FBI Investigates Cargo Ship Dali's Role in Baltimore Bridge Collapse

The FBI launches a criminal investigation into the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, focusing on the cargo ship Dali's potential role. The city seeks to hold all responsible parties accountable for the substantial economic and environmental losses.

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Wojciech Zylm
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FBI Investigates Cargo Ship Dali's Role in Baltimore Bridge Collapse

FBI Investigates Cargo Ship Dali's Role in Baltimore Bridge Collapse

The FBI has launched a criminal investigation into the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, focusing on whether the crew of the cargo ship Dali was aware of issues with its systems when it left port. The FBI boarded the Dali to conduct court-authorized law enforcement activity as part of the probe.

The investigation will examine if federal laws and regulations were followed, as well as the events leading up to the bridge collapse. The U.S. Attorney's Office for Maryland and the National Transportation Safety Board are also involved in the investigation. The city of Baltimore plans to take legal action against the owner, charterer, manager, and manufacturer of the Dali, and any other potentially liable parties, to seek recourse for the economic and environmental losses caused by the incident.

The 984-foot-long Dali collided with a support column of the bridge, causing it to collapse and resulting in the deaths of six workers who were repairing potholes on the roadway. The ship's owner, Singapore-based Grace Ocean Private Ltd., has initiated a process requiring owners of the cargo on board to cover some of the salvage costs.

Why this matters: The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has had a significant impact on Baltimore, with the Port of Baltimore, which supports over 15,000 jobs, being closed since the incident. The city is seeking to hold the parties involved accountable for the substantial economic losses and distress caused to its residents, businesses, and workers.

Grace Ocean Private Ltd. made a 'general average' declaration, which allows a third-party adjuster to determine what each stakeholder should contribute towards the costs associated with refloating the Dali, which remains stuck with sections of the fallen bridge draped across its damaged bow. Crews are working to remove containers and clear debris from the Port of Baltimore's main channel, which has been largely blocked for weeks.

The general average declaration marks the ship owner's latest effort to minimize its financial responsibility in what could become one of the most expensive maritime disasters in history. The ship's owner and manager have filed an action in the US District Court of Maryland to limit their legal liability to $43.1 million, but attorneys for the victims' families are seeking to challenge this limit.

The Dali and its cargo of about 4,000 shipping containers are expected to return to the Port of Baltimore once the ship is refloated. The FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board continue their investigations into the cause of the disaster, which resulted in the tragic deaths of six members of a roadwork crew. The city of Baltimore remains committed to holding all responsible parties accountable for the substantial losses and hardship inflicted upon the community.

Key Takeaways

  • FBI launched criminal probe into Baltimore bridge collapse, focusing on cargo ship Dali.
  • Dali collided with bridge, causing collapse and 6 worker deaths; ship owner seeks to limit liability.
  • Baltimore plans legal action against Dali's owner, charterer, manager, and manufacturer.
  • Bridge collapse closed Port of Baltimore, causing significant economic losses for the city.
  • Investigations ongoing to determine cause of disaster and hold responsible parties accountable.