Baltimore, MD - Container Ship Strikes Francis Scott Key Bridge - Mass Casualty Situation

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Here’s a gift article from the New York Times that may be useful to folks like @SLouTh who are thinking about the physics involved in the event: Force of Ship Collision Was on the Scale of a Rocket Launch
Amazing.
Thanks for the link !

For a nine year old ship -- as has been pointed out, it shouldn't have been having the electrical and steering problems , it wasn't an old vessel.
Obviously the investigation is far from over.
But from the video of its' losing power, and then the lights coming back on -- it looks more like the shipping companies' fault and not necessarily the temp. pilot or the crew ?
Omo.
 

Some points of interest over how the lawsuits will be handled.

There are seemingly (imo) archaic laws that are still in place :


U.S. courts have interpreted a 1927 U.S. Supreme Court ruling to mean that any purely economic damages from maritime incidents can’t be recovered from the ship’s owners and operators, Davies and other experts said.
But if evidence shows that the
shipowners were somehow at fault for the crash, they could lose the ability to limit their liability, the experts said.

Questions have arisen about the Dali's condition when it hit the pylon and problems identified during previous inspections, which could come into play as a court evaluates whether to limit the damages, said Simmons.
“If there was any indication that the ship had pre-existing issues, these guys are not going to get out on a limitation of liability,” he said.

Red bolding mine.

Possibly this was more of a ship issue, than the pilots mistake, or the bridge being unstable.

Should this ship have been in service ?
Hopefully the owners : Synergy, Grace Ocean, and Maersk, are allowing a thorough inspection of the ship which is still afloat ... abeit damaged.

I say this as they're declining to comment as of now :

Representatives for Synergy and Maersk declined to comment on the potential for litigation. Efforts to reach a spokesperson for Grace Ocean were not successful.

Not surprising as litigation is going to take time !

Instead, lawsuits would be limited to injuries, death and property damage or losses, such as claims from the people harmed by the collapse or claims over the damage to the bridge itself, likely brought by government entities.

Not the least of which would be -- loss of life !
It'd cost them pennies -- for Maersk to offer a settlement to the families of the deceased.

If they had a malfunctioning ship in their fleet this will prob. be revealed during the investigation.

Job losses within and without the port area is going to be considerable.
This could be considered being, "harmed by the collapse" ?
Omo.
 
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If there is a new bridge it will probably be 15-20 years from now.

Jmo

Baltimore's economy might be hit hard.
It is a city characterized by booming biomed industry that creates jobs, but attracts highly educated people, often outside, and poor local neighborhoods. The port is a place that provides jobs for the blue collar sector. Baltimore was just beginning to get out of an economically complex situation, now it is back into it again.
 

Crews will try to work quickly so the search for the missing victims can resume and a cargo channel critical to the local and national economies can reopen, authorities said.

“I don’t think we’re talking days, I don’t think we’re talking months … I think we’re talking weeks,” said Scott Spellmon, commanding general of the US Army Corps of Engineers, of the cleanup effort and the reopening of the channel. “I just can’t put a number on it yet until we get our analysis complete.”
 

Crews will try to work quickly so the search for the missing victims can resume and a cargo channel critical to the local and national economies can reopen, authorities said.

“I don’t think we’re talking days, I don’t think we’re talking months … I think we’re talking weeks,” said Scott Spellmon, commanding general of the US Army Corps of Engineers, of the cleanup effort and the reopening of the channel. “I just can’t put a number on it yet until we get our analysis complete.”
Sounds about right. Isn’t there a second crane coming in? They’ll have the channel cleared to resume shipping in a matter of weeks. The port will probably still operate while a new bridge is being built. They’ll probably find ways to work around it.

The longer term problem will be with auto and truck traffic congestion and delays.
 
A crane has arrived, and the torches are beginning to cut. (starts at about 0:55)
Talk of helping workers while laid off. Feds may provide Maryland extra help, I suppose to supplement unemployment insurance.

President Roosevelt created the federal unemployment insurance fund in 1935 as part of the Social Security Act

 
One of the huge takeaways from that article is difference in the amount of force created by the difference in the speed of the vessel.

Force needed to stop the loaded vessel at:

Higher speed (covering the distance in 2 sec) = 230 Newtons force

Medium speed ( covering the distance in 4 sec) = 115 Newtons force

Low speed (covering the distance in 38 sec) = 12 Newtons force

Just as the difference in damage to a stationary object hit by a car at 120 mph, 60mph, and maybe 5 mph.

This might have to be the interim compromise for heavy and large or unwieldy channel traffic: Speed limit reduced significantly to something like 1 knot rather than 8 knots for bridge passages.

(I believe 8 knots is the current harbor speed limit for all watercraft)
Speed is limited to 6 knots or less from Fort McHenry on toward the Inner Harbor (called a no wake zone). Once you pass Fort McHenry heading out of the Harbor toward the Key Bridge speed is not restricted. In other words - you are not required to travel at no wake speed when approaching/boating under the bridge.

Of course I am speaking for pleasure crafts. We regularly travel under the bridge “on plane” which for us means around 22 knots.
 
Eta:
Here's the filing where the company, Grace Ocean Private Ltd., asks to cap its liability at $43 million: https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.mdd.556480/gov.uscourts.mdd.556480.1.0.pdf



The owner of the ship that toppled Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge appears to be seeking to cap the amount of damages that the company can be forced to pay following the deadly crash.

The Singapore-based Grace Ocean Private Ltd. indicated it will file a “limitation of liability” action in federal court Monday, invoking a little-known statute used in maritime law.

The filing itself is not yet available, but a docket in U.S. District Court in Maryland showed the company has initiated an action involving limitation of liability, a key move that maritime lawyers said would be likely to take place soon after the disaster.


Under the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, ship owners can try to stanch the flood of claims after a maritime accident and limit their exposure to the value of the vessel plus its “pending freight.” If successful, the move means Grace Ocean Private Ltd. will be on the hook for far less money than the cost of rebuilding the Key Bridge or other major claims.

At minimum, though, the owner will have to put up a fund of at least $420 per ton, or nearly $40 million, because this case involves personal injury and death claims. Two construction workers who were on the bridge when it collapsed were found dead in a pickup truck in the Patapsco River; four more are presumed dead and two other workers survived the crash. Members of the ship’s crew were reported safe.

Once the limitation of liability action is filed, all pending litigation against the ship would be halted and the case would be brought into federal court, where maritime legal issues are handled. People who wish to make claims against the ship would have a set period of time to do so.

 
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Although we must await the investigation, IMO there will be negligence by the Dali's owner. The Dali has 2 auxiliary diesel generators for emergency power, yet both failed. The information on the Dali's equipment is listed here: MV Dali - Wikipedia

IMO, the auxiliary generators weren't tested or maintained, perhaps along with the fuel tanks. As far as limitation of liability action is concerned, I think negligence might affect that strategy.
 
Salvage of the Dali on hold due to a high pressure gas line on the bottom beneath the ship
[Y]esterday operations were paused indefinitely. The concern came during the due diligence process when salvage engineers discovered a high-pressure gas line near the wreckage. According to one source, both the Department of Transportation’s US Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have been notified.

A pipeline safety expert from PHMSA confirmed concerns about a particular pipeline. They informed us, off the record, that the operator was notified and the pipeline has been isolated and depressurized. PHMSA records indicate that the pipeline, which carries natural gas under high pressure, is owned by Baltimore Gas And Electric (BGE). It remains unclear when BGE was alerted and when the pipeline was shut down.

Despite the shutdown, salvage teams aren’t willing to further risk the ship, the crew, and their own members. They require a review of the undersea documents and a survey of the pipeline before resuming.
gas-line-key-bridge.jpeg
 
Salvage of the Dali on hold due to a high pressure gas line on the bottom beneath the ship

[Y]esterday operations were paused indefinitely. The concern came during the due diligence process when salvage engineers discovered a high-pressure gas line near the wreckage. According to one source, both the Department of Transportation’s US Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have been notified.

A pipeline safety expert from PHMSA confirmed concerns about a particular pipeline. They informed us, off the record, that the operator was notified and the pipeline has been isolated and depressurized. PHMSA records indicate that the pipeline, which carries natural gas under high pressure, is owned by Baltimore Gas And Electric (BGE). It remains unclear when BGE was alerted and when the pipeline was shut down.

Despite the shutdown, salvage teams aren’t willing to further risk the ship, the crew, and their own members. They require a review of the undersea documents and a survey of the pipeline before resuming.
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Thank goodness for “due diligence”. It’s not a old fashioned idea to go by the rule book in these situations instead of rushing in to begin moving the ship.
 
Although we must await the investigation, IMO there will be negligence by the Dali's owner. The Dali has 2 auxiliary diesel generators for emergency power, yet both failed. The information on the Dali's equipment is listed here: MV Dali - Wikipedia

IMO, the auxiliary generators weren't tested or maintained, perhaps along with the fuel tanks. As far as limitation of liability action is concerned, I think negligence might affect that strategy.

It is a well-known fact that sometimes it is even hard to understand who is the true owner of the ship. At the same time, container transportations might be lucrative because of oil shipment. I won’t be shocked if the owner of Dali has a lot of money.
 
Always call the gas company before you dig.

Even under 50 feet of water in the middle of a navigational channel :D[

Can you imagine what would have happened if the ship's keel had ruptured that high-pressure gas line, too?:eek:

I was always laughing at the aesthetics of small towns in my motherland, imagine the whole town decorated with such pipelines, and they are always yellow. But now I am asking myself, perhaps it make sense, if safer and easier accessible?
 

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I was always laughing at the aesthetics of small towns in my motherland, imagine the whole town decorated with such pipelines, and they are always yellow. But now I am asking myself, perhaps it make sense, if safer and easier accessible?

Does everyone end up using them to hang laundry on to dry? I can certainly see that happening.
 
Does everyone end up using them to hang laundry on to dry? I can certainly see that happening.

Yes, or hanging up swings, or even using as an open air gym for pulling up… I think yellow is obligatory, but it looks “toxic waste yellow”, if you get my drift. I can see the situations when such pipes might be very dangerous (a lightning), and I still don’t know whether the speed of gasification or accessibility gave someone the idea?
 

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