Watch CBS News

Dali, eight crew members set to leave Baltimore for first time since Key Bridge collapse

8 Dali crew members can leave country; ship to depart Friday
8 Dali crew members can leave country; ship to depart Friday 03:17

BALTIMORE -- Eight of the Dali's crew members will be allowed to depart the ship and return to their home countries following a last-minute deal approved by a federal judge, while the ship is expected to leave Baltimore Friday evening.

The agreement approved by a federal judge allows those crew members to depart the ship, which crashed into Baltimore's Key Bridge on March 26, and return to their home countries.

The agreement impacts members of the Dali's crew, including a cook and oiler.  The other 13 higher-ranking crewmembers will be forced to stay in Baltimore until the litigation is complete.   

"We were concerned that the men would be spirited away never to be seen again, and we're happy the court granted a prompt hearing, and in the meantime, we were able to work out an agreement with the other side so that we would not be prejudiced by these men leaving with the ship," said attorney Billy Murphy, who represents one claimant. "The promise that was made is that these people will be produced when we ask them to be produced, and the other side is taking full responsibility and is guaranteeing that."

Terms of last-minute agreement

Lawyers for Baltimore City and other parties originally asked the judge to block the crew from going home.

However, the new agreement includes making the crew available in London for depositions and releasing personnel files, training files, employment contracts and audits. 

Higher-ranking crew required to stay 

Rev. Josh Messick, from the Baltimore International Seafarers' Center, is helping care for the crew

He told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren the other 13 higher-ranking crew members—from bosun, the senior deckhand, on up — will be allowed off the ship but must stay in Baltimore. 

Messick said the government will provide hotels or apartments and those crew members will remain in Baltimore as needed while the litigation progresses. 

The Seafarers' Center will provide transportation for them, and Messick said, the crew will be allowed to move freely but must submit to any court-ordered depositions. 

Pleading the fifth

Lawyers for the crew said in court filings they would advise them to plead the fifth if questioned. 

Murphy represents a claimant named Damon Davis but declined to reveal more about him.

"My client has not reacted well to what is going on and does not want any publicity at this time," Murphy said. "He's got PTSD, and it's a serious matter to him, and so out of respect for his privacy, I don't talk about him yet."

Dali set to depart Baltimore 

The Dali is tentatively expected to leave Baltimore at 6 p.m. Friday with a replacement crew on board,"  the Seafarers' Center told WJZ. 

For now, it remains at Seagirt Terminal at the Port of Baltimore.

The ship's owner, Grace Ocean, wants to cap damages at $43 million, the salvage value of the ship and its cargo. That is far from the nearly $2 billion the replacement bridge alone is expected to cost.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.