Crew safety prioritized in the face of inclement weather

04 Apr 2024 / Baltimore, United States

The Unified Command continued to coordinate response operations Wednesday to the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, despite the challenging weather conditions which included severe thunderstorms and high winds.

Trained crews, in conjunction with the Unified Command, are taking steps forward with operations and are conducting routine salvage assessments, while evaluating the safest and most effective routes. Divers are on scene to conduct underwater surveys along with mapping out plans for future wreckage removal.

“Our operations continue but will be adjusted as necessary in response to any adverse weather conditions,” said U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Frank Schiano, Salvage Branch Director of the Key Bridge Response 2024, “The Unified Command remains committed to re-opening the port while ensuring safety and environmental protection.”

The Maryland Department of the Environment received the results of water sampling taken the day of the incident upriver and downstream of the site. The samples were analyzed for substances associated with fuel constituents, including volatile organic compounds. There was no detection of any of these contaminants. The results will be used as a baseline for comparison with water quality monitoring done throughout response, recovery and reconstruction. Sampling will continue indefinitely every few days, as needed.

The current 2,000-yard safety zone around the Francis Scott Key Bridge remains in effect and is intended to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment. Members of the public may not enter the safety zone unless authorized by the COTP or designated representative. Those in the safety zone must comply with all lawful orders or directions given to them by the COTP or designated representative.

The COTP issued a Broadcast Notice to Mariners (BNM) via VHF-FM marine channel 16. Mariners are requested to monitor channel 16 for the latest information…

…The Unified Command’s operational priorities are ensuring the safety of the public and first responders, accountability of missing persons, safely restoring transportation infrastructure and commerce, protecting the environment, and supporting the investigation.

(For information about operations in the United States, contact GAC North America at [email protected])

Source: Extracts from Key Bridge Response ( press release dated 3 April 2024

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