The ship that destroyed Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge will be escorted by up to 5 tugboats as it’s moved to a nearby dock

Eighteen hours of preparations start Sunday to refloat the ship that destroyed Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge and move it to a nearby dock, as officials continue clearing the channel of wreckage that’s blocked the city’s port for almost two months.

The plan calls for the Dali to move under the escort of as many as five tugboats after 5 a.m. local time on Monday to the Seagirt Marine Terminal, the Unified Command handling the cleanup said in a statement on Saturday.

The container vessel crashed into the bridge just after its departure from the Port of Baltimore on March 26, killing six people who were working on the highway span that collapsed into the Patapsco River.

The refloating operation will take about 21 hours, with the transit portion starting at high tide and lasting about three hours, the Coast Guard-led command said. 

Last week the Unified Command said the channel — where the cleanup of steel and concrete debris has lasted eight weeks — is expected to be ready to allow all commercial vessels to and from Baltimore’s port “to a minimum operational depth of 50 feet (15 meters) in the weeks ahead.”

The Dali was on charter to Copenhagen-based A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S. In an advisory on Friday, Maersk said it was resuming bookings for shipments through Baltimore on a small number of voyages in June, though bookings for transatlantic shipments are still suspended.

“Our ability to call Baltimore will ultimately rely on the refloating timeline and the Captain of the Port officially opening the port and/or the fourth alternative channel that was previously closed,” the world’s No. 2 container carrier said in the advisory.

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