Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Singapore Cooperation with US Investigators

Update Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Singapore Cooperation with US Investigators – The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26, 2024, was a tragic event that resulted from a collision with a Singapore-flagged container ship named Dali. This incident has drawn international attention, particularly due to the involvement of Singapore in the investigation and cooperation with US authorities.

The Dali, a 95,000 gross ton container vessel, was operating with 22 crew members onboard at the time of the incident. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) confirmed the collision with the bridge and stated that it was in contact with the US Coast Guard and the ship’s management company to provide necessary assistance. As the flag state, the MPA pledged full cooperation to the US Coast Guard in its investigations and also committed to conducting its own investigation into the incident.

Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Singapore Cooperation with US Investigators
Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Singapore Cooperation with US Investigators

The Dali was chartered by Maersk, a Danish shipping company, and was scheduled to depart Baltimore on March 26, 2024, and arrive at Colombo on April 22, 2024. The incident occurred at about 1.30 pm Singapore Time, and the ship was identified by LSEG ship tracking data as a Singapore-flagged container ship.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge, a significant structure in Baltimore, collapsed into the Patapsco River after the collision. The bridge, which opened in 1977 and cost an estimated US$60.3 million to build, was a critical infrastructure for the city, handling more than 750,000 vehicles in 2022 according to data from the Maryland Port Administration.

The incident has led to a search and rescue operation, with at least two people pulled from the water after the crash, one seriously wounded. Authorities feared that at least seven people were in the water, and sonar detected the presence of submerged vehicles. The search and rescue operation was described as a “mass-casualty, multi-agency event” that would extend for many days.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the United States is leading the investigation into the cause of the bridge collapse. The NTSB is a federal body responsible for investigating transportation accidents, including those involving ships and bridges. The incident is considered unusual but not unprecedented, with similar incidents occurring in other parts of the world, such as in China in 2023.

The Singapore-flagged Dali vessel involved in the incident had previously been involved in a separate incident in 2016. The ship’s pilots, who are local experts put on board for the last leg of the journey to navigate through narrow waterways and bridges, were considered to have a significant reduction in risk due to their experience.

The White House has expressed its concern over the incident, stating that it is “closely monitoring” the situation and offering its “hearts go out” to the families of those who are missing. Senior White House officials are in touch with the governor and mayor of Baltimore to offer any federal assistance needed. There is no indication of any nefarious intent behind the collision.

Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Singapore Cooperation with US Investigators
Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Singapore Cooperation with US Investigators

The incident has highlighted the importance of international cooperation in maritime safety and the role of flag states in supporting investigations into incidents involving their vessels. The Singapore-US collaboration in this case underscores the global nature of maritime safety and the interconnectedness of international maritime law and regulations.

Baltimore Bridge Collapse Update

  • Incident Details: The Dali, a 948-foot-long container ship, struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge at 1:27 a.m. ET, leading to the bridge’s collapse. The ship was departing Baltimore for Colombo, Sri Lanka, and all crew members were accounted for with no injuries reported on board.
  • Emergency Response: The US Coast Guard and multiple state and local agencies responded to the incident, deploying search and rescue units, including small boats and a helicopter. The Baltimore City Fire Department reported a “developing mass casualty event”.
  • Investigation and Cooperation: The US Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, spoke to Maryland Governor Wes Moore and Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott to coordinate rescue efforts. Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) has pledged full cooperation with the US Coast Guard in the investigation.
  • Structural Assessment: Officials from the Baltimore City Fire Department and the Maryland Transportation Authority are assessing the condition of the collapsed bridge, which has been in service for decades.
  • Casualties and Rescue Efforts: Initial reports indicated the search for “upwards of seven people” in the water, with two individuals already rescued, one in serious condition. The incident has been declared a mass casualty incident.
  • Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) Statement: The MPA has confirmed that there were 22 crew members on board the Dali at the time of the incident and stated that it would provide full cooperation to the US Coast Guard in its investigations.
  • International Cooperation: The incident underscores the importance of international cooperation in maritime incidents, highlighting the role of the flag state (Singapore) in supporting investigations involving its vessels.

Latest breaking news from around the world: Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Ship Collision

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