Baltimore Sues Owners of Dali Cargo Ship for Negligence in Deadly Bridge Collapse

Baltimore sues owners of cargo ship Dali for negligence leading to Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, killing 6 workers. City seeks damages as bridge closure disrupts port and economy.

Trim Correspondents
Updated On
New Update
Baltimore Sues Owners of Dali Cargo Ship for Negligence in Deadly Bridge Collapse

Baltimore Sues Owners of Dali Cargo Ship for Negligence in Deadly Bridge Collapse

The city of Baltimore has filed a lawsuit against the owners and managers of the cargo ship Dali, alleging that their negligence led to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, 2024, killing six construction workers.

The ship, owned by Singapore-based Grace Ocean Private Ltd. and managed by Synergy Marine Pte Ltd., veered off course and slammed into a support column of the bridge, causing the 1.6-mile span to crumple.

Baltimore's lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, accuses the companies of failing to realize the ship was unfit for its voyage and not manning it with a competent crew. The city claims the Dali left the Port of Baltimore despite alarms indicating an inconsistent power supply, suggesting the ship was in an unseaworthy condition. "The city will prove the Dali was clearly unseaworthy when it left port," the lawsuit states. "The companies' actions leading up to this disaster were grossly and potentially criminally negligent."

The bridge collapse occurred around 1:28 a.m. as the Dali was exiting the port. The ship experienced a power outage and crashed into a bridge pylon, knocking eight construction workers into the Patapsco River. Two were rescued, four bodies have been recovered, and two remain missing and presumed dead. The city alleges the crew was incompetent and inattentive, directly leading to the tragic incident.

Why this matters: The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has had devastating impacts on the Port of Baltimore and the region's economy. As a key East Coast shipping hub, the prolonged closure of the port's main channel and disruption to trucking routes could lead to significant financial losses and supply chain issues.

Grace Ocean and Synergy Marine have filed a petition in federal court seeking to cap their liability at around $43.6 million, the value of the ship and its cargo. However, Baltimore leaders argue the companies should be held fully responsible for the disaster. The city is seeking damages for the cost of replacing the bridge, clearing the river, increased road maintenance, and lost port revenues.

The FBI has opened a criminal investigation into the bridge collapse, while the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board are looking into the ship's electrical system and potential power issues before the voyage. Salvage crews are working to remove the collapsed steel and concrete from the Patapsco River, but the port's main shipping channel is expected to remain closed for several more weeks. Mayor Brandon Scott vowed to hold those responsible accountable, stating, "The Dali should never have been allowed to leave the port given its condition. We will get justice for the families of those lost and the people of Baltimore."

Key Takeaways

  • Baltimore sues owners/managers of cargo ship Dali for negligence leading to bridge collapse
  • Dali crashed into a bridge pylon, causing the 1.6-mile Francis Scott Key Bridge to collapse, killing 6
  • Dali had power issues, was allegedly unseaworthy when it left port, with incompetent crew
  • The bridge collapse disrupted the Port of Baltimore, leading to economic losses and supply chain issues
  • Authorities investigating criminal negligence, ship owners seek to cap liability at $43.6M