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Baltimore bridge collapse: Coast Guard says 56 containers on cargo ship have hazardous materials

The Coast Guard said Wednesday that 56 containers onboard the cargo ship that struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore have hazardous materials.

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Peter Gautier revealed Wednesday that there are dozens of containers that contain hazardous materials onboard the stricken cargo ship that caused the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. 

Gautier said during the White House press briefing that of the 4,700 containers onboard the Dali, 56 contain hazardous materials, but there is currently "no threat to the public." 

"The majority of those containers are closer to the pilot house and are completely unaffected by the damage to the bow of the ship," he said. "And we have not determined that there's any kind of release at this time." 

"The real critical thing here is that, as you know, a portion of the bridge remains on the bow on that ship, and we will be coordinating very closely with the Army Corps of Engineers and their contractors to first effect the removal of that debris before the vessel can then be removed," Gautier added. "The vessel bow is sitting on the bottom because of the weight of that bridge debris on there." 


The Coast Guard will be working with the Army Corps of Engineers to lead the cleanup of the Patapsco River so the Port of Baltimore can get back to full operation, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters. 

He said "rebuilding will not be quick or easy or cheap, but we will get it done." 


"What we do know is a bridge like this one, completed in the 1970s, was simply not made to withstand a direct impact on a critical support pier from a vessel that weighs about 200 million pounds, orders of magnitude bigger than cargo ships that were in service in that region at the time that the bridge was first built," Buttigieg said. 

A recovery mission is ongoing Wednesday to find the bodies of the six construction workers who remain missing and are presumed dead following Tuesday’s collapse. 

"This will be a long and difficult path," Buttigieg said Thursday. "But we will come together around Baltimore and we will rebuild together. " 

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