Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 26, 2024

Baltimore Bridge Incident

As someone who lives in a harbor city I can feel a bit of the hurt that people in Baltimore will have over this:

Rescue workers scramble to save dozens after colossal Baltimore Key Bridge collapsed in moments when container ship crashed into it sending cars into the river.

There is video of the bridge collapse and a current live stream of the situation. The ship, a large container carrier under the flag of Singapore, is leaving the harbor. About a minute before the impact it suddenly changes course towards on of the bridge pillars. It then seems to experience a total blackout followed by the impact on the bridge pillar. After the pillar is pushed aside the whole bridge comes down.


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It seems that there were technical difficulties on board. Probably a primary rudder machine failure followed by difficulties to activate the secondary.

The ship's name is Dali. It is nine years old, 300 meter long, 45 meter wide and has a draft of some 12 meter.

There were reportedly two pilots on board.


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The bridge in question is the outer one visible on the lower right. The complete collapse of its seel girders blocks the entrance to the Baltimore harbor. Bigger ships which are now within the harbor will have difficulties to leave.

The Port of Baltimore has some economic significance:

In Maryland's economy, the Port of Baltimore generates nearly $3.3 billion in total personal income and supports 15,330 direct jobs and 139,180 jobs connected to Port work. The Port also generates more than $395 million in taxes and $2.6 billion in business income. It serves over 50 ocean carriers making nearly 1,800 annual visits.
...
Cargo. In Fiscal Year 2023, some 11.7 million tons of general cargo were handled by the Port's public terminals, a new record from the 11.3 million tons set in 2022.

Moreover, in 2023, the Port of Baltimore handled a record 52.3 million tons of international cargo, valued at $80.8 billion. Nationally, Baltimore ranks 9th for both total dollar value and tonnage of international cargo.

Also in 2023, the Port of Baltimore handled a record 1.3 million tons of imported roll-on/roll-off cargo (ro/ro), high and heavy farm and construction equipment. The Port is the top U.S. port for roll-on/roll-off cargo.

Some U.S. Navy transport and replenishment ships are visible within the port on satellite pictures. The bridge incident could thereby have an effect on resupply missions to Europe and the Middle East.

The removal of the ship which is now stuck under a mess of broken steel girders will be a significant project.

Added: A pic from the live stream. The bow of the ship is deeper in the water than the stern. It was likely damaged when it hit the foundation of the bridge pillar and has taken water. The hundreds of tons of additional metal on its deck won't help either.


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There is smoke coming from one of the ship's exhausts. Its generators are running to provide for the on board systems.

The removal of the debris from the bridge will likely cost in the three digit millions. In current dollar a new bridge will likely cost above $1 billion.

Posted by b on March 26, 2024 at 11:50 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Double blackout

https://twitter.com/kf18616835/status/1772566837571539264

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 11:58 utc | 1

What a stunning achievement of inadequacy. No worries, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is in charge.

Posted by: too scents | Mar 26 2024 12:09 utc | 2

Blackout or reboot attempt?

Posted by: Don Kibbey | Mar 26 2024 12:09 utc | 3

I think of the crimean brindge in Ukraine. Was the accident in Baltimore a mistake on the part of the helmsman?

Posted by: dieter Muench | Mar 26 2024 12:11 utc | 4

Maybe this is Israel's revenge for US abstaining a vote on UN resolution that would have enabled Israel to commit hands-free genocide in Palestine.

Posted by: unimperator | Mar 26 2024 12:12 utc | 5

Navigation software malfunction initiated by Putin!

Posted by: Frithguild | Mar 26 2024 12:13 utc | 6

I'm sure a bridge going down next door to Washington just 48 hours after what happened in Moscow is all just a total coincidence.

Or, a warning to local residents not to follow through on any plans to blow up the Kerch bridge..

Posted by: Rubiconned | Mar 26 2024 12:13 utc | 7

Someone with more time than I could research the history of the construction of this bridge. I wouldn't be surprised if there were significant cost overruns . . . and some corner-cutting in the construction. It's the American way, after all.

Posted by: malenkov | Mar 26 2024 12:15 utc | 8

The 300 meters long Neo Panamax class DALI is quite small by current standards. US ports cannot handle the newer and larger ULCV class ships. See this video:

Why are No Ultra Large Container Vessels Sailing to the United States

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Mar 26 2024 12:25 utc | 9

@Frithguild | Mar 26 2024 12:13 utc | 7

Navigation software malfunction initiated by Putin!
Perhaps ChatGPS...

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 12:25 utc | 10

@malenkov | Mar 26 2024 12:15 utc | 9

When a large ship hits the bridge pillar it doesn't matter if there were cost overruns 50 years ago or not.

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 12:27 utc | 11

Empty containers or does the US export something to Sri Lanka?

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 12:29 utc | 12

'The port collects $395 million in taxes'.

NYC was just trying to fleece Trump for a little more than that. I thought for a large city it wasn't all that much money, but it seems like it is. More than enough to house all the migrants, that's for sure...

Posted by: Scorpion | Mar 26 2024 12:36 utc | 13

Well, we're sure it wasn't Ukraine. Perhaps it was ISIS?

Posted by: Minkz | Mar 26 2024 12:36 utc | 14

Nowadays on MoA this is Good News!

Nothing about almost third world war, mass genocide or terrorist massacres. *Phew* I'm almost relieved!

Posted by: cortomaltese | Mar 26 2024 12:39 utc | 15

Posted by: dieter Muench | Mar 26 2024 12:11 utc | 4

I think of the Crimean Bridge in Ukraine. Was the accident in Baltimore a mistake on the part of the helmsman?

Happened twice in 3 mile bridge over the inland waterway in a place in Florida where I used to vacation. one thought to be intentional and the other accidental both done by Tug boat hits when the water was high. The bridge gets hit by the barges being pushed by the tugs.

Marine law I as I understand it, limits liability to value of the vessel. I Guess Boston gets a new container ship.. what line was the name of the ship?


Posted by: snake | Mar 26 2024 12:40 utc | 16

NYC was just trying to fleece Trump

Posted by: Scorpion | Mar 26 2024 12:36 utc | 14

---

What goes around comes around. Turnabout is fair play.

Posted by: too scents | Mar 26 2024 12:41 utc | 17

Cyber attack?

Posted by: rert | Mar 26 2024 12:41 utc | 18

@snake | Mar 26 2024 12:40 utc | 17

https://www.vesselfinder.com/vessels/details/9697428

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 12:42 utc | 19

Look at the sped up video linked in the first post.
Power loss, Power on, changed direction towards pillar, power loss again. Heads straight into the pillar after power back up again in the end. Not much effort to change direction.

Posted by: Ethan | Mar 26 2024 12:45 utc | 20

"Russia, Russia, Russia"

Posted by: librul | Mar 26 2024 12:48 utc | 21

The eastern span of San Francisco Oakland bridge was 3.1km, Baltimore 2.6km. It costs $7billion to rebuild, by China, in 2009. The same company, ZPMC, that built the "spy cranes".

Posted by: Ethan | Mar 26 2024 12:50 utc | 22

Nowadays on MoA this is Good News!

Nothing about almost third world war, mass genocide or terrorist massacres. *Phew* I'm almost relieved!

Posted by: cortomaltese | Mar 26 2024 12:39 utc | 16

Was thinking about the same thing LOL

Posted by: Granite | Mar 26 2024 12:52 utc | 23

As Nancy Pelosi said "it's a beautiful sight to behold".

Posted by: Surferket | Mar 26 2024 12:53 utc | 24

francis scott key bridge... that's the author of the the star spangled banner...

But move along, nothing to see.

“There is absolutely no indication that there's any terrorism, that this was done on purpose,” Chief Richard Worley said at a news conference.

the US intelligence seems to have improved the assessment speed lately.

Posted by: Newbie | Mar 26 2024 12:55 utc | 25

Maersk is a Danish Company and the ship is registered in Singapore

This is a Danish + Singapore plot to attack the USA just like, the US attacked Nordstorm. It is time for us to stand strong and take action against these enemies of the USA.

Posted by: DavidZ | Mar 26 2024 12:55 utc | 26

And some disruptions strong enough to be a nuisance.

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River outside the Port of Baltimore threatens to disrupt shipping operations at a major US trade hub for autos, container traffic and commodities. Baltimore also has a cruise terminal.

Closer to the Midwest than any other port on the East Coast, Baltimore ranks first in the United States for autos and light trucks, handling a record 850,000 vehicles last year. It was also the leading port for farming and construction machinery, as well as imported sugar and gypsum. It was second in the country for exporting coal.

Overall, Baltimore ranks as the 9th biggest US port for international cargo, handling a record 52.3 million tons, valued at $80.8 billion in 2023.

“The immediate focus is the rescue operation, but there will clearly be a highly-complex recovery phase and investigation to follow and we don't know what impact this will have on operations at the Port of Baltimore," said Emily Stausbøll, market analyst at Norway-based shipping analytics company Xeneta.

“While Baltimore is not one of the largest US East Coast ports, it still imports and exports more than one million containers each year so there is the potential for this to cause significant disruption to supply chains," she added.

Baltimore's cruise terminal serves ships operated by Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian. Cruises carrying more than 444,000 passengers departed from the port last year.

According to the Maryland state government, the port supports 15,330 direct jobs and 139,180 jobs in related services.

Posted by: Newbie | Mar 26 2024 12:56 utc | 27

"Look at the sped up video linked in the first post.
Power loss, Power on, changed direction towards pillar, power loss again. Heads straight into the pillar after power back up again in the end. Not much effort to change direction."

Posted by: Ethan | Mar 26 2024 12:45 utc | 21

This ship is cursed this is not the first time it was in a mishap.

In my opinion it looked like when the power went off and then back on it seemed the helmsman was trying to miss the support.

An industrial accident that may bankrupt the insurer-the costs are in perhaps tens of billions with the port out of action for months..

Posted by: canuck | Mar 26 2024 12:57 utc | 28

Posted by: Ethan | Mar 26 2024 12:45 utc | 21

In the very beginning of the video it was not yet turning, it started a slight turn, then lost power.

The ship was going in a very slight starboard turn until losing power. After it lost power the first time, the rudder seems to have turned even more into a steep angle. The rudder never seemed to center after the first loss of power. The rudder maxed out to starboard during the first recovery, in conjunction with full reverse (with a lot of smoke coming out of the stack).

Posted by: unimperator | Mar 26 2024 12:59 utc | 29

Empty containers or does the US export something to Sri Lanka?

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 12:29 utc | 13

Early reports had it full of containers of garbage.

Posted by: smashsc | Mar 26 2024 13:04 utc | 30

I think of it a payback for Nordstream.
But more likely mechanical failure.

Posted by: g wiltek | Mar 26 2024 13:05 utc | 31

Same thing happened in Tampa a few decades ago. Sunshine Skyway collapsed into Tampa Bay.

Posted by: cc | Mar 26 2024 13:08 utc | 32

An industrial accident that may bankrupt the insurer-the costs are in perhaps tens of billions with the port out of action for months.
The allision damage, if it attributable to the operation or unseaworthiness of the vessel that will create liability for the vessel owner will be limited to the value od the vessel by the Limitation Act.

Posted by: Frithguild | Mar 26 2024 13:10 utc | 33

“Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 11:58 utc | 1”

Poster of the video: “praying for Baltimore”

Oh, good, that will fix all the damage and put the bridge back up good as new, probably in under six days (since it isn’t the entire universe). Actually, though, it won’t move a single iron atom, and everyone knows it. All the praying in the whole city didn’t prevent it from happening in the first place, either.

Posted by: Dalit | Mar 26 2024 13:19 utc | 34

"An industrial accident that may bankrupt the insurer-the costs are in perhaps tens of billions with the port out of action for months.
The allision damage, if it attributable to the operation or unseaworthiness of the vessel that will create liability for the vessel owner will be limited to the value od the vessel by the Limitation Act."

Posted by: Frithguild | Mar 26 2024 13:10 utc | 36

Thanks for the clarification, I was wrong.

However, what entity is going to make all the various economic victims whole or is that not in the cards?

Posted by: canuck | Mar 26 2024 13:21 utc | 35

West's infrastructure is getting closer to crap every day due to decades of neo-liberal domination that destroys the public good.

We may even see a real decline in our ability to repair it.
How much domestic industrial capacity is left?

Posted by: Nokaz | Mar 26 2024 13:23 utc | 36

what entity is going to make all the various economic victims whole

Posted by: canuck | Mar 26 2024 13:21 utc | 39

---

The Dept. of "Hold My Bags".

Posted by: too scents | Mar 26 2024 13:23 utc | 37

"what entity is going to make all the various economic victims whole"

Posted by: canuck | Mar 26 2024 13:21 utc | 39

---

"The Dept. of "Hold My Bags"."

Posted by: too scents | Mar 26 2024 13:23 utc | 41

I laughed so hard I spit up my coffee!!!

Posted by: canuck | Mar 26 2024 13:27 utc | 38

I just hope the empire in its desire for vengeance & to save face doesn't redouble its efforts to bring down the Crimean bridge.

Posted by: Ludo | Mar 26 2024 13:29 utc | 39

Our host mentions two pilots. Unless things have changed recently, these are harbor pilots. They are locals who know the harbor and guide big ships in and out. I think we can dismiss any claims the ship’s captain deliberately steered the ship into the collision if there were harbor pilots onboard.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 26 2024 13:41 utc | 40

Someone with more time than I could research the history of the construction of this bridge. I wouldn't be surprised if there were significant cost overruns . . . and some corner-cutting in the construction. It's the American way, after all.

Posted by: malenkov | Mar 26 2024 12:15 utc | 9

I'm a licensed Professional Engineer (BSCE, VT, 1991, MSCE, VT, 1993) geostructural specialist working in the DC, MD, VA market for 30 years. Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is one of the strictest there is. They build good bridges, and I used to do a lot of work in Baltimore with bridge builders as a geostructural designer, mainly for temporary shoring during overpass reconstruction/widening, where you have to cut half the bridge down at a time and shore up the old half to provide Maintenance of Traffic (MOT). In my experience, Maryland SHA has always been very conservative on the engineering side, and the contractors I have worked with are top-notch. I would say so if I thought otherwise. This one was recently rebuilt. I doubt it has anything to do with quality and/or corner cutting. In my experience, the opposite is true. Things are over-designed because the litigiousness involved scares the bejeesus out of everyone. Inspectors hassle builders and engineers to no end, mostly with frivolous nonsense that the inspectors don't understand. Drives me crazy, but more in the sense of Ayn Rand's quote from Atlas Shrugged:

“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you. . . you may know that your society is doomed.”

The problem is an odd one. Over thinking the wrong things, because the so-called authorities get in the way and distract the experts, is a big problem. That's the cause of delays and overruns on many state projects. It harms budgets and eventually things get misplaced under piles of nonsense make-work plan review. I used to spend less than 5% of my time on plan review and response. Now it's like 1/3 to half my time. It's infuriating and puts me off my game. It poisons the working relationship when know-nothings demand fealty to their ignorance. That's a way bigger problem than contractors and engineers failing in their duty to protect the public. Lots of DEI hiring by SHA probably has something to do with it also.

However, that the bridge came down so easily is concerning, but not for the reasons folks might think. Bridge strike is an obvious design condition. The gross tonnage of such a large vessel can do serious damage. Why there was not a more robust pier protection structure to handle that impact is going to be key in the coming investigation. Angle of attack is also an issue for vessels that go adrift, such that planning for a wider angle makes sense to flair the entrance of the channel between pier protection to prevent bridge strike. An example of pier protection shown.
https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.coastlinecomposites.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2020%2F08%2Fcci-marine-bridge-pier.jpg&f=1&nofb=1&ipt=0fdb3437a5e44ce83b17a7cc0df560b6d00f6c088c1ef280faa0531ad9584ce7&ipo=images.

Baltimore has complicated geology. Bay mud/alluvium and coastal plain deposits overlying bedrock that can change quickly from one bridge pier to the next. East side is mostly deeper rock, and to get the bridge pier protection requires (most likely) driving piles deep through the alluvium and into either very dense/hard Coastal Plain deposits, or into rock. Lateral loading of piles is tricky to analyze (I do it frequently for landslide stabilization), and for the mass of such a vessel it would need really, really large diameter steel pipe piles filled with concrete, or something of the like, and spaced quite tightly.

Posted by: ge0m0 | Mar 26 2024 13:54 utc | 41

An empire own goal.

Combined with the Houthi attacks on Red Sea and Ondian Ocean blockade, global shipping rates are going to soar.

Posted by: Ghost of Zanon | Mar 26 2024 13:55 utc | 42

@ge0m0 | Mar 26 2024 13:54 utc | 41

Excellent informational post. Thank you.

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 13:58 utc | 43

Live stream

Here is a live stream from the site. The accident happened at 1:30 am, over eight hours ago. Only the last 12 hours are viewable, so watch now.

Port of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland USA | StreamTime LIVE

All three central spans of the bridge have collapsed as well at two of the shorter spans on the northern side. At the time of the collapse there was no traffic visible on the central spans in the field of view of the camera. There was however maintenance work going on right at the center of the bridge. It is unlikely these people survived.

More than 1 kilometer of the bridge is missing. It will take 5 years to repair the bridge. Unless they build something completely new, which will take even longer.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Mar 26 2024 13:59 utc | 44

We'll see if NATO pays attention.

Posted by: Mike Adamson | Mar 26 2024 14:00 utc | 45

“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you. . . you may know that your society is doomed.”

Posted by: ge0m0 | Mar 26 2024 13:54 utc | 41

Great informative post-thank you!!!

Love the Ayn Rand quote!

Posted by: canuck | Mar 26 2024 14:06 utc | 46

Posted by: Ghost of Zanon | Mar 26 2024 13:55 utc | 42

They liked to pose "Freedom of Navigation Operation"
but things looks to go quite oposite.

Well, even in fables, what the evil empire does backfires.

Posted by: Nokaz | Mar 26 2024 14:09 utc | 47

Thanks for the post, b, and to Norwegian for that video. Separately, I was going to post about shipping today, specifically this APTN report on new shipping regulations in the Arctic.

https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/inuit-circumpolar-council-welcomes-new-shipping-regulations-in-the-arctic/

“The decision comes from the 81st session of the Marine Environment protection Committee (MEPC) at the International Maritime Organization in London, England where Inuit are participating in the discussion.”

I think another angle to consider here is the cruise ship traffic. In nearby Halifax, Canada, cruise ship season is scheduled to begin on April 6. “The cruise season is scheduled to kick off on April 6 in Halifax with the arrival of MSC Poesia, an MSC Cruises vessel and will run until November 3 when the Insignia, an Oceania Cruises vessel will close out the season.” so says the press release on the Port of Halifax website. So much for that Royal Caribbean 9-night Canada and New England cruise! I assume so, anyway.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Mar 26 2024 14:14 utc | 48

Posted by: ge0m0 | Mar 26 2024 13:54 utc | 41

Thank you, this is useful and timely information. The lack of pier protection is interesting. This bridge was built before the Sunshine Skyway Bridge collapse in Tamp Bay caused a sea change in the perception of risk from pier strikes.

Regarding piloting of the ship, it appears that the ship suffered a loss of main power as observed by the ship’s lighting switching off prior to the strike. When emergency power came on line the pilot tried to fully reverse to adjust for unpowered drift; whether this was the right course of action may be difficult to know because his effort was undermined by a second brief power outage, likely the main power coming back up. Two closely spaced power interruptions just as the ship is attempting difficult maneuvers in a tight space were too much for the pilot to adjust to.

Posted by: a stone | Mar 26 2024 14:15 utc | 49

This morning the market is up on durable goods exceeding estimates.

Regional inflation caused by missing transportation infrastructure seems to be a non-issue for speculators.

Prices in Baltimore will be going up and employment will be going down. Yet the stock market is still flirting with all time highs.

The markets have really been juiced this election cycle.

Posted by: too scents | Mar 26 2024 14:18 utc | 50

I can easily imagine ISIS putting forth a claim on this too.

Posted by: Matthew | Mar 26 2024 14:20 utc | 51

Cyber attack?

The route of the ship is very odd. The ship is on a straight course under the center of the bridge. Then it is steered into the support. Perhaps power is cut off AFTER the course change to prevent a recovery.

Rudder failure is possible, but shouldn't it "FAIL LAST", i.e. hold it's current position? Ship bros will have to comment on that.

A cyber attack can't be ruled out. Possible payback from Russia.

Posted by: JackG | Mar 26 2024 14:24 utc | 52

I read headlines about pieces falling off aircraft or trains derailing regularly. Given this context for bridge failure, I discount conspiracies. Further, while it is true that foreign adversaries could cause these events, they may not wish to spend resources on it, nor take the risks. If they perceive the situation correctly, they need do nothing more than be patient and relax.

Posted by: Eighthman | Mar 26 2024 14:29 utc | 53

Ship was not operating under tug control. Why don't US Coast Guard regulations mandate that?
https://bwolfe.substack.com/p/why-are-there-no-coast-guard-rules

Posted by: bill wolfe | Mar 26 2024 14:29 utc | 54

Anyone seen Bashirov and Petrov?

Posted by: Old Sovietologist | Mar 26 2024 14:32 utc | 55

Look at the sped up video linked in the first post.
Power loss, Power on, changed direction towards pillar, power loss again. Heads straight into the pillar after power back up again in the end. Not much effort to change direction.

Posted by: Ethan | Mar 26 2024 12:45 utc | 20
=====

Are you implying that the power loss and black smoke was part of FF misdirection?

Posted by: Jane | Mar 26 2024 14:37 utc | 56

@ ge0m0 | Mar 26 2024 13:54 utc | 41

Appreciate your response! Good to have expertise on the site. :-)

Posted by: malenkov | Mar 26 2024 14:37 utc | 57

Posted by: ge0m0 | Mar 26 2024 13:54 utc | 41

I'm no engineer, just another of your ignorant planners and whiners. But those bridge protectors look wholely inadequate to have stopped such as massive cargo ship.

Perhaps a cheaper and better solution would require tug escorts/controls until safely out of harbor.

PS - I'm terrified when I read of engineers that cite Ayn Rand

Posted by: bill wolfe | Mar 26 2024 14:40 utc | 58

Are you implying that the power loss and black smoke was part of FF misdirection?

Don't know about false flag, that's possible also. What happens is a cyber attacker changes the rudder position, and then cuts power to the ship. The crew can not quickly change the rudder back because the power is out.

Black smoke could indicate an effort to go full reverse. Or it might be full power forward, dialed in by the cyber attacker.

The harbor pilots are key witnesses. DHS might be telling them to keep their mouths shut.

Posted by: JackG | Mar 26 2024 14:44 utc | 59

@Posted by: canuck | Mar 26 2024 14:06 utc | 46

Describes the members of the US Congress perfectly perhaps? But wouldn't Ayn Rand have loved our current oligarch class, the "strong men" ruling over the rest using any means necessary? She had a weak spot for strong authoritarians even though she said she was anti-authoritarian. The communists destroyed her nice bourgeois life in Russia under the Tsar so she spent her life writing novels praising free market capitalism in the raw and idolizing the "real men" ("man as a heroic being") who were better than the rest. Wouldn't Stalin and Mao have qualified as "man as a heroic being"? She was fully supportive of McCarthyism, which was most definitely authoritarianism, and McCarthy was the very kind of political opportunist and operative she supposedly despised.

Needing Benzadrine for many decades, while dreaming of strong men. Also a good little Zionist calling the Arabs "savages", and also ethnic cleansing and genocide supporter as she claimed that the Europeans had the "right" to take the Amerindians lands. And in the end she relied upon both Social Security and Medicare, the irony is redolent. Her philosophy is a gift to the US oligarchy, legitimizing their "will to power" and their sociopathy, such useful idiots are so easy to use and then throw away.

Posted by: Roger | Mar 26 2024 14:46 utc | 60

On recovery, they have "extreme lift" capabilities on the Gulf Coast, like picking up the entire top sides of an offshore platform and setting it on it's superstructure. The main delay will be getting that equipment up to Baltimore. They can probably grab major sections with a single pick. They may use explosives to cut away sections. There's also underwater robots or likely divers that will be involved.

Once the equipment is onsite, if properly planned, perhaps a week of work to demo, but a good team should be able to get it cleared in two weeks. Planning the demo and survey will be major elements.

Posted by: JackG | Mar 26 2024 14:48 utc | 61

"what entity is going to make all the various economic victims whole"

canuck @39

They will raise import tariffs to compensate for losses, whatever that maybe. Will it make all economic victims whole? No, they will just be de-victimized.

Also, they won't rebuild the bridge. I'm working right now on a proposal to built a fleet of solar powered auto ferries instead of rebuilding the bridge. The carbon credit will be huge, fantasico; making the rebuild virtually free! The proposal will even include recycling the steel on the collapsed bridge to build the ferries.

Posted by: Jerr | Mar 26 2024 14:50 utc | 62

"what entity is going to make all the various economic victims whole"

"canuck @39

They will raise import tariffs to compensate for losses, whatever that maybe. Will it make all economic victims whole? No, they will just be de-victimized.

Also, they won't rebuild the bridge. I'm working right now on a proposal to built a fleet of solar powered auto ferries instead of rebuilding the bridge. The carbon credit will be huge, fantasico; making the rebuild virtually free! The proposal will even include recycling the steel on the collapsed bridge to build the ferries."

Posted by: Jerr | Mar 26 2024 14:50 utc | 62

Interesting project.

A colleague of mine has a ferry business in James Bay where he'll deliver people and cargo. In the winter James Bay freezes up and he uses drones to carry medicine or food to Indigenous settlements around Moosonee.

They don't use solar power on their ships-I don't know much about solar energy but I would be surprised if a ferry could work just with solar power.

Posted by: canuck | Mar 26 2024 14:55 utc | 63

But wouldn't Ayn Rand have loved our current oligarch class, the "strong men" ruling over the rest using any means necessary? She had a weak spot for strong authoritarians even though she said she was anti-authoritarian. The communists destroyed her nice bourgeois life in Russia under the Tsar so she spent her life writing novels praising free market capitalism in the raw and idolizing the "real men" ("man as a heroic being") who were better than the rest. Wouldn't Stalin and Mao have qualified as "man as a heroic being"?

You don't get Rand, writing the exact opposite. Stalin or Mao was represented by the character "Cuffy" who takes control of the xylophone site.

She was fully supportive of McCarthyism, which was most definitely authoritarianism, and McCarthy was the very kind of political opportunist and operative she supposedly despised.

McCarthy was fully vindicated by the Verona transcripts. The people he tagged turned out to be treasonous commie scum. Likely the Feds were feeding info to McCarthy of where to look. They didn't want the Soviets to know about Verona, but they also didn't want a bunch of bolsheviks infesting the government.

Posted by: JackG | Mar 26 2024 14:55 utc | 64

2 pilots on board, steaming out of the harbour, in the correct channel, then no power (very unusual), power on again (very unusual) then hard to port and into the bridge. Having worked at sea, albeit 20-40 metre vessels, for the power to go off and then come on so quickly would mean somebody flicked a big switch off and on. The panic this would have caused at that particular moment would be hard to describe. Was the rudder moved during the power outage? No, how could it, did it move independently when the power came back on? Possibly.
I'd say there was some dickhead in the wheelhouse who pressed the big red button with the sign over it saying DO NOT PRESS.
Everyone in the wheelhouse panicked, the power came on again and no-one noticed the rudder direction till it was too late.
The bridge collapsing like a deck of cards is another story. US ports always seem crazy difficult to get in and out of, poor planning and prone to accidents like this, I can't see it as anything but an accident.

Posted by: Eoin Clancy | Mar 26 2024 14:59 utc | 65

Read just a few minutes ago about possibility that Crocus attack was FF carried out by Putin to gin up support for full-on war on Ukraine

https://swprs.org/the-moscow-concert-hall-attack-may-have-been-a-staged-event/

https://southfront.press/more-evidence-cast-doubt-on-isis-role-in-moscow-terrorist-attack/

Posted by: anonymous | Mar 26 2024 15:07 utc | 66

Most of the critical infrastructure in the US, last seriously updated after WW2, is falling apart. There has been no real investment in infrastructure since the 1960s. However over that same period, the US has led the world in production of billionaires and military spending.

So infrastructure collapse is going to continue apace, even if this was just an unfortunate accident, just like the ignominious end of the Soviet Union. But, if the container ships are passing through, a real government would certainly plan for a possible crash like this in advance.

The climate scare tactic is frequently used on the west coast at least as means to cover up the neglect. When a fairly normal winter results in major infrastructure breakdown, it's always "we live in a new crazy world of climate change" as opposed to any critical examination of the state of the infrastructure in question.

Posted by: Ahenobarbus | Mar 26 2024 15:07 utc | 67

In spite that neither the Russiand, nor Iranians nor anybody else, for that matter has attacked ever the US, in any case it has been attacked by its close ally in the Middle East or by its deeply corrupt deep state actors, there is always a bunch of "americans" whom anytime an infrstructure iin their countr fails, or an accident happen, point at the usual culprits signalled always by their deeply corrupt political and corporate class.

If the US is suffering of widespread corruption dating from decades ago, culminating in the balck hole of Ukraine, if the US is currently directed and governed, de facto, by the huge funds, BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, in añlliance with the MIC and a bunch of Sillicon Valley corporations who meet yearly in Davos, and if these people plan to depopulate and desindustrialize the world, as they are doing with each and every country under their rule, I wonder, what part of that they are also on the menu these stupid "americans" fail to understand...

If the billions sent to black hole Ukraine, to then be managed by BlackRock, and when the request for increasing funding does not end, to the point of risking a nuclear war against Russia so that the billions continue flooding into those same hands, what part of your taxes do you expect these thieves are going to invest in port facilites maintenance?

It is for a reason that Larry Fink is trying to terminate any kind of industry in Europe, including the vital agrobusiness, and that Macron went of of his ways to achieve a "war economy" to continue robbing any euro which remains in European taxpayers accounts...

The money is being siphoned to certain pockets, amongst them those of Toria Nuland, who seems to be going to be implied in a corruption case in Ukraine, hence she resigned...according ot an excellent Spanish journalist...

Our infrastructures will continue falling, out of lack of investment and maintenance ( once BlackRock and the like controlling the borard of directors...) and being blown up, because what they need at Davos is a white page where to write human history anew, a scortched earth where to start from smithereens their desired full spectrum dictatorship...

To achieve that, they plan to end industry and agriculture, erase middle class, mass killing, mass starvation, mass poverty and misery, full out war, so that the serfs submit and pray for their Soylent Green...

Now, continue blaming the Russians .....instead of doing something for your lives...joining all the millions of already damaged in Eurasia....

Posted by: Ghost of Mozgovoy | Mar 26 2024 15:10 utc | 68

I need more information but this smells

I don't buy that this incident was an accident or America is further down the tubes than I have thought.

But hey, the US markets are up so all is well in financialization land.....just a scratch.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 26 2024 15:21 utc | 69

I still remember when parts of an AmTrak train going towards Mobile Alabama went swimming. The barge was so off course on a different channel when it hit the bridge. A friend was in a hospital getting diagnosed for cancer when the tidal wave of patients arrived. My condolences to all.

Posted by: paxmark1 | Mar 26 2024 15:22 utc | 70

Read just a few minutes ago about possibility that Crocus attack was FF carried out by Putin to gin up support for full-on war on Ukraine
Posted by: anonymous | Mar 26 2024 15:07 utc | 66

You mean Putin winning over 80% in the recent election wasn’t enough? Ridiculous.

Posted by: KMRIA | Mar 26 2024 15:23 utc | 71

On recovery, they have "extreme lift" capabilities on the Gulf Coast, like picking up the entire top sides of an offshore platform and setting it on it's superstructure. The main delay will be getting that equipment up to Baltimore. They can probably grab major sections with a single pick. They may use explosives to cut away sections. There's also underwater robots or likely divers that will be involved.

"Once the equipment is onsite, if properly planned, perhaps a week of work to demo, but a good team should be able to get it cleared in two weeks. Planning the demo and survey will be major elements."

Posted by: JackG | Mar 26 2024 14:48 utc | 61

Years ago I was a handicapper/bookie.

I would put the over/under for getting it cleared at 6 weeks, not two weeks.

We'll find out.

Posted by: canuck | Mar 26 2024 15:38 utc | 72

Posted by: ge0m0 | Mar 26 2024 13:54 utc | 41

Thanks for that well-informed post.

I cannot help but wonder, bridge logistics aside, what could cause a system wide power failure, twice, on such a large vessel. Do they not have any backup power (secondary generators)? Can such a thing be triggered remotely? Of course there may well be an innocent explanation, but also there might be other causes...

How often do these large vessels experience power failures?

Posted by: Scorpion | Mar 26 2024 15:38 utc | 73

I predict that many will blame their favorite scapegoat: Jews, Muslims, Russia, China, the Man in the Moon ....

Posted by: lester | Mar 26 2024 15:48 utc | 74

As soon as the navigational equipment failed, the ship's engines should have been taken out of gear so all forward momentum would begin to halt way before the bridge.

That's a massive cost. The ship's insurer is going to go bankrupt after all the legal dealings. Tough times coming for Baltimore, Maryland, and all the workers affected.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 26 2024 15:48 utc | 75

The route of the ship is very odd. The ship is on a straight course under the center of the bridge. Then it is steered into the support. Perhaps power is cut off AFTER the course change to prevent a recovery.

MV Dali is a single screw vessel. If the vessel was backing down (screw reversing) the vessel will tend to careen (walk out to the side at the rear). Also keep in mind the Pilot or Master dropped an anchor.

Posted by: Frithguild | Mar 26 2024 15:53 utc | 76

@Ship was Hacked | Mar 26 2024 15:43 utc | 76

OMG, you can't say that. Like the woman with the high voltage haircut said "no Ukrainian involvement, period!" Please find good suspects next time. A Chinese balloon, Putin's dolphins, something.

Posted by: rk | Mar 26 2024 15:55 utc | 77

Why there was not a more robust pier protection structure to handle that impact is going to be key in the coming investigation.
Posted by: ge0m0 | Mar 26 2024 13:54 utc | 41

UK Consultant here; MICE MIStructE. I design protection structures for and against exactly these types of ships.

Totally agree. What happened with the designers' risk assessment? There must have been built a robust concrete pier, virtually indestructible by any type of vessel, including submarines and bulbuous bow ones. For berthing its okay to have lines of fenders. But for vessels in motion - you treat each one as a potential destructor.

Posted by: dandyandy | Mar 26 2024 15:56 utc | 78

Considering the massive cost associated with this, why not ALWAYS have harbor tugs with ships capable of causing this degree of damage? Failure of process- this should have taken more than one failure (the ship's control) to get such a catastrophe. Someone should have realized this possibility and had multiple measures in place to prevent it. You can't 100% prevent anything, but you can make it extremely unlikely. This was one engine failure away for who knows how long.

Posted by: muttman | Mar 26 2024 16:05 utc | 79

I'm not an engineer but I do understand the basic design principles of structures and the bridge incorporated a major design flaw/omission.

Bridges over navigable waterways should ALWAYS treat each span between ajacent support columns as a separate, independent structure.

This bridge had a bastardised version of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
But whereas SHB has a single span arch, the Baltimore bridge had two intermediate columns at roughly 1/3 intervals beneath the main arch. Therefore, when the ship struck a column the entire arch collapsed because it's one piece and no longer had sufficient support. The next span collapsed because its arch structure was integrated with the main span.

The bridge was designed to be very light and "less expensive" than a bridge built with a separate self-supporting span between each pair of columns. Had it been built in the latter form then only the spans on either side of the struck column would have collapsed. With a bit of luck.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 26 2024 16:07 utc | 80

@JackG | Mar 26 2024 14:48 utc | 61

On recovery, they have "extreme lift" capabilities on the Gulf Coast, like picking up the entire top sides of an offshore platform and setting it on it's superstructure.
That requires barges and symmetrical loading. This mess probably needs to be cut in pieces and removed. Although significant size, it is much smaller than a topside.

The heaviest topside lifts were in the Norwegian shelf e.g. Statfjord gravity base platforms where the complete steel topside was mated to the concrete substructure in one operation.

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 16:09 utc | 81

Two of four remaining active Algol Class Fast Sealift Ships, SS Denebola and SS Antares (and perhaps also two or three other big Navy-associated troop and materiel transport ships, MV Charles L. Gilliland, SS Cape Wrath and SS Wright) are now likely trapped "behind" the collapsed bridge.

https://wikimapia.org/17919514/SS-Denebola-AKR-289-SS-Antares-AKR-294
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Charles_L._Gilliland
https://www.southbmore.com/2021/09/02/three-large-ships-left-the-inner-harbor-for-a-military-sealift-command-training-exercise/

The other two active Algol class ships are on the west coast and four more are mothballed somewhere in Texas and Louisiana.

These ships moved a LOT of stuff for both of the gulf wars back in the day, they say. So this will perhaps cause a temporary lack in fast moving military transport capacity across the Atlantic...

Posted by: DontKnowForSure | Mar 26 2024 16:15 utc | 82

Posted by: ge0m0 | Mar 26 2024 13:54 utc | 41

Many thanks for the solid info.

Posted by: Jane | Mar 26 2024 16:17 utc | 83

If this was electronic warfare would there be any way to establish that? Even if the circumstantial case could be beefed up beyond what is suggested so far on this thread that proves nothing. Is there an all-spectrum record of transmissions anywhere? Anyone know?

Posted by: oldhippie | Mar 26 2024 16:18 utc | 84

@karlof1 | Mar 26 2024 15:48 utc | 78

As soon as the navigational equipment failed, the ship's engines should have been taken out of gear so all forward momentum would begin to halt way before the bridge.
I believe the ship was moving at ~8 knots or so. There is simply no way to stop a loaded ship over a distance of a few hundred meters, the momentum is too big. The big question is what caused the rudder to change so much.

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 16:18 utc | 85

Does anyone else think this could have been caused by cyber attackers effectively hacking into the vessels navigation software and directing it into the bridge?

Looking at the footage, the ship definitely seems to lurch to starboard and align itself with the bridge support just prior to impact. This negates the sudden loss of power hypothesis as any powered vessel cannot steer when not under power, indeed, the smoke billowing from the funnels could indicate that she was under full power when she hit.

No names, but in light of recent events, I can think of at least one state actor with the capability and the motive to do something like this.

The digital log will tell us more no doubt

Posted by: Sir Keef | Mar 26 2024 16:21 utc | 86

@ge0m0 | Mar 26 2024 13:54 utc | 41

Why there was not a more robust pier protection structure to handle that impact is going to be key in the coming investigation.
Obviously a key point, totally agree. Although we know why, because it required an investment. It will be interesting to see if the authorities have been presented with a report saying the pier protection was inadequate, which it clearly was.

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 16:23 utc | 87

The live stream link opened with a Joe Biden ad. Nearly vomited.

The way the ship turned right into the pylon is weird, power failure or not, so I can sort of understand the rush to conspiracies.

Posted by: Marielle | Mar 26 2024 16:28 utc | 88

@Sir Keef | Mar 26 2024 16:21 utc | 90

Looks like a freak accident until someone shows some concrete evidence of foul play. I agree it looks strange with power cuts at the worst possible moment.

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 16:30 utc | 89

@ Posted by: ge0m0 | Mar 26 2024 13:54 utc | 41
Thanks, good review.

Added thoughts:

Harbor pilots do not actually touch ships controls. They advise and provide information on local currents, water depth, and obstacles.
See U-tube videos of cruise ships. Those large ships can get into some very tight spots, although they have bow and stern thrusters, which regular cargo ships do not have.

Panamax plus ships have that designation due to their having to use the new locks on the Panama Canal. Panamax use the old locks.
Anything larger can't use the canal. Having a US East coast port use larger than Panamax plus is probably not cost effective, as a lot of your traffic uses the canal.

The bridge (per reports) was completed in 1974, started in 1970, and designed 2 or 3 years earlier. The computer analysis back then depended on punch cards interface, with minimal working memory storage. Just looking at the large box beam shape, tells you it is a design no longer used, due to large amount a steel surface areas exposed to corrosion over salt water.

A less expensive approach for future protection would be a long triangular seawall on either approach that would deflect a ship away from the pilings. Lots of rocks and shaped concrete, but easier than driving pilings.

Posted by: BroncoBilly | Mar 26 2024 16:30 utc | 90

Captain of the ship that hit the bridge is a citizen of Ukraine.

Are they expressing their frustration on alternative bridges, due to being unable to hit the Kerch bridge?

https://twitter.com/ArthurM40330824/status/1772661121326923995

Posted by: unimperator | Mar 26 2024 16:34 utc | 91

I think of the crimean brindge in Ukraine. Was the accident in Baltimore a mistake on the part of the helmsman?

Posted by: dieter Muench | Mar 26 2024 12:11 utc | 4

The Crimea Bridge is not in the Ukraine!

Posted by: Moscow Exile | Mar 26 2024 16:38 utc | 92

The captain of the ship that took out the Francis Scott Key bridge is Ukrainian.

It's at the bottom of the Telegram

Francis Scott Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner. The universe has a dark sense of humor.

Posted by: lex talionis | Mar 26 2024 16:44 utc | 93

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 26 2024 16:30 utc | 93
Yup. (for now)

Posted by: unimperator | Mar 26 2024 16:34 utc | 95
Almost funny. Bet the MSM will give that little mention.

Posted by: knighthawk | Mar 26 2024 16:46 utc | 94

@ Posted by: Ahenobarbus | Mar 26 2024 15:07 utc | 67

My God, stopping repeating pointless politician talking points.
It is mainly the large city east cost pols who talk about crumbling infrastructure. The reason it is crumbling is because their STATE doesn't maintain it well enough, and dumps tons of corrosive salt on it in the wintertime.

Meanwhile the rest of the country has had countless miles on interstate, near interstate, and divided state highways added since "the 60's".

Get a road map from say, 1980, compare it to 2000, and then to today. Whole lengths of interstate are there today that simply weren't around 20 and 40 years ago.

Posted by: BroncoBilly | Mar 26 2024 16:51 utc | 95

I don’t see how the loss of power could cause the loss of steering.

The hydraulic rams for the rudder wouldn’t lose pressure right after a power loss. So, they should have still been able to steer.

Perhaps the power loss is a symptom, that whatever affected the steering gear also cause the power outage.

In any case, I’d need diagrams of the ships systems, but the sequence of events in cause and effect is not clear.

Posted by: ICPtaskimg | Mar 26 2024 16:52 utc | 96

“Posted by: ge0m0 | Mar 26 2024 13:54 utc | 41”

Let me add my thanks to the numerous well-deserved thanks you’ve already received. In the open threads, b says “contribute facts” and boy, did you ever hit the nail on the head, with a sledge hammer. Thank you. Your comments should be on the news, not just here.

I was also rather surprised and concerned that the entire bridge collapsed. During some earthquake in California some years ago, a bridge (I don’t remember the name, I only remember the picture) was affected when one single span collapsed. It had no effect whatsoever on the rest of the bridge. Watching this video, I was expecting to see one span collapse, not the entire bridge! As a non-engineer, I would have called that bad design, but I’ll defer to you, a real engineer.

Another thing I noticed, the second time I watched it, because I paid special attention: you can see traffic on the bridge, cars and trucks zipping back and forth before the collision. For some reason, it looks like there was no traffic at all on the bridge at the point when it fell. Was that just coincidence, or am I wrong, or did someone / something stop the traffic when the collision was imminent?

Posted by: Dalit | Mar 26 2024 16:53 utc | 97

Treat this as an event investigation.

Critical thinking.

Why did the ship depart safe course?

Weeks before that will be answer.

Next why: tbd.

Do not rule out hack!

Chance occurrence is too remote!

Posted by: paddy | Mar 26 2024 16:56 utc | 98

b,

" Probably a primary rudder machine failure followed by difficulties to activate the secondary. "

Thank you for an enlightening perspective re your comment.

Posted by: Jim N | Mar 26 2024 17:00 utc | 99

Don't know if it applies for whoever insured this ship but insurers tend to insure themselves against the unforeseen so as to not go out of business when something like this happens.

· · · · ·

Regardless one can optimistically hope this wasn't an accident. There is no reason why any shipping should reach the US, the UK, or Israel, or to be completely fair: anywhere.

If it was on purpose maybe it was a more effective solution than plowing into the harbor itself and sinking the ship there.

There's an old comment about that from a few years back. As little as a hundred ships could maybe be enough to kill all main US ports.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Mar 26 2024 17:00 utc | 100

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