Nov 12-14, 2024  •  Morial Convention Center  •  New Orleans, LA
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Agenda Session

Key Bridge Collision: What Went Wrong & How Do We Prevent it From Happening Again?

Nov 12 2024

11:00 AM - 11:45 AM CST

Main Stage

The collision of a container ship with the Francis Scott Key Bridge that caused its catastrophic collapse in March of this year has brought new scrutiny of safety and ship assist requirements for large container vessels at increasingly busy American ports. For some, this event underscored the need to better utilize tugs to push or pull huge vessels out of harm’s way. For others, it highlighted the need to assess, repair or perhaps better construct infrastructure across the country. An additional perspective emphasizes the need for better planning and response protocols.
Ultimately, the Baltimore event can be a catalyst for positive change, but specific solutions and strategies need to be outlined in order to best enable them. What needs to be done at an industry level across the board to ensure such tragedies are avoided? What kind of collaboration needs to take place across teams, organizations and the entire industry? Essential elements to consider include:
What emergency procedures are currently in place? On a practical level, what should happen when a vessel suddenly loses power, affecting steering and propulsion? How can better communication protocols between vessels, coast guard authorities, and salvage companies ensure a more coordinated response
Considerations around redundant steering systems: What more can marine engineers and navel architects do to highlight the importance of these systems? Are double redundant ship systems the answer?
The importance of central control and monitoring systems: Could these sorts of centralized systems address any breakdown in communication between key ship systems to avoid catastrophe? How does AI play a role in these systems?
Who needs to do what? What responsibilities do ship owners, finance companies and even politicians need to play when it comes to establishing the rules of the industry?
Assessing what it means to lose a bridge: Instead of assuming that ‘nothing will ever happen’, why not assume and plan for the worst and then protect the asset accordingly before an incident occurs.
While a full picture of the Baltimore bridge collapse and its causes are still emerging, this discussion will serve as an opportunity to shift the focus towards the future when it comes to enhancing safety standards, improving vessel technology, and strengthening emergency preparedness protocols in ways that will prevent similar tragedies.
Attendees will come away from this conversation with a better sense of the questions they need to be asking of their teams when it comes to the systems and setup that are currently in place to keep everyone safe, as well as questions for stakeholders when it comes to infrastructure assessments and maintenance work that needs to be considered at a higher level.

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