Hazmat Materials Leaking Into Water In Baltimore Bridge Aftermath

Hazardous materials were onboard the ship that smashed into and destroyed the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore and a number of hazmat containers were breached, said National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair Jennifer Homendy on Wednesday.

According to Homendy, investigators declared that there were 56 hazmat containers onboard the vessel, containing 764 tons of hazardous materials consisting of “mostly corrosives, flammables” and other miscellaneous types. Lithium ion batteries were also listed as in the mix.

In a troubling development, investigators have also noticed sheen on the surface of the waterway, which shows as a glossy or shiny film on the surface of the water — often caused by oil, gas or other liquid materials.

“Our entire focus on scene is to collect the perishable evidence – that’s documenting the scene, it’s taking photographs, it’s taking any sort of electronics or components, whatever goes away once the scene is cleaned up,” Homendy said.

Then, speaking of the entirety of the catastrophe, she added, “Seeing not just what’s going on with the cargo containers, but just looking at what was a bridge span – three bridge spans that is pretty much gone. It’s just utter devastation.”

According to some, the accident could have been avoided if tug boats had been used to pull and guide the barge through the narrow opening between the supports that held up the bridge, as is a practice often employed. Apparently, this would have also negated the disastrous consequence of the ship having lost power at the last moment.

As the investigation continues, there is some controversy on social media about whether the accident may have actually been an intentional act of sabotage by a foreign power. The ship was operated by a Singapore-owned company called Synergy Group and manned by 22 Indian citizens. This suspicion of foul-play is denied by the government, but public speculation still looms large as the damage done to the economy, the environment and supply routes is substantial.

The bridge was also the only mode of transportation for hazmat materials through the bay, as hazmat materials are not allowed to pass through the tunnels.

Although the investigation is ongoing, the disaster is expected to cause major disruptions in supply chains and rebuilding and clean-up will take years.