The Latest | Expert says bridge didn’t appear to have pier protection

The Latest on the ship crash that collapsed the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore (all times local):

The bridge did not appear to have pier protection to withstand the cargo ship crash, according to a professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Professor Roberto Leon, of Virginia Tech, said he reviewed the video of the crash Tuesday.

“If a bridge pier without adequate protection is hit by a ship of this size, there is very little that the bridge could do,” Leon said.

Maryland recently retrofitted another bridge with pier protection devices for about $100 million, he said.

It’s expensive, but the price would pale in comparison with expected losses from the damaged bridge, including additional miles driven, fuel and business costs, he said.


Cargo ship lost power and issued mayday before hitting Baltimore’s bridge, governor says

— A list of major US bridge collapses caused by ships and barges

— Live Updates at

— Find more of AP’s coverage at

More of the latest:


The most recent federal data shows the bridge was rated as being in fair condition overall before the crash.

The Federal Highway Administration rates bridges on the condition of their individual components. In a national bridge inventory released in June, inspectors rated the Key Bridge’s deck, substructure and superstructure — or the component that absorbs the live traffic load — as satisfactory.

The bridge carried an estimated 30,800 vehicles a day on average in 2019. According to the Maryland Transportation Authority, that translates to about 11.3 million vehicles a year across the bridge, which was built in the 1970s and was 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) long.


Synergy Marine, which operated the ship that hit the bridge, and the ship’s owner, Grace Ocean Private Ltd, have been sued at least four times in U.S. federal court on allegations of negligence and other claims tied to worker injuries on other ships owned and operated by the Singapore-based companies.

One lawsuit, in 2019, involved a man from Oregon who broke several bones when a rope ladder he was using to board a refrigerated cargo vessel snapped, sending him 25 feet to the ground.

Also that year, a Texas worker was injured when a hatch on the same ship, the M/V Star Leader, was prematurely opened without warning by a ship’s crew member.

In 2021, a longshoreman in Savannah, Georgia, sued Synergy when he tumbled 5 feet on a gangway whose handrail collapsed, injuring his back and shoulder.

All three lawsuits were settled out of court.

A fourth case, involving a worker at the port of Houston who was pinned underneath a stack of metal pipes he was trying to remove, was dismissed.


Six people remain unaccounted for after the bridge collapse, and all are believed to have been working on it at the time, officials said.

The construction workers were repairing potholes, Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said at a news conference Tuesday.

Gov. Wes Moore said he was thankful that after the cargo ship’s distress call, authorities were able to stop cars from going over the bridge.

“These people are heroes,” Moore said. “They saved lives last night.”


Maryland Gov. Wes Moore says the cargo ship reported losing power just before it crashed and caused the bridge to collapse.

Moore said Tuesday that a mayday call from the ship allowed officials to limit traffic on the bridge before the crash.

A preliminary investigation suggests that the crash was an accident, and that there’s no credible evidence of a terrorist attack, Moore, a Democrat, said at a news conference near the collapsed bridge.

“This morning, our state is in shock,” he said.

“We are Maryland tough and we are Baltimore strong,” Moore said. “So in the face of heartbreak, we come together.”


The mayor of Baltimore has declared a state of emergency in response to the bridge collapse.

Mayor Brandon Scott, a Democrat, issued an executive order Tuesday morning to deploy and expand emergency resources. The state of emergency will remain in place for 30 days and is subject to renewal or cancellation as conditions warrant.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is launching a team to investigate the bridge collapse and will hold a media briefing later Tuesday.

Source: post