The Navy is contracting out multiple barges to Baltimore Harbor to help with clearing and reopening of the channel after a tanker struck a pillar of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing it to collapse early Tuesday.

Naval Sea Systems Command has contracted a variety of vessels to help with the job supporting the Coast Guard’s unified recovery effort.

The Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving will use the barges to surface and remove portions of the bridge.

Sections will first be disassembled before they are lifted onto the barges and transported away, the Navy said.

The Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving will also oversee the mobilization of 12 assorted tugs, survey, crew and dive boats that will arrive to Baltimore in the coming days.

Barges being dispatched to the scene include the Chesapeake, a 1,000-ton lift capacity derrick barge, the Ferrell, a 200-ton lift capacity revolving crane barge and the Oyster Bay, a 150-ton lift capacity crane barge, according to the sea service.

Those vessels have already arrived at the harbor, and another is slated to arrive early next week, according to the Navy.

Four workers who were on the bridge at the time of the early morning collision Tuesday remain missing and are presumed dead, The Associated Press reported Friday.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore called the bridge’s collapse following the freighter collision an “economic catastrophe” and described challenges of recovering the workers and clearing tons of debris to reopen the Port of Baltimore.

“What we’re talking about today is not just about Maryland’s economy; this is about nation’s economy,” Moore said at a news conference. “The port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other port in this country.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at

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