NTSB Eyes Ship’s Electrical System After Bridge Crash

Agency Chair Homendy Testifies Before Senate Panel
Baltimore bridge damage
Salvage crews work April 9 to remove wreckage from the cargo ship Dali after it stuck and collapsed the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. (Kevin Dietsch/Bloomberg News)

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Federal investigators looking into what caused a ship to crash into a vital Baltimore bridge last month are homing in on the vessel’s electrical system, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy said April 10.

The safety board is focusing on the ship’s electronic power system and circuit breakers, Homendy said in testimony before a Senate panel.

“That is where our focus is right now,” she told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, noting that it’s still very early in the process. “We have a lot of work to do still on this investigation.”

The March 26 bridge collapse killed six and shut down the Port of Baltimore. The Singapore-flagged cargo ship slammed into the bridge overnight, causing billions in damages. The vessel couldn’t maintain its desired heading after experiencing a loss of propulsion, but the reason for the failure remains under investigation by the NTSB.

Video of the stricken ship showed its lights flashing on and off in the moments before collision. In response to a question from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the panel’s top Republican, Homendy said she believed that was related to the incident.

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