It’s Been 7 Weeks and There are Still 20 Crew Trapped Aboard Ship That Crashed Into Baltimore Bridge

It’s Been 7 Weeks and There are Still 20 Crew Trapped Aboard Ship That Crashed Into Baltimore Bridge

In a prolonged and distressing ordeal, over 20 crew members remain trapped aboard the cargo ship The Dali, seven weeks after it was involved in a catastrophic accident with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. The bridge collapse, which occurred in the early hours of March 26, resulted in the tragic deaths of six construction workers and has left the ship’s crew in a precarious and isolating situation.

The Dali, carrying 20 Indian nationals and one Sri Lankan, crashed into the bridge due to a power failure, leading to significant structural damage and the bridge’s partial collapse into the Patapsco River. This bridge, a vital link between Baltimore and Dundalk, had been an integral part of the area since its completion in 1977. The accident has not only caused physical destruction but also significantly disrupted the lives of the crew members stranded aboard the vessel.

Efforts to salvage the situation included controlled explosions by the US Army Corps of Engineers on May 13 to clear the bridge debris from The Dali, with plans to eventually refloat the ship. However, despite these efforts, the crew remains aboard the vessel, which is anchored a mere 3.7 kilometers from Baltimore’s port. Their continued presence on the ship is compounded by bureaucratic and legal complications, including visa issues and ongoing investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FBI, which have also resulted in the seizure of the crew members’ personal phones.

The confiscation of their phones has severely restricted their ability to communicate with their families or manage personal affairs, such as online banking or bill payments. Recognizing the crew’s dire situation, the Baltimore International Seafarers’ Center has expressed concern over their well-being, highlighting their isolation and the psychological toll it is taking. In response, the Synergy Marine Group, representing the crew, has provided them with new cell phones, though many questions about the seizure and the crew’s future remain unanswered.

As investigations continue and the crew awaits a resolution that will allow them to disembark and return home, the impact of this incident underscores the human cost of such disasters and the complex interplay of logistical, legal, and humanitarian concerns involved in resolving the aftermath of such significant accidents.