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Dali Cargo Ship Departs from Baltimore Following Bridge Collapse, Embarks on Journey to Virginia for Repairs and Salvage

Bridge collapse aftermath scene.

Dali Cargo Ship Sets Sail from Baltimore After Bridge Collapse

The City of Baltimore saw the Dali cargo ship embark on its journey to Virginia, nearly three months following the disastrous collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge. The large vessel, weighing 984 feet, commenced its trip at approximately 8:30 a.m, accompanied by four tugboats.

Cargo Ship Crew and Safety Measures

A team of twenty-two crew members and six salvage experts onboard were in charge of the ship’s operation. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the body in charge of overseeing the voyage, the Dali operated under its power. For safety purposes, a 500-yard safety zone was established around the Dali during its journey.

The vessel is firstly headed to the Virginia International Gateway. Here, approximately 1,500 cargo containers are to be off-loaded in an effort to reduce the ship’s draft. The Dali will then head to Norfolk International Terminal, where the ship will undergo ongoing salvage and repairs from the damage caused during the bridge mishap.

Reviewing the Catastrophe

The Dali had initiated its voyage from the Port of Baltimore on the early morning of March 26, when it lost power and propulsion. The unfortunate event led to the ship crashing into one of the bridge’s supporting columns, causing it to collapse and tragically resulting in the death of six construction workers.

It was not until May 20 that the Dali was refloated and maneuvered back to the port. The ship had remained stuck amidst the wreckage for almost two months, with the substantial steel truss of the collapsed bridge hovering over its damaged bow.

The Ongoing Investigation

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the ship experienced two power outages before leaving the port on the day of the disaster. Further, in the moments preceding the bridge’s collapse, the ship’s power failed once again, causing it to stray off course.

Investigators have conducted in-person interviews with the ship’s crew and have removed certain elective components for further analysis. The object of the ongoing investigation is to identify the cause of the electrical failures, with a primary focus on examining the design and operation of the vessel’s electrical power distribution system.

Crew Members Returning Home

Following an agreement ratified by a federal judge, some crew members of the Dali have been permitted to return home. The crew, comprised largely of individuals from India and Sri Lanka, must be available for depositions as per the agreement.

Impact on Local Economic Activity

The bridge collapse has significantly impacted local Longshoremen, truckers, and small business owners, leading state and local officials to prioritize the reopening of the port and restoration of normal traffic. The aim is to mitigate the economic ripple effects caused by the accident.

Officials recently announced the reopening of the Fort McHenry federal channel, after clearing the wreckage. Monday also saw the submission deadline for proposals to rebuild the bridge. Although procurement regulations restrict the dissemination of any information about the proposals, it is estimated that the contract award and the design-build team will be announced by mid to late summer. The projected timeline for rebuilding the bridge is by 2028.

Dali Cargo Ship Departs from Baltimore Following Bridge Collapse, Embarks on Journey to Virginia for Repairs and Salvage

HERE Knoxville
Author: HERE Knoxville

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