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Cargo ship carrying hazardous materials collapses Baltimore bridge causes controversy

Kaicie Boeglin

News Editor

Six missing construction workers are presumed dead after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore. On Tuesday March 26, at around 1:30 a.m, the Dali cargo ship mysteriously lost power and rammed into a bridge support column, dismantling it in seconds. 

The ship issued a mayday call moments before the terrifying crash. Local authorities were able to limit vehicle traffic on the 1.6 mile long bridge but were not able to evacuate the bridge before the collapse. In the viral video puffs of black smoke can be seen as the ship's lights flickered on and off before striking the bridge support beam. Col. Roland L. Butler Jr. Superintendent for Maryland State Police issued that the search and rescue mission was transitioning to a search and recovery 24 hours after the collapse. The six missing people are part of a construction crew that was working on the bridge filling potholes; two of which were citizens of the Central American Nation. Lea Skene with AP News notes their names have not been shared but consular officials are in contact with authorities and assisting the families. Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, a Honduran man is also missing according to Honduras’ Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio García. On X the Washington Consulate of Mexico said that citizens of the nation were also among the missing without stating how many. This tragedy calls for attention to the growing Latino labor force and the risks that they face.

AP Photo by Mark Schiefelbein

A senior executive at the company who employed the construction workers told multiple news outlets on the afternoon of Mach. 26, that the workers were presumed dead given the depth and how much time had passed. This announcement had been made prior to the search and rescue becoming a search and recovery.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Jennifer Homendy went on record stating the cargo ship had 56 containers on board of hazardous materials. These materials included corrosives, flammables and lithium ion batteries. She reported some containers had been breached and that there was a sheen in the water that will be dealt with by authorities. According to the NTSB, the investigation of the cargo ship can take 12 to 24 months but they will not hesitate to issue urgent safety recommendations for the area during this time.

The impact of this collapse is diverting shipping and trucking around one of the biggest ports on the East Coast, creating delays and raising costs in the latest disruption to global supply chains. The port is the largest entry point in the U.S. for foreign cars and trucks, as well as the second largest port for coal. At this time Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg claims it is too soon to know how long it will take to reopen the port and replace the bridge.


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