The Pride of Baltimore II passes Fort Carroll on her way home, through the site where the Key Bridge used to be. Photo: Kevin Walter

Pride of Baltimore II Returns to Home Port via Limited Key Bridge Channel

The Pride of Baltimore II is safely back home in Baltimore after almost three weeks of uncertainty following the Key Bridge collapse.

On Monday, April 9, Pride of Baltimore, Inc. let Chesapeake Bay Magazine know the good news: quietly and without fanfare, the Pride II was able to return to her slip near the Port of Baltimore. It was a relief for all those involved and a sign of hope for a city that’s been hit hard by the bridge disaster.

When the container ship Dali lost power and struck the bridge spanning the Patapsco River on March 26, it only took seconds for the bridge to crumble into the water. The wreckage, rescue and recovery effort immediately blocked all passage to the Baltimore waterfront and the port. At the time, Pride II was in Annapolis for Maryland Day celebrations and it was clear she wouldn’t going home on time.

Pride II, as seen through the Key Bridge wreckage by tug crewmember Chuck Ball.

The historical ambassador vessel stayed put in Annapolis for two more weekends, thanks to accommodations from the Annapolis Harbormaster. Making the best of a tragic and unusual situation, the ship’s crew offered deck tours both of the weekends Pride was stranded in Annapolis, and thousands of people visited.

When the Key Bridge response team made enough headway in salvage operations at the collapse site, the Captain of the Port was able to open one temporary channel for “commercially essential” vessels to pass through. But with a controlling depth of 11 feet, it was too tight for Pride II to return home. The next day, a second temporary channel was opened, this one on the Hawkins Point side of the bridge site. The Hawkins Point channel had a controlling depth of 14 feet, enough for the replica privateer to pass through.

“It is certainly nice to have the ship home,” says Pride of Baltimore, Inc. Program Coordination Patrick Smith.

Now that the Pride is back on the inside of the bridge work site, the crew will be able to hold its scheduled events in Baltimore for the next two weeks. They include free deck tours at Fort McHenry this Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Scheduled programming and upcoming sunset sails at Baltimore Peninsula will also go on as planned.

The privateer was originally scheduled to return to Annapolis for the Spring Sailboat Show April 26-28. Pride of Baltimore, Inc. tells us they still intend to be there, but any requests for Pride to leave Baltimore again will be reviewed by the Captain of the Port.