Electric failure at the centre of NTSB probe into Baltimore bridge collapse


NTSB has asked for additional assistance from Hyundai, the manufacturer of equipment in Dali’s engine room, as part of the investigation into the Baltimore bridge collapse.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is gathering data on the electrical power system of the MV Dali containership as part of the initial stage of investigation into the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, which has claimed the lives of six people.

The Key Bridge fell into the water on March 26 after one of its beams was struck by Singapore-flagged Dali, owned by Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and managed by Synergy Marine.

In a recent nomination hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy said the investigators needed assistance from Hyundai to gather more information about what was happening in the engine room at the time of the collision.

“We are just beginning our investigation into the incident,” said Homendy. “Our investigators are on the scene and are working closely with Hyundai, the manufacturer of equipment in the engine room, to download data from the electrical power system and examine the circuit breakers. That is where our focus is right now in this investigation.”

As disclosed, NTSB and its investigators are also looking at the original bridge design of the vessel and how it would be built today in line with the current standards.

“Of course that is preliminary and the investigation could take different paths as we continue our activities,” she added.

NTSB has retrieved the voyage data recorder from the vessel (VDR), which, according to Homendy, provides very brief information on what was going on in the engine room at the time of the incident.

The preliminary report from NTSB on the accident is expected by the end of May.

Meanwhile, the Unified Command, in charge of the salvage operation, continues to remove containers onboard M/V Dali and clear bridge wreckage at the Key Bridge incident site.

“As of April 11, approximately 38 containers have been removed. The removal of these containers is a critical step required to safely move the M/V Dali and eventually fully re-open the Fort McHenry Channel. Removing containers allows for safe access to then remove the pieces of the Key Bridge that lie across the ship’s bow, taking weight off the ship and ultimately enabling the ship’s movement,” the command said in an update.

In parallel, wreckage and debris removal continued at the site, including breaking up of submerged roadbed from span 19, and the removal of a section of span 17. The rubble and debris have been taken to Sparrows Point, Maryland for processing and recycling. While marine traffic is still limited, 69 vessels have transited through since the creation of the temporary alternate channels.

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