First ship passes through temporary channel in Baltimore bridge wreck

Salvage cranes at the site of a collapsed bridge in Baltimore
Salvage cranes at the site of a collapsed bridge in Baltimore

The first ship has passed through a temporary alternate channel opened through the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

A tugboat maneuvering a fuel barge passed through the channel, bound for Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

The channel is meant to allow the passage of vessels that are part of recovery and clean-up efforts at the site of the collapse. But officials say some other cargo barges will be able to move through the channel.

A second passage is also being cleared that will allow larger ships with deeper drafts to pass, though there is no timeline for when it may open.

SEE MORE: Focus shifts to the weighty job of removing collapsed Baltimore bridge

Crews have begun the work of removing debris from the collapse site. MV Dali, the shipping vessel that struck the bridge, is still on the site and its crew is still on board, officials said. Most other maritime traffic is still also stranded within the port.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said the top priorities are to recover the bodies of four remaining victims in the collapse, and then to open shipping channels to more traffic.

SEE MORE: Biden heads to Baltimore this week to assess bridge collapse damage

Meanwhile, officials and lawmakers are meeting with truck drivers and other workers whose livelihoods depend on the commerce that passes through the port. New legislation would allow Maryland to use state funds to help small businesses and port employees weather the disruption from the closed Port of Baltimore.

President Biden is expected to visit the disaster site on Friday. The White House has announced it will provide federal funding to help get the port back to operational status as quickly as possible.

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