Intelligence report there – accident in Baltimore: first clues to the cause

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After the serious accident in the city of Baltimore in the US state of Maryland, in which a container ship rammed a highway bridge, there are clues as to the cause. The ship’s controls failed shortly before impact.

Ship tracking website Marine Traffic showed the container ship Dali coming to rest under the bridge over the Patapsco River. As it left port, the ship’s propulsion stopped, ABC News reported, citing unclassified U.S. intelligence documents. The crew informed authorities that the ship was unable to maneuver.

The power went out twice
Images circulating on social media show that the entire ship’s power failed twice shortly before the collision. The freighter then rams a bridge pier, which collapses, after which the entire steel structure warps in a wave movement and falls in parts into the Patapsco.

Emergency call enabled warning for drivers
Maryland Governor Wes Moore said the distress signal from the ship’s crew allowed authorities to restrict traffic on the highway bridge before the ship largely collapsed it. According to the authorities, there is absolutely no question of terrorism. US President Joe Biden said there is no reason to believe the accident was due to malicious intent. Moore emphasized that the preliminary investigation points to an accident.

There were still a few cars on the bridge when it collapsed. There were also workers there at night carrying out concrete repairs, State Transport Minister Paul Wiedefeld explained. At least seven vehicles and several people fell into the icy water. So far, rescuers have pulled two surviving construction workers from the Patapsco. According to local authorities, one was in very serious condition and is in hospital. We are currently looking for six more people. To rescue as many survivors as possible from the nine-degree Celsius cold river, the fire brigade, rescuers from the US Coast Guard and a diving team are present.

“Like something out of an action movie”
The governor of Maryland declared a state of emergency on Tuesday. This makes it possible for the government to take relief measures in nearby Washington. Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott called it an “incredible tragedy” and horrific images “like something out of an action movie.” The most important thing now must be to find the missing people and support those affected and their families, he told reporters.

The crew of the ship, which flew the flag of Singapore, was in good health, according to its owners. There were no injuries on board, the statement said. The cause of the collision has yet to be determined.

Shipping company: “We are shocked”
According to data from provider LSEG, the container ship is the ‘Dali’, which sails under the flag of Singapore. She was chartered by the Maersk shipping company and was scheduled to leave the port of Baltimore for Colombo on Tuesday morning. She would arrive there on April 22. “We are shocked by what happened in Baltimore,” Maersk said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all those affected.” The ship would be almost 290 meters long.

The 1.6-mile, four-lane Francis Scott Key Bridge spanned the Patapsco River as part of Interstate 695 southwest of downtown Baltimore. It was opened in 1977 in the industrial and port city on the east coast of the US and is used by more than eleven million vehicles annually.

Gate blocked
Baltimore is the busiest U.S. port for car shipping. Nearly 850,000 cars and light trucks were handled there in 2023, according to the Maryland government. Automakers that handle imports and exports through Baltimore include Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen. More than forty ships had to remain in port after the collapse. At least thirty ships were still en route to Baltimore.

Source: Krone

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