars, coal and sugar.

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