Baltimore bridge salvage: 'This is a game of Jenga you don't want to lose'

US Army Colonel Estee Pinchasin looks out at the thousands of tonnes of twisted, broken steel and concrete jutting out from the dark waters of Maryland’s Patapsco river, and delivers her assessment: an “unforgiving mangled mess”.

“That’s the best way to describe this,” the fatigue-clad veteran says from the deck of an Army-operated salvage vessel, the Reynolds. “It’s hard to explain steel that is cantilevered, bent and smashed with so much force.”

The “mess” Col Pinchasin has been tasked with clearing is the tattered remnants of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, strewn around - and embedded into - the Dali, a massive 948ft (289m) cargo ship that now sits motionless under an expanse of shredded metal, with partially crushed shipping containers hanging from its sides.

The mangled mess is self-explanatory. But why unforgiving? Because, put simply, anything and everything here is a potential threat to the lives of salvage crews.


I don’t want to lose any game of Jenga. Am I an overly competitive asshole?


I wonder what’s in the containers - and what happens to the contents?


I’m sure they will eventually be on to their owners. If you had a helicopter or something in one of those you’d be expecting it to be delivered unless it fell into the ocean or was specifically damaged.


In fact, I did have a helicopter in one of those, but the shipping label might have gotten rubbed off or switched in all the chaos.


I hate it when that happens. I hope my containers of luxury cars and GPUs is fine but I also suspect that information labeling me as the owner is lost.

borari, (edited )

How big exactly do you think shipping container is? I mean I’m sure there are some niche helicopters that can be broken down to fit in a shipping container, but you’re not fitting a Sikorsky or a Bell in one I don’t think. I would have gone with a supercar or something.

That said even if you have a container full of clothes or toys or whatever the fuck you’re getting manufactured in China or wherever and shipped to your US warehouse you’d expect it to be delivered. Although now I’m wondering if you’d just write this off as an insurance claim and let the insurance company take possession of the goods in the container once this ship gets freed up, to then auction off or do whether insurance companies would do with them.


I think you’d be surprised. Many helicopters and small airplanes will have rotors and wings removed and packed to be shipped across oceans.


I’m sure they will eventually be on to their owners.

I doubt it. The cargo has probably been all written off with insurance. The containers and their contents will be auction off as is


Insurance companies will be cheap and the shipper will still have a duty to complete the shipment of undamaged items. Like 95% of the ship is fine, there is no way the insurance companies will pay out on a delayed shipment.


The insurance company is also far more concerned about how much they are on the hook for with the bridge.

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