Baltimore lawsuit: Dali ‘unseaworthy’ before bridge strike

(BALTIMORE) — The mayor and city council of Baltimore have filed a lawsuit against the owner and operator of the ship that struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge last month, causing its collapse and killing six people working on it at the time, Reuters reported.

The lawsuit, filed in Maryland federal court on Monday, seeks unspecified damages from the registered owner of the Singapore-flagged ship, Grace Ocean Pte Ltd., and its manager, Synergy Marine Group. It accuses the companies of negligence in operating the containership Dali, saying the vessel was “unseaworthy” and the loss of the bridge has caused the city’s economic engine to “grind to a halt.”

The containership Dali is shown with the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on March 28. Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command photo

The lawsuit claims the operators of the ship left port on March 26 despite an inconsistent power supply on the ship, which the city says was a criminally negligent decision. It cites economic damages caused by the loss of the bridge, including the cleanup on the river and the closure of the Port of Baltimore.

Darrell Wilson, a spokesman for Grace Ocean and Synergy, said the U.S. Coast Guard and federal regulators are still conducting their investigations into the cause and said it would be inappropriate to comment.

Grace Ocean and Synergy filed a petition on April 1 in Maryland federal court to limit their liability from the crash. If the court grants it, the companies’ liability could be limited to the present value of the ship, which they estimated to be $42.5 million, according to the petition.

By Professional Mariner Staff