Baltimore Bridge collapse: Entire cargo ship crew of 22 were Indians

Crew of the Singapore-flagged 'Dali' had flagged a power issue before the collision; Mayday may have saved many lives

The collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge lies across the bows of the the container ship 'Dali' that collided with it on 26 March 2024 (photo courtesy @BaltCoFire/X)
The collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge lies across the bows of the the container ship 'Dali' that collided with it on 26 March 2024 (photo courtesy @BaltCoFire/X)


The entire 22-member crew of the cargo ship that struck a major bridge in Baltimore early Tuesday, 26 March, were Indians. They had alerted the authorities about a “power issue” just before the collision that caused the bridge to snap and plunge into the river

The Singapore-flagged container ship Dali collided with one of the pillars of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore at approximately 1:30 a.m. local time.

According to the vessel information provided by the Synergy Marine Group, which operates the Dali, the crew was “all Indian, 22 in total”.

The Dali has a capacity of 10,000 TEU and had 4,679 TEU on board at the time of the collision. Grace Ocean Private Ltd owns the vessel and the ship’s movement was outbound from Baltimore to Colombo.

The owners and managers of the Singapore-flagged container ship Dali report that the vessel collided with one of the pillars of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, Baltimore, whilst under pilotage. It had two pilots on board, ship management company Synergy Marine Group said in a statement.

'All crew members, including the two pilots, have been accounted for and there are no reports of any injuries. There has also been no pollution,' it said.

Whilst the exact cause of the incident is yet to be determined, the Dali's crew alerted authorities about a “power issue” before the collision, Maryland governor Wes Moore said, adding that its Mayday call enabled workers to stop more vehicular traffic from coming on to the bridge.

"We can confirm that the crew notified authorities of a power issue,” Moore told reporters.

Moore was asked whether the crew on the Dali ship alerted authorities about losing propulsion and informed them that it was in trouble.

“Yes,” Moore replied, on being asked whether the crew had lost power on the ship. He added that the ship was coming in “at a very rapid speed”.

The ship lost power and rammed into the bridge, causing the span to buckle into the river below and plunging a construction crew and several vehicles into the dangerously cold waters.

"We do know that the investigation is currently going on," he said. "But I have to say I'm thankful for the folks who, once the warning came up and once notification came up that there was a Mayday, who literally by being able to stop cars from coming over the bridge — these people are heroes. They saved lives last night.”

“We are thankful that between the Mayday and the collapse, we had officials who were able to begin to stop the flow of traffic so more cars were not up on the bridge,” he added.

Moore added that the preliminary investigation “points to an accident. We haven't seen any credible evidence of a terrorist attack”.

Authorities have said that two people have been rescued and a search is on for six more persons.

The US Coast Guard and local officials have been notified, and the owners and managers are fully cooperating with federal and State government agencies under an approved plan.

'We are horrified by what has happened in Baltimore, and our thoughts are with all of those affected,' leading shipping company Maersk, which had chartered the Dali to carry its cargo, said in a statement.

'We can confirm that the container vessel Dali, operated by charter vessel company Synergy Group, is time chartered by Maersk and is carrying Maersk customers’ cargo. No Maersk crew and personnel were onboard the vessel,' the statement said.

'We are closely following the investigations conducted by (the) authorities and Synergy, and we will do our utmost to keep our customers informed,' it added.

Meanwhile, Governor Moore said that his office is in close communication with US transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, Baltimore mayor Brandon Scott, Baltimore county executive Johnny Olszewski and the Baltimore Fire Department as emergency personnel worked on the scene following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Moore has declared a state of emergency in Maryland and said: "We are working with an interagency team to quickly deploy federal resources from the Biden Administration.”

“We will remain in close contact with federal, state and local entities that are carrying out rescue efforts as we continue to assess and respond to this tragedy,” he added.

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