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New channel opens to aid commercial shipping amid Key Bridge cleanup

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BALTIMORE, MD—A new channel, the Fort McHenry Limited Access Channel, will open temporarily to allow commercial shipping traffic to continue while the M/V DALI is being removed from Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse site.

The new channel runs along the northeast side of the federal channel, allowing for larger ships, tugs, and other vessels to pass through. The channel has a controlling depth of 35 feet, a 300-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 214 feet, according to a news release.

The limited access deep draft channel will be used to transit five deep draft vessels that are currently unable to leave the port, as well as smaller ships. The transits of these vessels are subject to weather conditions.

“We’re working to strike a balance between enabling temporary access to support commercial activity and undertaking necessary measures to fully reopen the Fort McHenry Channel,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. David O’Connell, Captain of the Port and Federal On-Scene Coordinator, Key Bridge Response 2024. “This limited access deep draft channel will provide a window for five of the deep draft vessels currently unable to depart the port as well as some smaller deep draft vessels to transit. Meanwhile, the Unified Command personnel continue to work full speed ahead to safely and efficiently finish operations.”

The current safety zone around the Francis Scott Key Bridge remains in effect, which restricts unauthorized access to the area for safety reasons.

This article was written with the assistance of AI and reviewed by a human editor.

Photo: The Limited Access Deep Draft Channel, has a controlling depth of 35 feet, a 300-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 214 feet, and will facilitate some larger deep draft vessels, large marine tugs, and MARAD vessels through the Port of Baltimore. Infographic courtesy of Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command.

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