Watch CBS News

Owner of Dali ship seeks to limit liability in Baltimore bridge collapse

Small vessels pass through Port of Baltimore
Smaller vessels pass through alternate channel for first time since Baltimore bridge collapse 01:30

Baltimore — The Singaporean company that owns the cargo ship that collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge last week took steps Monday to limit its liability for the accident.

The Dali, a 984-foot-long vessel carrying shipping containers, struck one of the Key Bridge's support columns around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, causing the tragic collapse. Six people are presumed dead, and a salvage operation is underway to clear debris and recover the bodies of the four victims that have not yet been located. 

There are believed to be eight construction workers who were on the bridge at the time of the collision. In addition to the six victims, two other workers were rescued from the water.  

The six-page, preemptive filing in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore from Grace Ocean Private Limited, and the manager of the ship, Synergy Marine Group, is potentially in anticipation of a wave of civil lawsuits or a Justice Department civil complaint.  

The company, represented by a group of attorneys from Baltimore and Washington, asks the court to "issue an order enjoining the commencement of or further  prosecution of any claims or causes of action against Petitioners except in this action" and that the court "determine that Petitioners are not liable for any loss or damage arising out of the Casualty."

"In the alternative, if the Court determines that Owner and/or Synergy is liable," the filing asks "that such liability be limited to the value of the Vessel and its pending freight in connection with the  voyage, and that Petitioner(s) be discharged therefrom upon the surrender of such interest, and that  the money surrendered, paid, or secured to be paid be divided pro-rata among the claimants that  are successful in proving their claims, reserving to all parties any priorities to which they may be  legally entitled, and that a decree may be entered discharging Petitioner(s) from all further liability."

The filing also notes that the pending freight at the time of the voyage is estimated at $1.17 million. 

Under the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, a shipowner can try to limit the amount they have to pay if their ship is involved in an accident to the value of the ship.

Also Monday, salvage crews opened an emergency passageway through the Patapsco River, allowing limited vessels to reach the Port of Baltimore.

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.