U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) Baltimore drops buoy channel markers in the Patapsco River in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 2. (Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command photo by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Carmen Caver)

The Captain of the Port 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 on April 2. The channel is marked with government lighted navigation aids and will be limited to transit at the direction of the COPT during daylight hours only. It has a controlling depth of 14 feet, a 280-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 124 feet.

“The opening of these two alternate channels … 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 Small Business Administration has now set up a second Business Resource Center at a temporary location in Baltimore County, with plans to move to a permanent location in the near future.

The CareFirst Engagement Center office located at 1501 S Clinton St. in Suite #100 in Baltimore is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Dundalk Renaissance Center office located at 11 Center Place in Dundalk is also open from Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Intergovernmental Economic Response Team established by Gov. Wes Moore held its first meeting on April 2, headed by Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller.

Additionally, Moore’s team has offered several amendments to the Port Act legislation before the General Assembly. These include a proposal to create a permanent scholarship program for the families of transportation workers who die on the job; flexibility in work search requirements for unemployment insurance to ensure that port workers who receive unemployment insurance will be ready to return to work at the port when operations return to normal; and flexibility for the Maryland Departments of Commerce and Labor to make funding available for the critical needs of workers and businesses moving forward.

“We can’t find every answer to every problem in the next few days before the session ends, but we can give the state the ability to respond quickly over these next months,” Moore said, adding that he signed an executive order to extend the legislative session by 10 days to give the legislature more time to consider and approve his budget.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said the MTA is using the unscheduled closure of the Port to move ahead with planned maintenance projects to take advantage of the minimal impact they will now have on Port activities.

He added that two Carnival Cruise ships scheduled to return to Baltimore were at sea at the time of the bridge collapse. Approximately 60 buses transported roughly 2,500 Carnival Cruise passengers back to the Maryland Cruise Terminal from Norfolk, Va., on March 31.

“Everything went smoothly,” Wiedefeld said. “The same thing will happen with 2,500 Royal Caribbean passengers scheduled to arrive in Norfolk on April 4.”

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply