News Alert


April 25, 2024


UPDATE 15: Unified Command opens limited access deep draft channel

Thursday, April 25, 2024

This press release is available in Spanish at

BALTIMORE – The Captain of the Port established a fourth channel, the Fort McHenry Limited Access Channel, which will run the length of the northeast side of the federal channel, and provide additional access to commercially essential traffic.

The Limited Access Deep Draft Channel, has a controlling depth of 35 feet, a 300-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 214 feet, and will facilitate some larger deep draft vessels, large marine tugs, and MARAD vessels through the Port of Baltimore. Infographic courtesy of Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command.

The limited access deep draft channel has a controlling depth of a minimum of 35 feet, a 300-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 214 feet. Additional restrictions for transits are outlined in MSIB 043-24, including weather limitations which may impact the transit window.
Starting Monday, April 29, operations to remove the M/V DALI will require suspension of transits through the Fort McHenry Limited Access Channel. Once deemed safe, the channel will reopen for commercial traffic.
"We're working to strike a balance between enabling temporary access to support commercial activity and undertaking necessary measures to fully reopen the Fort McHenry Channel," said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. David O'Connell, Captain of the Port and Federal On-Scene Coordinator, Key Bridge Response 2024. "This limited access deep draft channel will provide a window for five of the deep draft vessels currently unable to depart the port as well as some smaller deep draft vessels to transit. Meanwhile, the Unified Command personnel continue to work full speed ahead to safely and efficiently finish operations."

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.
The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command includes the:
U.S. Coast Guard  
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Maryland 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. 
Captains of the Port enforce regulations ensuring port safety, security, and marine environmental protection. This includes oversight of vessel and facility security, navigation safety, pollution prevention, and overall port operations within their designated areas.
For more information regarding waterways access in the Sector Maryland-National Capital Region Captain of the Port Zone, visit

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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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