Dali refloated and towed to port


The M/V Dali has been successfully refloated and towed to Seagirt Marine Terminal.

Over a month after the tragic collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, the container ship responsible for the incident, M/V Dali, was refloated on Monday and moved the containership to the Seagirt Marine Terminal at the Port of Baltimore.

Unified Command said that M/V Dali was refloated and moved at approximately 7 a.m. The ship was towed with the assistance of five tugboats and other support vessels, arriving at the terminal at approximately 9 a.m.

“The M/V Dali became buoyant roughly at 6:40 a.m. As of 7:00 a.m., it is currently being moved by tugboats under favorable environmental conditions,” the Unified Command said in an update.

Unified Command

The Dali was towed at roughly 1 mph on its 2.5-mile transit to the marine terminal. Authorities intend to offload the vessel’s cargo and conduct necessary interim maintenance during its stay at Seagirt Terminal.

This operation was carefully timed to coincide with peak high tide to facilitate a controlled transit. The process involved releasing anchors and morning lines, as well as deballasting and detailed dive inspections.

“The Unified Command continues to clear the remaining wreckage from the Fort McHenry Federal Channel,” said the Unified Command in a joint statement.

The Unified Command anticipates the operational width of the federal channel will soon be 400 feet wide to a depth of 50 feet. Work to remove any remaining bridge wreckage is underway and will continue until the federal channel is restored to its original width of 700 feet and all steel below the mudline is removed.

“This marks the resumption of commercial vessel transits in and out of the Port of Baltimore,” said the Unified Command. “This truly signifies the next chapter in restoring the waterway commerce in this region, which also serves as the economic engine for thousands of workers and their families who depend on commerce traveling through the Port of Baltimore.”

Investigation and the crew

The Dali had been lodged at the wreckage site for over 50 days since March 26, with its crew remaining on board as investigations into the incident’s cause continue. The crew, mostly Indian nationals, have faced challenges including restricted communication, as their cell phones were confiscated by investigators. This has prompted concerns from unions about the mental well-being of the seafarers, who have been unable to contact their families or manage personal affairs such as paying bills and sending money back home.

However, Synergy Marine, the manager of the ship, said that the crew has received replacement phones to be able to reach out to their loved ones.

“There has been constant contact with the crew from the very beginning, and not only from this company but also from the US authorities, seafarers’ rights and also religious groups and the individual embassies who have visited them on board,” the company said adding that it was closely monitoring the crew’s physical and mental welfare, and providing counselling 24/7.

“It is still not known how long the investigation will take, so for the foreseeable future the crew will remain on board, and the Synergy Marine Group will continue to provide them with every care and support. We hope that, soon after the Dali is secure at a berth, the authorities will allow them to disembark so we can arrange to get them home,” the company added.

Last week, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report shedding light on the sequence of events leading up to the allision.

The Singapore-flagged cargo vessel was transiting out of Baltimore Harbor when it experienced a loss of electrical power and propulsion, causing it to strike the southern pier of the bridge.

After entering the Fort McHenry Channel, Dali experienced another blackout, causing a loss of electrical power to the main engine cooling water pumps and steering gear pumps. Despite efforts to restore power, the vessel lost propulsion and steering, leading to the collision with the Key Bridge.

According to the report, the container ship experienced two blackouts on the previous day: one occurred about 10 hours before leaving Baltimore during in-port maintenance when a crew member mistakenly closed an engine exhaust damper, causing a stall due to loss of power; and the second blackout occurred due to insufficient fuel pressure shortly afterward.

This article has been updated since its initial publishing on May 20, with details from Unified Command provided upon completion of the towing operation.

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