News Alert


April 20, 2024


UPDATE 14 Multimedia Release: Unified Command opens third temporary alternate channel
Friday, April 19, 2024

This press release is available in Spanish at  BALTIMORE – The Captain of the Port established the Fort Carroll Temporary Alternate Channel, which is on the northeast side of the main channel in the vicinity of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and will provide limited access for commercially essential vessels.

The Fort Carroll Temporary Alternate Channel, depicted in green, has a controlling depth of 20 feet, a 300-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 135 feet, and will facilitate additional commercially essential vessel traffic through the port of Baltimore. Infographic courtesy of Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command.
This action is part of a phased approach to opening the main channel. The third temporary channel is marked with government-lighted aids to navigation and will be limited to transit at the discretion of the COTP. It has a controlling depth of 20 feet, a 300-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 135 feet. “This additional channel increases the types of vessels able to transit inbound and outbound the port of Baltimore,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. David O’Connell, Captain of the Port and Federal On-Scene Coordinator, Key Bridge Response 2024. “We estimate facilitating approximately 15 percent of pre-collapse commercial activity.” The current 2,000-yard safety zone around the Francis Scott Key Bridge remains in effect and is intended to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment. No vessel or person will be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative. “Everyday, members of the Key Bridge Response Unified Command are working tirelessly to complete the steps necessary to support full access to the Fort McHenry channel,” said O’Connell.  “The opening of this third channel represents continuous progress towards this overarching objective.”

The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command includes the: U.S. Coast Guard  U.S. Army Corps of EngineersMaryland Department of the Environment  Maryland Transportation Authority Maryland State Police Witt O’Brien’s representing Synergy Marine The Unified Command’s operational priorities are ensuring the safety of the public and first responders, accountability of missing persons, safely restoring transportation infrastructure and commerce, protecting the environment, and supporting the investigation.  For more information regarding the Fort Carroll Temporary Alternate Channel, please read the Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB 042-24) at For additional imagery, please visit:

Disclaimer: For quality assurance purposes please note well that while the information contained in this website is regularly vetted for accuracy it is not intended to replace the local knowledge or expertise pertaining to port conditions of our marine operations personnel.

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