Dali cargo ship leaves Baltimore months after causing the deadly bridge collapse

Staff Writers
One of the biggest cranes in America has arrived at the scene of the devastating Baltimore Bridge collapse to help clear the wreckage.

The cargo ship Dali headed out of Baltimore for Virginia, nearly three months after it lost power and crashed into one of the Francis Scott Key bridge’s supporting columns causing the bridge to collapse.

The 300-metre Dali started moving shortly before 8.30am local time on Monday with four tugboats.

The Dali was sailing under its own power with a full crew of 22 and six salvage experts, the US Coast Guard said in a news release.

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The Coast Guard is overseeing the voyage and providing a 450-metre safety zone around the Dali during its trip.

The Dali is scheduled to go directly to Virginia International Gateway to have roughly 1500 cargo containers off-loaded to reduce draft, the Coast Guard said.

Maryland Bridge Collapse
The site of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland. Credit: AP

The vessel is then scheduled to travel further to Norfolk International Terminal, where it is scheduled to undergo continued salvage and repairs from damage caused during the bridge collapse.

Shortly after leaving the Port of Baltimore early on March 26, the ship lost power and propulsion and crashed into one of the bridge’s supporting columns, killing six construction workers.

On May 20, the Dali was refloated and guided back to port. The vessel had been stuck amid the wreckage for almost two months, with a massive steel truss draped across its damaged bow.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation found the ship experienced two power outages in the hours before it left the Port of Baltimore. In the moments before the bridge collapsed, it lost power again and veered off course. The agency is still investigating what caused the electrical failures.

The FBI also launched a criminal investigation.

Last week, under an agreement confirmed by a federal judge, members of the Dali’s crew were allowed to head home. None of the crew members had been able to leave the US since the crash. Under the agreement, the crew members can return home but must be available for depositions.

Thousands of longshoremen, truckers and small business owners have seen their jobs impacted by the collapse, prompting local and state officials to prioritise reopening the port and restoring its traffic to normal capacity in hopes of easing the economic ripple effects.

Earlier this month, officials announced the reopening of the Fort McHenry federal channel, after clearing wreckage from the 210m wide by 15.24m deep channel.

Officials have said they hope to rebuild the bridge by 2028.


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