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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 July 2024

Crews prepare for controlled demolition on Dali to remove Key bridge structure

The Singapore-flagged Dali is owned by Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and managed by Synergy Marine Group

PTI New York Published 12.05.24, 06:53 PM
Representational Image

Representational Image File photo

Crews are preparing to use controlled explosives to demolish a large piece of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge atop the cargo vessel Dali that has been stranded since March in Baltimore with its crew of 20 Indians and one Sri Lankan onboard after it collided against the bridge.

The Key Bridge Response Unified Command is scheduled to use precision cuts made with small charges to remove a large section of the bridge wreckage from on top of the Dali.

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The Key Bridge Response Unified Command said in a statement that the safest and swiftest method to remove the bridge piece from on top of the Dali is by “precision cuts made with small charges. This is an industry-standard tool in controlled demolition that will break the span into smaller pieces, which will allow the work of refloating the vessel and removing it from the federal channel." The 2.6-km-long, four-lane Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River came crashing down on March 26 after the 984-foot ship ‘Dali’ collided against it. The crew onboard the Dali included 20 Indians and one Sri Lankan. The crew has been on the ship since the accident and has been cooperating with the investigation.

The exact time of the precision cuts will depend on multiple environmental and operational factors.

Authorities said that the small charges, a standard controlled demolition tool, will split the large section of truss at specific locations to create multiple, smaller sections, which allows salvors to use cranes and barges already on scene to remove these sections of the bridge and ultimately remove the Dali from the channel.

"We remain focused on restoring the Marine Transportation System, while ensuring the protection of the public and the environment,” said Capt. David O’Connell, Key Bridge Response Federal On-Scene Coordinator. “By using precision cuts, we reduce risks to our personnel and can safely and efficiently continue clearing the channel for the Port of Baltimore.” The Key Bridge Response Unified Command coordinated with Maryland Department of Emergency Management to issue a cellular notification ahead of the controlled demolition to maximize awareness to the communities near the bridge.

The Unified Command has advised that hearing protection is not required outside of the 2,000-yard noise radius. Sound levels outside of the noise radius will be no louder than a standard fireworks show and will last 2-5 seconds.

Similar methods were previously used in the area for the controlled demolition of the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge in March 2023 in Charles County, Maryland.

Last month, US authorities opened a criminal investigation into the Baltimore bridge collapse incident that is also looking into whether the ship’s crew, which included Indians, left the port “knowing the vessel had serious systems problems.” The Washington Post had reported that the FBI opened the criminal investigation "focusing on the massive container ship that brought down the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore last month — a probe that will look at least in part at whether the crew left the port knowing the vessel had serious systems problems.” The Singapore-flagged Dali is owned by Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and managed by Synergy Marine Group.

In the days following the accident, US authorities had begun interviewing personnel, including the Indian crew members, onboard Dali. Synergy Group had said in a statement that the NTSB boarded the vessel on Wednesday and collected documents, voyage data recorder extracts, and other evidence as part of their investigation.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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