Marine Link
Tuesday, July 16, 2024

FMC Commissioner Urges Biden to Aid Workers Impacted by Key Bridge Collapse

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

April 29, 2024

(Photo: Theodore Lee / U.S. Navy)

(Photo: Theodore Lee / U.S. Navy)

A Commissioner with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission is urging President Joe Biden to provide aid for local companies and workers suffering from an economic upheaval in the wake of the tragic Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore.

A letter sent by Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel to President Biden on Monday asks the President to consider using the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) as a model for providing relief workers and industries affected by the temporary closure of the Port of Baltimore.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed into the Patapsco River in the early morning of March 26, killing six men who were working on the span at the time, after the Singapore-registered containership Dali lost power and crashed into a support pylon. Vessel traffic in and out of the port had largely halted until a temporary channel was opened last week to allow limited transits. 

"In the wake of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, there are local companies and workers suffering from an economic upheaval. The CARES Act can serve as a model for providing relief to impacted workers and industries.

"The maritime industry never stopped working during the pandemic. While other service industries, such as aviation, were forced to stay home during the height of the pandemic, it was maritime and intermodal services that kept delivering what turned out to be record setting cargo volumes.

"Now members of the maritime industry and community need relief. Thousands of employees in the Baltimore region are directly or indirectly reliant on the port for their livelihood. We should support them in their period of need to the same level as we did other transportation workers during the pandemic," Commissioner Bentzel wrote.

"Identifying administrative or legislative ways to support workers and companies impacted by events at the Port of Baltimore can provide important and needed temporary assistance."