Baltimore Opens Third Channel as Plans Sequence Efforts to Refloat Dali

Baltimore salvage
Progress continues in Baltimore with teams planning the efforts to refloat the Dali (US Army Corps photo April 19)

Published Apr 19, 2024 7:11 PM by The Maritime Executive


Recovery efforts in Baltimore continue to make good progress Maryland Governor Wes Moore highlighted in a briefing on Friday afternoon, April 19, reporting that more than 1,300 tons of steel have now been removed from the waterway. While the priority remains on establishing a larger temporary channel to reopen Baltimore harbor, late today they also opened a third temporary channel while the teams are also beginning to converge on the Dali for the effort to refloat and remove the vessel.

Crews they reported have now removed 120 containers from the bow of the vessel and expect to move approximately 20 more in the coming days to clear a path for the salvage team to safely reach the debris resting on the vessel. Governor Moore reported that each of the laden containers weighs between 1.5 and 2.5 tons and that in addition, the salvage teams project that there are 3,000 to 4,000 tons of steel from the bridge sitting on the bow of the vessel.

After the containers are removed, they are planning to build a staging area to address the debris. Representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard reported that they planning the effort to cut the sections of roadway and steel and remove it from the ship and then the refloating sequence. 


More than 100 containers have been removed over two weeks from the Dali (USCG photo)


Another 20 containers need to be removed before they begin staging for the controlled demolition of debris on the bow of the Dali (USCG photo)


They declined to specify a timeline for these efforts saying that the focus remains at this moment on establishing the Limited Access Channel. The third smaller channel established today should provide for about 15 percent of the harbor's normal traffic with a controlling depth of 20 feet, a 300-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 135 feet. Maersk earlier in the weekly however informed customers that the channels being established are too small for containerships and that they did not have a timetable for access to the port.

The Army Corp said they are working on debris wrapped around the other pier of the bride after teams modeling the channel identified this area as a priority. However, they noted that three salvage teams are also all working around the vessel as they plan the controlled demolition of the sections on and around the Dali. They noted that sections of the bridge’s pier are embedded in the vessel adding to the challenge to remove the ship. The plan is to take it back to a dock in Baltimore.


Three channels have been established which should permit approximately 15 percent of commercial activity in Baltimore (Unified Command)


Governor Moore highlighted that there are now 80 different assets working in the area and 380 people. They reported that 113 vessels have already passed through the first two channels and they are still on schedule to have the larger temporary channel established by the end of April.

Maryland also announced the next phase of financial assistance programs both for port workers and businesses impacted by the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. More than $5.5 million in assistance is budgeted and they will be paying people who worked at the port $430 a week as temporary job assistance.

At the same time today, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro traveled to Baltimore to personally assess the work. He met with both Naval Sea Systems Command and the Unified Command emphasizing the contribution of the Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving in the effort. The Navy is providing its diving expertise and coordinating efforts to aid in the recovery. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assigned the Navy’s SUPSALV with supporting by leading the clearing of the waterway.

During today’s briefing, they said two large sections of the bridge steel have already been successfully lifted. They are currently rigging a third section to be lifted.