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In the early hours of a brisk March 26th morning, tragedy struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, as a Maersk-operated 2M Alliance container vessel, the Dali, collided with a support pylon, causing the bridge’s collapse and plunging at least 20 individuals into the Patapsco River. The incident, described as a “mass-casualty incident” by authorities, sent shockwaves through the maritime industry and raised significant concerns about the safety and efficiency of global trade routes. From what we can initially gather, the Dali sent a mayday call, allowing authorities to stop bridge traffic and likely saving dozens, if not hundreds, of lives. 

The Dali, a 2015-built vessel with a capacity of 9,962 TEU, was less than 30 minutes into its backhaul voyage to Asia when the collision occurred. The vessel’s itinerary, part of Maersk’s Asia-US east coast TP12 loop and MSC’s Empire service, has been disrupted, with cargo insurers warning of inevitable delays and losses.

Marine cargo insurer WK Webster cautioned Maersk’s customers about the likelihood of significant cargo loss and damage. Lars Jensen of Vespucci Maritime highlighted the impact of the bridge collapse on container terminals and cargo facilities, with cargo traffic now being rerouted to other ports in the region.

This tragic event comes on the heels of another maritime incident, raising concerns about vessel safety and navigation protocols. Just ten days ago, the YM Witness collided with the quay in Turkey, destroying three ship-to-shore gantry cranes.

Maersk has expressed deep concern over the incident and is closely monitoring investigations. Meanwhile, the global trade community is grappling with the implications of disrupted supply chains and heightened safety measures.

As authorities investigate the cause of the collision, the maritime industry must prioritize safety protocols and invest in infrastructure improvements to prevent similar incidents. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this devastating event.

Bobby Shaida

Author Bobby Shaida

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