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Update 6 Multimedia Release: Unified Command opens second temporary alternate channel around Key Bridge wreckage for commercially essential vessels


Tuesday, April 2, 2024

  

BALTIMORE – The Captain of the Port (COTP) established a second temporary alternate channel on the southwest side of the main channel near Hawkins Point in the vicinity of the Francis Scott Key Bridge for commercially essential vessels.


This action is part of a phased approach to opening the main channel. The second temporary channel is marked with government lighted aids to navigation and will be limited to transit at the discretion of the COTP and during daylight hours only. It has a controlling depth of 14 feet, a 280-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 124 feet.


U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) Baltimore drops buoy channel markers in the Patapsco River in Baltimore, Maryland, April 2, 2024. ANT crews use these buoys to mark the new temporary alternate channel for commercially essential vessels during the Key Bridge Response. (Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command video by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Carmen Caver)


“The opening of these two alternate channels and transit of critical response resources, as well as the first commercial traffic movements through the area, is a significant milestone in our response efforts,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Baxter Smoak, operations section chief of the Key Bridge Response 2024. “Our number one priority remains the opening of the deep draft channel. We are simultaneously focused on opening additional routes of increased capacity as we move forward.”


The current 2,000-yard safety zone around the Francis Scott Key Bridge remains in effect and is intended to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment. Members of the public may not enter the safety zone unless authorized by the COTP or designated representative. Those in the safety zone must comply with all lawful orders or directions given to them by the COTP or designated representative.


The COTP issued a Broadcast Notice to Mariners (BNM) via VHF-FM marine channel 16. Mariners are requested to monitor channel 16 for the latest information.


A Debris Reporting Hotline has been established. If the public encounters any debris from the incident, please contact +1 (410) 205-6625


The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command includes the:

U.S. Coast Guard 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Maryland Department of the Environment 

Maryland Transportation Authority

Maryland State Police

Witt O’Brien’s representing Synergy Marine


A website with incident response information can be found at the following URL: 


For updated information on the status of the maritime transportation system visit the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland - National Capital Region Homeport page: https://homeport.uscg.mil/port-directory/maryland-ncr


The media is requested to call the Joint Information Center at +1 (410) 631-8939 for interview response inquiries and interviews.


Resources are available for businesses and individuals impacted by the Port closure: Benefit Line for Port of Baltimore Workers: +1 (667) 930-5989


Disaster Loan Assistance: https://lending.sba.gov  


The Unified Command’s operational priorities are ensuring the safety of the public and first responders, accountability of missing persons, safely restoring transportation infrastructure and commerce, protecting the environment, and supporting the investigation.


U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) Baltimore drops buoy channel markers in the Patapsco River in Baltimore, Maryland, April 2, 2024. ANT crews use these buoys to mark the new temporary alternate channel for commercially essential vessels during the Key Bridge Response. (Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command photo by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Carmen Caver)


U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) Baltimore works together to load buoy channel markers on a small-boat in the Patapsco River in Baltimore, Maryland, April 2, 2024. ANT crews use these buoys to mark the new temporary alternate channel for commercially essential vessels during the Key Bridge Response. (Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command photo by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Carmen Caver)


U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) Baltimore  Navigation Team pulls chains connected to buoy channel markers while onloading buoys at a boat ramp in Baltimore, Maryland, April 2, 2024. ANT crews use these buoys to mark the new temporary alternate channel for commercially essential vessels during the Key Bridge Response. (Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command photo by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Carmen Caver)

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