Delving into the Great Key Bridge Collapse: Investigating Ship’s Power System and Circuit Breakers

By Apr 12, 2024

Delving into the Great Key Bridge Collapse

Delving-The aftermath of the devastating collapse of the Key Bridge in Baltimore last month has spurred a rigorous investigation into the events leading up to the tragedy. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the focus of the probe centers on the engine room equipment of the cargo ship involved. NTSB Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy revealed on Wednesday that Hyundai, the manufacturer of the equipment, has dispatched employees to the Dali ship to assist in extracting data from the electrical power system and examining the circuit breakers.

Delving-Homendy emphasized that the current investigative thrust is directed towards scrutinizing the engine room equipment, although she cautioned that this focus remains preliminary and may evolve as the investigation progresses. She highlighted the significance of obtaining data from the ship’s systems in the engine room, citing limitations of the onboard vessel data recorder (VDR) in capturing granular information akin to flight data recorders on airplanes.

Delving-In her testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee, Homendy underscored the pivotal role of the data retrieved from the engine room systems, as it promises invaluable insights into the sequence of events leading to the collision. Notably, the collision occurred at 1:30 a.m. on March 26, resulting in the collapse of the Key Bridge and tragically claiming the lives of six road construction workers.


Delving-Further interviews with crewmembers of the Dali have been conducted as part of the investigation, shedding light on the circumstances surrounding the collision. Key individuals interviewed include the second officer, who was the senior-most officer on duty at the time, as well as the experienced pilots responsible for navigating the ship through the narrow channel of the Patapsco River. Additionally, crewmembers involved in the operation and maintenance of the engine and electrical systems, such as the chief engineer, assistant engineer, and electrician, have been interviewed to glean crucial insights into the ship’s operations prior to the collision.

Delving-Meanwhile, NTSB investigators remain onsite, collaborating with other agencies involved in the meticulous task of clearing bridge rubble to facilitate the extrication of the ship, reopening the channel, and eventually initiating the reconstruction of the Key Bridge. The Key Bridge holds immense significance as a vital component of the interstate highway network in Baltimore, connecting crucial transportation arteries and facilitating commerce in the region.

The political dimension of the aftermath of the Key Bridge collapse has also come to the fore, with Sen. Ted Cruz expressing concerns over bureaucratic impediments that could potentially delay the reconstruction efforts. Cruz called upon the Biden administration to expedite the reconstruction process and streamline environmental review procedures, particularly emphasizing the economic significance of the port and the urgent need for swift action.


President Biden, during a visit to the collapse site, reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to providing support for the recovery efforts and offered condolences to the families of the victims. Concurrently, the US Army Corps of Engineers released new 3D sonar images depicting the wreckage submerged beneath the surface of the river, providing a clearer understanding of the formidable challenges faced by recovery crews.

As the investigation into the Key Bridge collapse unfolds, the focus remains on unraveling the intricate dynamics surrounding the loss of power on the cargo ship and its subsequent collision with the bridge. The quest for answers continues amidst the backdrop of collaborative efforts aimed at mitigating the impact of the tragedy and facilitating the restoration of critical infrastructure essential for the region’s transportation network.

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