Interview: How Safe Are Our Waterways?

port safety
Dali after hitting the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore

Published Apr 5, 2024 7:24 PM by The Maritime Executive


In the days following the allision of the containership Dali with Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key, the question of port safety has come to the forefront across the country. Many ports have similar geographies with shipping channels passing under critical bridges and other infrastructure, raising the question of safety precautions and operations for major U.S. ports.

San Francisco has its challenges with a busy port. In 2007, for example, a containership hit a Bay Bridge tower in San Francisco’s port, which spurred the adaptation of improved safety systems

Public radio station KQED in San Francisco hosted a discussion with maritime experts about the area’s waterways and the safety protocols in place to prevent and react to disasters.


(Listened to the discussion)


Alexis Madrigal, the co-host of the Forum program, leads the discussion with:

•    Scott Humphrey, executive director of the Marine Exchange San Francisco Bay Area Region; chairman of the San Francisco Harbor Safety Committee

•    Captain Taylor Lam, captain of the Port for Northern California, US Coast Guard

•    Tony Munoz, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Maritime Executive

The program explores port operations while asking the question whether a similar crash into Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key bridge, which killed six people and spilled thousands of gallons of oil, could happen in the San Francisco area.