The tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has thrust Baltimore into the international spotlight — along with the conspiracy theories that come with it.

Contrary to takes from far-right personalities online, the bridge collapse was “almost certainly not” a cyberattack, a terrorist attack or the start of World War III, cyber security and maritimes experts told The Banner.

“There’s no good reason to think that that’s the case,” cybersecurity expert Matt Tait said.

While cyberattacks are a big issue in the maritime industry, it’s unlikely that this is the root cause of this incident, said Lotte van de Waal, a licensed maritime deck officer who has worked between offshore, passenger and tanker vessels.

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(Read full coverage of Key Bridge collapse)

Before crashing, the Singapore cargo ship Dali appeared to have mechanical engine problems, van de Waal said. The black smoke coming from the funnel and the flashing of the ship deck lights suggest a problem with the engine, she said.

Cyber attacks target a different part of the ship: the IT computer — a separate system the crew uses to access the internet. Cybercriminals typically target the IT system to steal valuable information that can be held for ransom. There have been no reported issues with the Dali’s IT computer.

“Whilst there have been concerns in the industry that it is theoretically possible to ‘hack a ship,’ there has never been a real-world example of a ‘cyber-hijacking’ of a ship in that way,” said van de Waal.

Coordinating an attack of this scale would take an “astronomic” level of planning that likely wouldn’t have the desired effect, considering that this event occurred on a bridge with little traffic in the middle of the night, Tait said.

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The outcomes of a massive cyberattack would also be radically different. This past November, one of Australia’s largest ports fell victim to a series of cyber attacks that resulted in no physical damage, but did down the port’s computer systems for short time.

The Baltimore Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a press release that there is “no specific and credible information to suggest any ties to terrorism at this time.”

United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron also dispelled attack rumors.

“There is no evidence at this time to suggest that today’s collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore has any ties to terrorism,” Barron said in a public statement. “My office will continue to coordinate with our federal, state, and local partners to provide any support necessary.”

Misinformation and disinformation often run rampant online after massive tragic events even when planned attacks happen, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, which wrote a report debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories that claim the terrorist attack was “an inside job.”

“I think it’s really easy as a psychological sort of coping mechanism to see big terrible things and assume that there must be some big evil intent behind it,” Tait said. “But actually, the vast majority of tragic accidents are just tragic accidents.”