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The largest crane on the US East Coast has been deployed to help clear the Baltimore Bridge and wrecked ship.

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The largest crane on the US east coast has been deployed to help clear rubble from the collapsed Baltimore highway bridge.

The crane sits on a barge and can lift up to 1,000 tons, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said Friday.

It’s one of two large cranes that will help clear the remains of metal and concrete from the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the Dali freighter that hit it earlier this week.

Mr Moore said the “best minds in the world” were working on the issue, but added: “We have a very long road ahead of us.

“It’s about the national economy: The port handles more cars and more agricultural equipment than any other port in America.”

A crane on the collapsed Baltimore Bridge.  photo: AP
Picture:
A crane on the collapsed Baltimore Bridge. photo: AP

The cargo ship, almost as long as the Eiffel Tower and carrying nearly 4,700 shipping containers, appeared to lose power before hitting a support pillar early Tuesday.

Key Bridge collapse - March 26.  Photo: David Adams/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Picture:
Photo: David Adams/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

After hitting the pillar, he made a call for help and dropped his anchors, giving authorities time to clear the bridge of vehicles.

However, they did not have time to warn a team of construction workers repairing potholes, who fell about 56m into 8°C water.

Divers pulled the bodies of two crew members from a vehicle in the river on Wednesday, but authorities said they had to clear part of the wreckage before they could reach the bodies of four others.

The victims came from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Learn more:
Survivor’s wife says it’s a ‘miracle’ her husband survived
Two possible causes of the Baltimore bridge disaster

The ship, owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd and chartered by Danish shipping company Maersk, was traveling from Baltimore to Sri Lanka. All but one of the 21 crew members were from India and, apart from one person who was slightly injured, they were unhurt.

Meanwhile, authorities are also concerned about possible environmental fallout, testing water samples for contamination and monitoring the river for oil and other dangerous spills.

Some 56 containers on the ship contained hazardous materials, but environmental experts also fear the ship’s fuel container could rupture.

Underwater barriers were built following reports from rescuers of a reflection in the water near the site, although the Unified Command – which includes state agencies and the Coast Guard – said that there was “no immediate threat” to the environment.

The river is vital to marine life and migratory birds moving north this time of year, especially when it flows into the Chesapeake Bay.

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