Alternate Channel Opened for Ships Helping With ‘Cleanup Effort’ in Baltimore

The U.S. Coast Guard has opened a temporary, alternate channel for vessels in the clearing of debris at the site of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

Officials said the temporary channel is open only to vessels that are helping with the cleanup effort.

“This marks an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore,” Capt. David O’Connell, the federal on-scene coordinator of the response, said in a statement Monday. “By opening this alternate route, we will support the flow of marine traffic into Baltimore.”

Officials earlier said the channel would have a controlling depth of 11 feet (over 3 meters), a horizontal clearance of 264 feet (80 meters) and a vertical clearance of 96 feet (29 meters).

Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed after being hit by a cargo ship last week, sending at least eight people from a construction crew into the water as a large section of the bridge crashed into the Patapsco River. 

According to Baltimore Mayor Wes Moore, the ship, traveling at a rapid speed of about eight knots, lost power in the moments before it struck the bridge.