AFTER a two-day delay due to high winds and lightning the US Army Corp of Engineers last night US time successfully used small explosive charges to remove most remaining bridge wreckage from the containership Dali.

The 9962 TEU Maersk-chartered vessel, owned by Singapore’s Grace Ocean and managed by Synergy Marine of the same city, has been trapped by a span of the Francis Key Scott Bridge in Baltimore since colliding with a pylon in the early hours of 26 March, causing the bridge’s collapse.

Some truss parts remain on the bow of the ship, which had earlier been cleared of containers, but these will be removed by grab crane. Dali did not refloat after the bridge wreckage fell away, confirming earlier assessments by salvors DonJon and Resolve that the bow is stuck in Patapsco River mud.

“This was a very big milestone for our progression forward,” Col. Estee Pinchasin, Baltimore District Commander for the Army Corps of Engineers, said in the immediate aftermath of the demolition. She said crews don’t anticipate having to use any more explosives, US ABC reported.

Dali’s crew remained on board the ship during the detonation, and no injuries or problems were reported, Capt. David O’Connell, commander of the Port of Baltimore, said.

Officials said the detonation went as planned. They said the next step in the dynamic cleanup process will be to assess the few remaining trusses on Dali’s bow and make sure none of the underwater wreckage is preventing the ship from being refloated and moved.

“It’s a lot like peeling back an onion,” said Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon of the USACE. The span on the ship was estimated to be 152 metres long and weigh 544 tonnes.

Officials expect to refloat the ship within the next few days. Then three or four tugs will take it to a nearby terminal at the port, where it will likely remain for a several weeks for temporary repairs before being moved to a shipyard for more substantial repairs.