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Baltimore City claims 'negligence' in lawsuit against the Dali, the ship that caused Key Bridge collapse

Baltimore claims 'negligence' in lawsuit filed against cargo ship involved in Key Bridge collapse
Baltimore claims 'negligence' in lawsuit filed against cargo ship involved in Key Bridge collapse 02:57

BALTIMORE - Baltimore City is suing the owners and managers of the Dali, the cargo ship that crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, causing it to collapse and killing six construction workers.

The lawsuit claims the owners of the Dali were negligent in letting the ship leave the Port of Baltimore without failing to fix known power problems.

The ship left the port around 12:45 a.m. and crashed into the Key Bridge around 1:30 a.m.

Eight construction workers were repairing potholes on the bridge during the crash, which knocked them into the Patapsco River. Two were rescued, four have been recovered and two more remain missing and are presumed dead.

Baltimore City is asking the U.S. District Court of Maryland for a jury trial, and is seeking to hold the owners fully liable for the Key Bridge collapse.

"Today, the City filed its claim against the owners and managers of the Dali, in accordance with admiralty and maritime law," the Baltimore City Law Office said in a statement. "As the Mayor stated in his announcement last week, the City is pursuing its legal claims against those responsible for the Key Bridge catastrophe to ensure that the City, its residents, and its businesses are adequately compensated for their losses.  As this matter is now the subject of active litigation, we will reserve further comment for the appropriate judicial forum."  

But the petitioners in this suit already made a move earlier this month attempting to limit their liability. 

The lawsuit says "there were no high winds, visual obstructions or any reason to believe disaster was about the occur" when the ship crashed into the bridge.

The suit alleges alarms showing an inconsistent power supply on the Dali sounded off before leaving the port, but continued on its voyage anyway, the documents state, despite its unseaworthy conditions.

The city also accuses the crew of being incompetent and inattentive to its duties, adding allegations of failing to maintain or use several pieces of equipment, including the ship's engine and propulsion system.

"This is about Baltimore uniting together, standing strong against this tragedy and making sure people are held accountable that played a role in it," Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen said.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board said the 948-foot vessel managed by Synergy Marine Group, a Singapore-based company, said the ship had electrical issues.

The NTSB and Coast Guard are conducting their investigations. Out of respect for those legal investigations, it would be inappropriate to comment further," said Darren Wilson, a spokesperson for Synergy and Grace Ocean Private Limited.   

Six days after the bridge collapse. the two companies filed a joint claim of their own, seeking to free them from liability or limit damages to the value of the ship and estimated revenue, which sits at about $44 million, documents state.

Third temporary shipping channel opens

A third shipping channel on the northeast side of the bridge collapse site opened on Friday, which will allow about 15% of the pre-collapse activity to get in and out of the Port of Baltimore.

Two channels had previously opened within the past few weeks.

The 14-foot channel along the south of the disaster site allows marine vessels access to the Port of Baltimore. An 11-foot channel, 264-feet wide, also opened.

Report: Shipping delays, no price increases

A Federal Reserve report finds that while there are shipping delays, this has not led to widespread price increases as some had feared.

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