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After a month of Baltimore bridge collapse,first commercial ships sail through Baltimore’s deep-draft channel

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BALTIMORE : The first commercial vessels have started to transit through the limited access channel at the Francis Scott Key Bridge site, in conjunction with scheduled passages for a limited number of commercial vessels into and out of the Port of Baltimore, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) said.

The channel, named the Fort McHenry Limited Access Channel, opened on Thursday, April 25 as part of the response effort to the suspension of vessel traffic at the Port of Baltimore, following the collapse of the Key bridge.

The channel has a controlling depth of at least 35 feet (10.6 meters) and provides a crucial route for vessels that have been stranded in the Port of Baltimore following the bridge collapse, offering them a path back to the open waters. It is the fourth alternative channel opened near the wreckage site, and runs the length of the northeast side of the federal channel, providing additional access to commercially essential traffic.

The first vessel to pass the channel was Balsa 94, USACE Baltimore said. Balsa 94 is a general cargo ship built in 2019 and sailing under Panamanian flag. The ship’s registered owner is Eastern Capital Marine from Panama, according to the data from VesselsValue. The ship was guided through the channel by two tugs, and the vessel continued its voyage toward Canada.

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