The container ship that crashed into Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge could be moved this week after a series of controlled explosions cleared debris from the vessel’s bow.

The blasts on Monday were designed to break parts of the bridge brought down in the accident on 26 March into smaller sections for removal, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The 9,962-teu Dali (built 2015) struck the bridge after a loss of power, bringing down a large section and killing six construction workers.

The operation to clear the wreckage had been due to take place over the weekend but was delayed owing to bad weather.

Officials said the operation went to plan and the intention is to move the Dali in the next day or so to allow for the further reopening of shipping lanes.

Since the crash, four temporary lanes have been opened and authorities hope to restore full traffic by the end of the month.

Baltimore authorities have sued the shipowner and manager and claimed that the vessel should never have left port owing to technical problems. The FBI has launched a criminal inquiry.

The owner of the ship, Grace Ocean, and manager, Synergy Marine, have applied to the US courts to limit their liability to $44m. The costs of rebuilding the bridge, loss of trade and other claims are estimated at between $2bn and $4bn.

The previous most costly casualty was assessed at $1.5bn when the Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground off Tuscany leaving 32 people dead.

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