Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse: 1st cargo ship passes through newly opened channel

wreckage of collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge

BALTIMORE — The first cargo ship has passed through a newly opened deep-water channel near the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

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The Balsa 94 had been stuck in the harbor since the bridge’s collapse on March 26, according to the news agency. The ship, a bulk carrier sailing under a Panama flag, is one of five stranded vessels expected to use the new channel, the AP reported.

Over the weekend, officials announced the opening of a temporary shipping channel to allow commercial vessels access to the Port of Baltimore. It has a controlling depth of 20 feet, a 300-foot horizontal clearance and a vertical clearance of 135 feet.

Two other temporary channels were earlier opened to give commercially essential vessels access to the port.

The Port of Baltimore is a key automobile hub for the U.S. In 2023, it recorded its 13th-straight year as the top U.S. port for vehicles, with more than 847,000 handled, according to Maryland officials. It was the top port for automobiles, light trucks, farm and construction machinery, imported sugar and imported gypsum, officials said.

The Key Bridge collapsed into the Patapsco River after it was struck by a cargo ship early on March 26, blocking the shipping channel and leaving six people dead.

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