As many as 150 crew members are stuck on enormous ships in the Port of Baltimore, unable to move until state and federal officials open the channel so they can depart for berths all over the world.

Beyond the more than 20 sailors on the cargo ship Dali, which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge and toppled it early Tuesday, seven commercial ships with crews ranging from 12 to 20 people ring one of the nation’s busiest waterways.

Some are in Curtis Bay, some in Dundalk. All are unable to leave until the Unified Command, which is handling the investigation and debris removal, opens the Port of Baltimore to traffic. Federal and state officials say they cannot give a timeline of when that may happen.

Four Maritime Administration Ready Reserve Force vessels are also behind the fallen bridge in the Baltimore harbor, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. These ships are berthed in Baltimore, but ready to deploy within five or 10 days as part of the nation’s Ready Reserve Force for homeland security training or similar activities.

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U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, said Sunday he hoped to work with colleagues to find “temporary accommodations” that would allow crew members to disembark for longer periods of time.

Many crew members do not have the appropriate visas to leave the ship, so they rely on benevolent organizations that tend to mariners to deliver them toiletries, snacks and other essentials.

The Rev. Joshua Messick, director of the Baltimore International Seafarers’ Center and chaplain for the Port of Baltimore, had taken crew members of the Singapore-flagged Dali out prior to the bridge collapse for essentials. On Saturday morning, he sent over another care package with baked goods and two Wi-Fi hot spots.

“They are really anxious to contact home and let their families know they’re all right,” Messick said. While a couple members of the crew had functioning cellphones, the ability to send emails and communicate via direct-message channels will “give a clearer picture of what’s going on,” he said.

Still, Messick said he’s had mixed emotions about helping crew members connect the crew to the wider world, where along with news of families back home they might also hear some of the conspiracy theories blaming them for the accident.

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“It makes me really sad to think about them being confronted with that,” Messick said. He also sent a letter in the care package to the captain, thanking him for doing all that he could to save lives.

Messick, his staff and volunteers have visited each ship daily, offering transit for crew members to Walmart and Target as well as field trips to attractions such as the S.S. John W. Brown, a liberty ship-turned-museum in Baltimore. The ships are flying under flags from Liberia, the Marshall Islands, the Netherlands, Panama, Portugal, Sweden and Thailand.

Indian nationals make up most of the crew of the Dali. One crew member is Sri Lankan. While on board, they are continuing to maintain the systems that keep the ship afloat while assisting with requests from the Coast Guard and generally being available for interviews and requests from National Transportation Safety Board investigators.

“They are particularly anxious right now,” Messick said of the Dali crew. “They don’t know what the future holds for them, they don’t know what public perception is, and I imagine the weight of the situations is particularly heavy on their shoulders.”

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