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Largest Crane On The East Coast Arrives For Bridge Cleanup; Maryland Officials Update Collapse Salvage And Recovery Efforts; Maryland Governor: Conditions Unsafe For Recovery Divers At This Time; WSJ Journalist Evan Gershkovich Marks One Year In Russian Prison. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 30, 2024 - 13:00   ET



ALICE RANDALL, AWARD-WINNING SONGWRITER: He has established a new country cannon.


RANDALL: But she has mastered -- and I hate to even use that word. She has -- she has mastered and ended mastery in Beyonce, the genre. She has had a new word for excellence and expertise, is to Beyonce.

WHITFIELD: Oh, that's beautiful. I mean, I love that you also say, you know, this is a moment of deconstructing and reconstructing. And probably, for a very long time, people kind of felt like, you know, what with any genre of music? They feel like it's it everyone has a universal definition of what it is. And your comment saying this is reconstructing, deconstructing. I mean, clearly, it's a broadening of the definition. It's an education -- an educational journey into what country music is, has been continues to be. I mean, what American music is, right?

RANDALL: And where black people are living in this country and what America is. She is helping America better understand country music, and also better understand the wealth of who can be and is an American.

WHITFIELD: The great Alice Randall. Thank you so much. What a great pleasure to have you with us. Thank you so much.

RANDALL: Wonderful to celebrate you -- with you, this weekend.

WHITFIELD: Oh, wonderful. And Happy Easter. Thank you.

Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right. Right now, we're standing by for just outside of Baltimore, where officials, including the governor will be giving an update on the recovery plans at the site of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

We'll bring you that press conference as soon as it happens. And it comes as the largest crane on the East Coast moves into place as recovery teams survey the wreckage area.

Officials say it remains the top priority to find the four construction workers who are presumed dead, but still missing from Tuesday's catastrophic collapse.

CNN's Gloria Pazmino is live for us in Baltimore. Gloria, what are you learning about the assessments before these recovery efforts can happen?

GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NEWSOURCE NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. That crane is called the Chesapeake 1000. And it is here in the area, just one of the many heavy pieces of machinery that are going to play a critical role in helping to move this wreckage. As you said two big priorities here, the first to be able to go back in there and continue searching for those who were killed in this terrible accident, and the second priority, to try and reopen the area -- reopen the waterway.

This is one of America's busiest ports, and people need to get back to work. The governor has made it clear, those two are his key priorities.

I spoke with Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon, just a few -- a short time ago. He's the commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, which is leading the mission to clean this up.

This is a complicated operation. They have to be methodical about how they take every single step. And it could take several weeks. Listen to what he said.


LT. GEN. SCOTT SPELLMON, 55TH CHIEF OF ENGINEERS AND COMMANDING GENERAL, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEER That vessel look small from where we're standing here on the shore. That vessel weighs on the order of 95,000 tons. The bridge span that's behind us that the one I mentioned, we're going to sever, that piece weighs 5,000 tons alone. So, that's a lot of downward pressure on that vessel already.

The -- so, you're correct. We have one of the largest cranes here on the Eastern Seaboard, arrived 23 --11:00 p.m., two nights ago. And so, imagine, we're going to have to cut those steel sections into much smaller components, to lift them out safely and efficiently.


PAZMINO: So, you can really just start to understand the magnitude of the work that is ahead. And again, Fred, about those four families, they understand now that their loved ones are gone, but they are hanging on to the hope that they can recover the bodies so that they can at least have a chance to say goodbye. That will be an essential piece in order for them to be able to get closer -- that closure, this community to get closure. And for everyone here to be able to start getting back to some semblance of normalcy. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right. Gloria Pazmino, thank you so much.

Of course, when that briefing gets underway there in Maryland, I will take you there live.

So, for many, the disaster in Baltimore is eerily similar to another bridge collapse back in 1980.

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa, Florida was hit by a barge during rush hour.


In that case 35 people were killed.

Joining us right now, an attorney who worked on litigation surrounding that collapse 44 years ago, Steven Yerrid. Good to see you, Steven.

I mean, it was this a little deja vu for you when you saw what had happened in Baltimore earlier in the week.

STEVEN YERRID, ATTORNEY WHO HANDLED LEGAL ISSUES IN 1980 SKYWAY BRIDGE DISASTER: It was deja vu. Believe me, I can tell you, when I saw this, it was like watching a repeat performance of something I'll never forget.

But the real problem here was the foreseeability. You see, 1980 was not just a tragedy, it took down 35 people's lives. It was a lesson. It was a lesson to tragedies like this don't have to occur, and the lesson wasn't taught. Because the bridge in Baltimore, the Key Bridge was built in 1977.

At that time, it was a fair critical bridge. Meaning, if any of the pilings got hit any of the foundation piers got hit, that bridge was coming down in totality. It was going to be a catastrophe.

So, instead of rebuilding the bridge at great cost, there's a lot of old superstructures in America, unfortunately, bridges are left for a long time for lack of funds, lack of foresight, but that does not excuse the fact that in 1980, the Baltimore transportation officials went on record with the Baltimore Sun saying that if such a collision would happen with that structure, the Key Bridge, the bridge would come down.

The bigger question for America and for people watching this program all across America, with bridges, they're antiquated, that are old.

Why weren't safety precautions done? And someone has said, I think Secretary Buttigieg said that safety would not enter into it, because a bridge of that size with the magnitude of that ship, five times now, because of modern shipping, five times larger than the Summit Venture, which had to Skyway Bridge, would not sustain the collision. OK, I understand that.


WHITFIELD: Well, I was to say, that sounds base of although, right?


YERRID: Why weren't -- why weren't.

WHITFIELD: Because we're talking about vessels now that are so much larger than, you know, in the 70s when this bridge was built.

But I think I hear you on where you're going, you're talking potentially about the protections again -- around those pillars like fenders, et cetera.

Why is it in this case -- you know, why in this case, they weren't put into place, as we saw in some other bridges across the country? So, will that be a consideration made, when account -- the questions of accountability are already underway?

And people want to know, why weren't those protections in place? Would it have made a difference? Is that going to be at the core of potential challenges that might come -- legal challenges that may come from, say, the family members of, you know, the six who were killed here? Or perhaps, those in the shipping industry, who are going to want to say we want accountability for the many -- hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars loss in not being able to transport items? Is that what you see coming?

YERRID: Fred -- Fredricka, you've got it right on the point -- you've got it right on the money. The problem of money, that's a hell of a thing to say. But the problem is, safety measures -- I understand that ships are larger. I get that. And they're great, enormous magnitude, I get that too.

But so is technology. We have appear structure around the Skyway Bridge, which is a template for safe bridge construction all over the world. There is no reason in the world why safety precautions could not have been implemented in 44 years after that lesson in 1980 was taught. 44 years.

And if engineers say that that's not possible, they would never work for me. Anything is possible like that. Building -- John Lauro (PH), God bless him. He said it best. Ships can't go where there is no water.

Another additional safety and addition to the dolphins, those are the large structures, the round structures would be spoil islands. And people say, oh no, no, spoil islands would be a hazard to navigation. It's easy to be a doomsayer. It's very hard to be a safety pioneer. It doesn't take a real rocket scientist or an engineer to figure out that ships can be protected from striking bridges. Should it be a terrorist attack, should it be inclement weather like the sky way, should it be human error. Or in this case, most likely, mechanical and electrical failure.

When a ship loses power in steerage, the collision is virtually inevitable, and with ships of that size as you pointed out, the aftermath of such a collision is often death and destruction -- total destruction.

If this had been rush hour in Baltimore. I went to Georgetown Law School. If this had been rush hour in Baltimore, the Key Bridge would have been packed with passerbyers (PH), transiting people, buses, commercial vehicles, the death toll would have been astronomical, compared to the poor people that lost their lives.

But to those six families, the astronomical loss is very evident. Every time they sit around their table and see the empty chair.



WHITFIELD: Of course.

YERRID: So, loss of life -- listen, safety comes at a price. But I realized the price cannot be exorbitant or impractical. That right now in Delaware, they are building $95 million protecting around the pier. Why wasn't that done in Baltimore? That's the question.

And the question will not be answered by all the -- all the people that say, oh, it could have been done. You know, what? It could have been done. By they don't want to answer that question.

WHITFIELD: Do you see -- do you see the pressing of equal accountability, whether it be for the protections of the bridge, as well as applied to the owners, those who maintain the vessel. There was electrical failure.

YERRID: Again --

WHITFIELD: Initially, that's what we're hearing from some. If indeed, electrical failure, that points to the maintenance of a vessel, I mean, it was no when for something that big that close to the bridge, to be able to drag an anchor based on all the experts that I've heard, to drag an anchor to stop it from hitting a pillar.

YERRID: Well, let's talk about that for just very, very briefly, just for a second. Do I think that the ship is going to be blamed? You asked about the legal targets. I'm not going to be involved. I've already climbed Mount Everest. I don't need to do it again.

When I exonerated the pilot, that was my last pile of defense. But I will tell you, as just an observer who's very interested in this area, the things that are going to be looked at closely by anybody claiming damages would be the ship owner.

First, it's managed by a large conglomerate, they also have what's called a managing agent, there will be looked at. The seaworthiness of the vessel is a one way that the vessel owner and its corporate entities can be held liable, especially if the -- if the ship, excuse me, if the ship is deemed to be unseaworthy.

They will break what's called a limitation of liability, the plaintiffs, and they will go after the company, regardless of the value of the ship, which is normally what limitation liability imposes. If the ship is seaworthy, they get to pay only up to the amount of the value of the ship. In this case, if the seaworthiness, which I think is going to be very, very suspect to attack, it may open up the ship owner to a lot -- a lot of liability.

Secondly, they'll probably look at the pilot sets inevitable people want to blame the human being. These pilots are the best of the best, I think. And most likely, the pilot didn't have a whole heck of a lot of options.


Dropping anchor, as you pointed out in a large ship like that. It's not like a car probably would take half a mile, three quarters of a mile, maybe even longer. But that could have been tried.

Remember, though, John Lauro (PH) said it best, ships can't go where there's no water. So, you stop the ship before the what's called the allision, excuse me. But you stop the ship before it ever collides, because bad things are going to happen.

In this case, for those poor families, bad things -- the ultimate bad thing happened and the ultimate price was paid. We don't need this to happen again. We can take measures, remedial measures, not exorbitantly expensive, but prudent, and safe, worthy. And I think for the welfare of the people transiting average 30,000 motors a day, you're talking about a catastrophe waiting to happen. And the problem with Baltimore is, they foresaw it in 1983 years after their bridge was built.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, still so many unanswered questions, but really appreciate your expertise. And the correlations you are able to make a from calamity, a tragedy in 1980 to now, this current bridge tragedy,

Steven Yerrid, thank you so much.

YERRID: Thank you, Samantha (PH). I really appreciate the coverage you all have given us. Your networks been outstanding. Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: Thank you so much.

And again, we are awaiting a news conference, an update from the Maryland governor and other officials as it pertains to the recovery efforts, the assessment efforts on that bridge. We'll bring that to when it happens.

Still to come, former President Donald Trump using inflammatory rhetoric again in his campaign messaging.


He posted a video that shows President Biden tied up in the back of a truck those images and the explanation next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: All right. Straight to Maryland Governor Wes Moore on an update on the bridge collapse.


GOV. WES MOORE (D-MD): Since yesterday's briefing, we've continued to meet with families of all the victims, and they are on our hearts, and we're thinking about them now and always. It was a stun and Nuestro Corazon (PH). Stun in (INAUDIBLE).

Also, to all people who have offered prayers, I asked this. Keep offering them. The families, the first responders, they will continue to need them. Our state will continue to need them.

Today, with the Maryland transportation authority's police headquarters, this is where our first responders and emergency personnel gathered the day of the collapse.


We set up mission control immediately and got to work right here. And we are so grateful to the extraordinary work of our MDTA police, and we are thinking of all of our first responders, including the extraordinary men and women of our National Guard.

This place holds a special significance for us. This place, this moment, because in the time of that collapse, our work, and since the time of the collapse, our work has only accelerated. And we have a series of 24/7 operations currently underway.

Unified Command are conducting planning and engineering assessments 24 hours a day. We have assets on the water, enforcing safety zones, 24 hours a day, we have assessments on the Dali being conducted 24 hours a day. This is an around the clock operation. And we are going to ramp up our 24/7 posture in the coming days.

I want to give special thanks to Amold Gilruth (PH), and the Coast Guard who have been working tirelessly. The commandant of the Coast Guard was here just yesterday and I had a chance to thank Admiral Fagan for her team's work. And we're grateful. We're grateful for them, now, and always.

Now, today, I'll provide updates on the four directives that I've issued to this team. And as a reminder, first, we need to continue to focus on recovery. Second, we need to clear the channel and open vessel traffic to the port. Third, we need to take care of all of the people who have been affected by this crisis. And fourth, we need to and we will rebuild the Key Bridge.

This morning, I received a briefing from unified command. And I spoken with leaders all across the state, and also leaders for our fellow delegation, leaders from all across the country. And been working on who had been working on this response throughout. So, first, on our recovery efforts.

As I mentioned yesterday, we need to do more work on clearing the channel in order to move forward. This is a remarkably complex operation. And our focus needs to be on unity of command and unity of effort.

Conditions in the water, make it unsafe for rescue divers. And we're not just talking about weather and wind, we're talking about debris, we're talking about wreckage, we're talking about pieces of a Key Bridge that are in the water.

One of the mantras in the military that we learned was this. Mission first, people always. And that's the mindset that we are applying to this work. We are going to move as fast as possible. We are going to ensure the safety of our first responders, and we are not going to compromise one for the other. We are going to do both at the same time.

And right now, the conditions make it unsafe for rescue divers. But as soon as those conditions change, Colonel Butler has assured me that those rescue divers will be going right back in the water.

I also want to remind everyone that this is a no drone zone, it has been established. And that is throughout the entire airspace surrounding the collapse. This is not a game and please do not test my seriousness on this.

The instructions are simple, and they must be followed. All drones are to stay away from the site of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, period, and full stop. Now, second, on clearing the federal channel and opening vessel traffic to the port with a salvage operation that is this complex and this unprecedented. You need to be able to plan for every single moment. And this work is going to take time and we are going to continually assess and reassess this situation.

This morning. Unified Command assured me that the whole of the Dali is damaged but intact. The Army Corps and their partners will begin to move forward with the crane operations today. The North sections of the Key Bridge are going to be cut up and removed.

This will eventually allow us to open up a temporary restricted channel that will help us to get more vessels in the water around the site of the collapse.


And our friends at Tradepoint Atlantic have agreed to help us with the process wreckage from the salvage operation. And to the team at Tradepoint, I want to say thank you again, for stepping up. This is going to take time to clear this section of the collapse. It's not going to take hours, it's not going to take days, but once we complete this phase of the work, we can move more tugs and more barges and more boats into the area to accelerate our recovery.

As of yesterday, 377 people were actively engaged in response operations in support of unified command. And we will continue to marshal people and resources to ensure that we have everything that we need to do this work as safely as efficiently and as effectively as possible. Now, I've said this before, I will say it again, and I will continue to say this. This is not just about Maryland. This is about our nation's economy. The port handles more cars and more farm equipment, more than any other port inside this country. And at least 8,000 workers on the docks have jobs that have been directly affected by this collapse.

Our economy depends on the Port of Baltimore, and the Port of Baltimore depends on vessel traffic. Maryland's economy and Maryland workers rely on us to move quickly. And it's not just Maryland that is being impacted. I'm also talking about the farmer in Kentucky. I'm also talking about the auto worker in Ohio. I'm talking about the restaurant owner in Tennessee. This is impacting all of us.

And the nation's economy and the nation's workers are relying on us to move quickly and move together.

Third, taking care of our people. I've said it already. Mission first, people always. Last night, the Small Business Administration accepted our request to approve a disaster declaration. And that declaration is now in effect. I want to thank the Biden-Harris administration for accepting our request within a matter of hours. And I want to personally thank President Biden for his constant support.

Because of this declaration, small businesses affected by the disaster can now apply for disaster loan assistance from the federal government. And these are low interest loans up to $2 million. They are going to help us ensure that our small businesses get the cash that they need to pay their bills. And to keep people employed.

The applications should be submitted online by December 30 2024.

I'm going to say one more time so people can so -- for those who missed it can hear it again.

Applications should be submitted online, and they should be in by December 30th of 2024.

This declaration also empowers the state of Maryland to apply for new federal funding to pay for services and training for impacted workers and wage recovery.

I've been briefed by the Maryland Department of Labor. They have assured me that they are working around the clock to get that application submitted ASAP. The Small Business Administration will also be establishing a Business Resource Center on Monday. We will get that location information to you as soon as we know more.

Now, fourth, on rebuilding. I said it yesterday. We cannot rebuild the bridge until we have cleared the wreckage. But we are going to get this done. We will clear the wreckage. We will move the Dali, and we will rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

We are going to do that because we are Maryland tough, and we are Baltimore strong, and you can bet on that. So, in this moment, I'm going to hand it off to Senator Chris Van Hollen. And also, in order, we're also joined by, and being received briefings by leaders in the U.S. Coast Guard, the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Department of Transportation.

We're also here with Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and other leaders.

And now, I'm honored to turn it over to Senator Chris Van Hollen.


SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Thank you, Governor. And I want to thank you, Mayor Brandon Scott, County Executive Pittman, County Executive Olszewski for first and foremost, doing everything you can to support the families of the six individuals, the sixth souls that we lost. I know all the efforts you're under taking to make sure they know that the community and our state stands with them. So thank you.

I also want to say to our first responders, thank you. Not just what you did at the moment of the crisis, but what you continue to do and to the divers who are going to be looking at the wreckage. So we can figure out the best plan forward. As the governor has said, our priority is to make sure that all those thousands of Marylanders and others whose livelihood depends on the port of Baltimore, get back to work as soon as possible.

And that means number one, making sure we have the channel open. But in the meantime, doing everything we can to support them and their families. And again, I want to thank you, Governor, and the general assembly for the fast work that you've undertaken through emergency legislation to address that.

I spoke this morning to Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su. She is also, as you know, working with the Maryland team to do everything possible at the federal level to support those workers and those jobs as we work to get the channel open and the port open. Small businesses, the governor mentioned the good news from today, the SBA administrator, Guzman, very quickly reviewed the states request and those are emergency low interest loans that will go to support small businesses 4 percent over 30 years, and a grace period during the first year. So small businesses can do everything they can to keep their workers on the job, as we work to open the channel.

Opening the channel as you heard from the governor, that is the number one priority. And I want to thank President Biden and his entire team for being laser-focused on helping Baltimore and Maryland in the aftermath of this emergency. We've heard from the coast guard and were going to hear from them again, I want to thank them admiral was great to join you. And the common of the coast guard yesterday to see a close-up view of the site. The bridge, the ship, and everything that we need to do to address it.

It gave us a close-up sense of the magnitude of the challenge but we also know that we are up to meeting that challenge and doing it as fast as possible. And to the Army Corps of Engineer and the Navy and the others who are being deployed to do this job. I want to thank you. And again, thank you to the Biden-Harris administration because the federal government will cover the total cost of clearing the channel so that we can get those ships moving again and get the port open.

On rebuilding the bridge again, Governor, thank you and your team for such fast work and thank you to President Biden and his team for such fast action. $60 million is already been made available on a quick basis, to make sure that we can address the impact on surrounding traffic patterns from the fact that the bridge has collapsed and then Maryland has also been deemed eligible. They've been accepted into the emergency program at the federal level. That will mean that the federal government will pick up 90 percent of the costs of that program.

And Senator Carden and I will be working very hard with our delegation, Congressman Mfume and others to make sure that we made good on President Biden's promise that the federal government will pick up the full cost and I just also want to say, Ben Cardin could not be here at this moment. He's been here day in, day out. He will be back we worked very closely together with the governor's team on those small business loans.

And we're going to be working together to introduce that legislation on behalf of our delegation. This is a great American city. This is a great American port. And I really hope that our colleagues in the Senate and House will come together as Americans to address this crisis. As we came together at an Americans when we saw previous bridge collapses. For example, in Minneapolis in 2007.

This is really a moment for us all to unite. I want to thank again, the governor is team and everybody here who are part of the executive branch at the federal level and the state level and local level.


We are going to get this done, and we will also make sure that as the NTSB does its work, that if their funds that will flow because of any liability by any party that contributed to what happened here. If there's liability, those funds will be returned to the federal government to offset any outlays the federal government undertakes in this effort.

So we are here again to get this job done, open the port as fast as possible, begin the process of rebuilding the bridge and you've got the A-team here from the federal government, the state government, the city government, county governments to get it done under the quarterbacking of Governor Moore. So, thank you, Governor.

And I will turn it back over to you.

Thank you.

REAR ADMIRAL SHANNON GILREATH, U.S. COAST GUARD: Good afternoon. I'm Admiral Shannon Gilreath. Governor, Senator, I'd like to thank you for your kind words about this response so far. And I want to emphasize that this is a team effort. It's not just the Coast Guard. We are part of this community. We are heavily invested in this, but it is a team effort made up a number of federal partners, including the United States navy supervisor of salvage, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other federal agencies and partners.

And there are tremendous number of state and local officials and agencies that are helping us. And you see some of them to my left. They are huge part of this year unified command and making this go and work. And I also want to thank the community at large for your amazing support that you've given us. We feel the love that's coming from this community in the city, in the state.

So thank you so much for that. And please continue your prayers for the families of the people that were impacted by this.

I want to give you a very brief update on some of the things that are happening unified command. Our number one priority remains reopening the port of Baltimore. And to do that, we've got to clear that deep draft channel. And so I've talked about our phases.

We're going to continue with that, reopening the deep draft channel and remove that debris. We're go to then remove the ship and then we're going to also continues to remove debris from the bridge across the waterway. Now, those efforts are ongoing. We're continuing to bring in the resources for that. We are continuing to do diving just for the purposes of evaluating how we can actually potentially cut up portions of the bridge, how we can rig for future lifts with the cranes, and how we can figure out exactly how to do this as safely as possible so that we can get that channel reopened.

And were working really hard on that to get that done with the smartest engineers we have they are really working hard on that and so I've got -- I'm fortunate to say that we don't have to do all of those in the exact same order. It doesn't have to go hello linearly. It can go simultaneously.

And we are working really hard in that regard. And so I'm really proud to announce that the governor said, we're going to conduct our first lift today on a piece of a portion of the bridge just north of that deep draft shipping channel. And we're -- we will continue planning efforts for once we get that clear to open that up for tag and barge traffic to come into the port of Boston Baltimore. But that's going to take some more time and this is a step in that process.

Much like when you run a marathon, you've got to take the first few steps. We're taking those few first few steps and we're continuing get the resources in that will impel us to the finish line. But we're working to get there as fast as we can. We're going to open it as soon as possible, and we're going to continue to do it safely.

And I'd like to -- later today, you'll hear from the Maryland Department of Transportation about that particular lift because they're really using their expertise and engineering and their contractors and engineers to help us with that. So, I'd lot for them to speak more about that.

But, Governor, thank you very much for your continued support of this unified command. It truly is a partnership it's a privilege to get to work here. Thank you, sir.


Good afternoon. I'm Colonel Butler of the Maryland State Police.

The Maryland State Police continue to be an active part of the unified command as Governor Moore mentioned, the brave members of our underwater rescue teams remain on standby that will resume the recovery efforts once a unified command has informed them, it is safe to resume diving operations.

Again, as Governor Moore stressed, just moments ago, we are reminding the public that the Federal Aviation Administration has implemented a temporary flight restriction following the bridge collapse this restriction extends for three miles from the center of the bridge and radius, and 1,500 feet from ground level up.


I want to emphasize the importance of refraining from flying drones in the area. Doing so poses significant risks to the only going efforts by all of our partners to respond to this incident and bring it to closure. I urge everyone, exercise responsibility and respect the airspace restrictions around the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse site. Please refrain from operating drones in the facility and the vicinity allow emergency personnel to carry out their duties safely and effectively.

Law enforcement is actively monitoring the area for illegal drone use. Law enforcement has already responded to multiple drone incursions over the past few days. It's a zero tolerance policy regarding any drone anywhere within the no drone zone established by the FAA. Anyone who attempts to fly a drone and any prohibited manager in the area is subject to arrest, prosecution, and/or fines.

In addition, we know that this tragedy has far-reaching comp -- implications. That will affect the daily lives of Maryland is for the foreseeable future. I want to assure the public that the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, and all of our law enforcement partners are working together with the Maryland Department of Transportation to mitigate the impact of this incident when traffic safety. As always, our troopers are actively monitoring road conditions directing traffic and enforcing safety regulations to prevent crashes and minimize delays.

We're asking all motorists now more than ever exercise both caution and patients, as we navigate through this challenging period. Please adhere to the posted speed limits, avoid distractions while driving, and never drive impaired.

Also please continue to remember the move over law for first responders, tow truck operators work crews, and any motorist who may have become disabled on the side of the road. We understand that this may cause inconvenience however, your shape, is our top priority.

Thank you.


Paul Wiedefeld, secretary of transportation, emphasizing the governor's leadership and directions, the Maryland Department of Transportation continues to support the unified command salvage efforts as has been said many times, well said many were times the top priority is clearing the shipping channel. Crews are out today, working to remove part of the north side of the bridge that remains the first piece could be removed and dropped off to trade point Atlantic as soon as today. As the admiral said, that is done by some of the forces that we brought on board.

But the reality is, it's done by unified command. That's who's doing that work and has also was said this is the first many, many, many steps going forward, but it is a huge milestone as we start this process. I also want to, although -- we've lost, obviously, the tremendous amount of activity at the port of Baltimore. There still is some activity going on to the port of Baltimore, particularly at Tradepoint Atlantic.

Tradeport Atlantic continues to move auto vehicles and put them into their processing center. We're also working with Tradepoint Atlanta to offload auto vehicles at their Sparrows point facility and move them to processing areas where workers can get ready, get them ready for dealerships.

This is all about bringing people back to work I also wanted to stress to the ports distribution operations --

WHITFIELD: All right. We are listening to officials also underscoring Maryland Governor Wes Moore's message there that this is a 24-hour project assets on the water and assets on that vessel, Dali, there, near the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

The mayor there underscoring that there are four directives for the entire team working on these projects to continue to focus on the recovery to open the channel, take care of the people affected.

We know six people died from this bridge collapse. He's mostly talking about them, the family members of those people affected, and the need to rebuild eventually that Key Bridge, a bridge that is vital to the economy, not just in the Baltimore, Maryland area, but the governor underscoring to the nation.

Our Gloria Pazmino is there for us live from the Baltimore area.

And, Gloria, you heard a very succinct message about the efforts and how dangerous it continues to be there for the divers to be able to get into the water. However, they have been able to make some assessments what more did we hear from the officials there?

[13:45:05] PAZMINO: Yeah, Fred. It was really striking just to hear the governor detailing just how meticulous this is all going to be. They are going step by step, making sure that they are so careful about how they do this in the next several days because it is dangerous, it is complicated and they have to get it right.

As you said, the governor has outlined four key components of this operation, their recovery, the clearing of the channel, taking care of those who have been affected, and eventually being able to read he build the bridge.

Now, first to that recovery portion, which gets at the recovery of those who were killed in this incident, the governor it actually struck me. He took the time at the top of the press conference to speak a few words in Spanish to those families who have lost their loved ones funds, saying that they have the support of everyone here and that they are trying to do everything they can to get to them as soon as possible.

But that is an extremely complicated operation. There are tons of debris in the water on top of this ship, mangled metal, concrete. This is extremely dangerous for those divers who would be able to go in there.

We know the divers have not been able to return, but the governor made it clear that the state police, that as soon as that they are able to do so, they will go back in there because they know they have four families who are waiting to hear if the bodies of their loved ones have been recovered. So that's going to be one major part of this operation, extremely dangerous and difficult to navigate the waters considering what's in it.

The freezing temperatures and of course, how dangerous it is to move who all of that debris. Then they're talking about the possibility of clearing this channel. Eventually the hope is that they will be able to clear an area round the wreckage so that ships can start to move in and out. And that the port can reopen and we can start to move things here so that people can get back to work that will be the first part of it.

And as you can see there, it is going to be a long, multi-step process -- Fred.


All right. Gloria Pazmino, thank you so much. We'll continue to monitor the comments from other officials there as the press conference continues to be underway.

We'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: It's been a year since American journalist Evan Gershkovich was detained in Russia. He's been charged with espionage. It's an allegation his employer, the Wall Street Journal, and the U.S. government all formally deny and Russia has yet to provide any evidence to back its accusations.

Joining me right now is the chief international digital editor for "The Wall Street Journal", Grainne McCarthy.

Grainne, so glad to see you, sadly, under such circumstances.

I mean, it was a sad day yesterday for him his family, for his "Wall Street Journal" family, for all of us in the family of journalism that he has now been detained for a year and continues to be very sad this weekend.

How are you feeling?

GRAINNE MCCARTHY, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL DIGITAL EDITOR, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yeah, and thank you for your support and for the support of the entire journalism community. Yeah, yesterday was tough. It was -- it was -- it felt like another punch in the gut, to be honest and we've been fighting for Evan every day over the past year, but still it just felt like a kind of an important moment yesterday.

But we've been galvanized by the support we've got from friends, media colleagues, and everybody around the world. We had a very powerful front page of "The Wall Street Journal" yesterday where we had a large blank space that was really just to show Evans missing journalism is the story that could not be written and the response we've gotten from our readers has just been incredible.

Today is in a way, almost bleaker. Today is the start of Evan's second year in prison. And we are going to continue to be as motivated as possible and do everything we can to get them home.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, that front page was very powerful. I mean, it just really resonated. I mean, his story should be here. And as you say, entering the second near and he just had a birthday, right? Recently and to celebrate his birthday, celebrate use them loosely while he is being detained there.

But then I understand, he has been able to receive correspondence from you all, from family members. So does -- does that allow you or is that why you're able to remain hopeful?

MCCARTHY: We are. We draw a lot of inspiration, and courage and strength, frankly, from Evan. He is an incredible person. You know, he's been in a really tiny cell in the notorious Moscow prison for a year now, but he -- you know, he, he helps motivate all of us. You know, he does write letters, were able to write to him. There is an address that his friends setup shortly after Evan was detained,, and thousands of people around the world are writing to Evan, people he's never met, you know, people who doesn't know, people he may have known years ago.

[13:55:02] And those letters get to him. They're translated by his friends into Russian. You essentially email and then he gets them in prison and he writes back.

We do also how he's doing through our lawyers in Russia who get into see him roughly once a week and also the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, and others at the embassy there who've gotten access to him since he's been there. So we hear about him, but he is remaining strong and that's the least we can do.

We have to -- you know, I always say as hard as hard as it is for us and as hard as it really as first family, it's harder for him. We have to draw strength from that.

WHITFIELD: Well, indeed, and let's hope that he is able to draw strength from hearing about the outpouring and how touched so many people are that he continues to be an inspiration. But, of course, we're all hoping for his release very soon, and safely.

Grainne McCarthy, thank you so much for being with us. And, of course, our prayers continue to go out to him and please convey to him how many of us are thinking of him on a regular basis and how many of us are drawing strength from his resolve, he's incredible.

MCCARTHY: We appreciate it. Thank you so much

WHITFIELD: Thank -- thank you, Grainne.

We'll be right back.