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Baltimore accuses Dali owner and manager of negligence and recklessness

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BALTIMORE : Baltimore City Council is seeking compensation from the owner and manager of the container ship M.V. Dali over the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

In papers submitted to the US federal courts on 22 April, Mayor Brandon Scott and city officials have accused Singapore-based tonnage provider Grace Ocean and ship manager Synergy Marine of negligence.

The plaintiffs alleged that Grace Ocean and Synergy Marine were careless, negligent and reckless, and asserted the 10,000 TEU Dali, which was assigned to Maersk Line’s Asia-US East Coast service, was not seaworthy when the vessel hit the bridge on 26 March, killing six construction workers.

While the cause of the allision between Dali and the bridge is still being investigated, the US National Transportation Safety Board chair Jennifer Homendy said at a US Senate hearing on 10 April that investigators are concentrating on electrical issues on the ship, believing there is a relation between the blackout on Dali and the vessel drifting off course and knocking into the bridge.

Baltimore’s officials have charged that after the supposed power outage in Dali, the backup generator failed to be activated.

Scott and council officials stated that Grace Ocean and Synergy Marine must be held fully responsible for the bridge collapse, even though the two companies have filed a petition seeking to cap any resulting damages, and denying any liability for the incident.

While the damages were not quantified, Baltimore’s authorities stated that the port produced US$70 billion of income annually, and ocean-going container ships made 3,600 trips in 2023. They added that since 1980, ships have passed under the bridge without accidents and that closing the shipping channel in Patapsco River has resulted in economic damage.

The 2015-built Singapore-flagged Dali remains anchored outside Baltimore, pending investigations and salvage operations.

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