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Ten Dali crew members cleared to leave U.S., ship expected to depart Baltimore on Monday

Ten members of Dali crew to leave U.S, ship expected to depart Baltimore next week
Ten members of Dali crew to leave U.S, ship expected to depart Baltimore next week 03:13

BALTIMORE-- Ten members of Dali's crew have been cleared to leave the United States, while the ship, which crashed into the Key Bridge three months ago, will be relocated to Norfolk, Virginia on Monday. 

Synergy Marine, the company that manages the ship, told WJZ they are still working to get the remaining 11 crew members home as quickly as possible, but a charity assisting the crew said those people are set to be housed in Baltimore during the ongoing litigation surrounding the incident. 

How long will the remaining crew stay?

That is still in flux. 

"They'll be here for the duration of the litigation process, which could take a year or more," said Rev. Josh Messick with the Baltimore International Seafarers' Center. "I and the other entities involved who are there to support them have as gently as possible tried to prepare them for this eventuality—that they could be here for the foreseeable future. And when all is said and done, they may be one or more of them that remains even longer."

The 11 expected to stay in Baltimore are higher-ranking members of the crew including officers. Ten of them are from India and one is from Sri Lanka. 

Rev. Messick said they will provide transportation and assist them in everyday life. 

"If you could imagine being stranded in a foreign country, how scary and challenging that can be. We are there to help ease them into that so their day-to-day needs will be taken care of," Messick said. "They will have money for food. Their accommodations will be taken care of, either by the company that represents them or another agency, organization that's involved. They will have what they need."

Synergy Marine said they will provide funding for food and lodging. 

When will Dali leave Baltimore? 

The Dali was supposed to head from Seagirt to Norfolk on Friday, but that was moved tentatively to noon on Monday. 

A replacement crew is currently onboard the Dali. 

The ship's owner, Grace Ocean, has sought to limit liability to $43 million, the salvage value of the Dali and its cargo. 

Under an agreement with attorneys, the crew members have agreed to make themselves available for depositions, although in court filings, their lawyer said he will advise them to plead the fifth. 

"They have so much on their shoulders right now, and the enormity of the situation is not lost on them," Rev. Messick told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. "They know that those six workers died, and I think that most people don't realize that they mourn with us. This has been a tragedy for them as much as it has been for us as a community. Their lives will never be the same in spite of doing everything they could to prevent this, this tragedy, and my heart goes out to them every day."

Messick said the crew members who remain in Baltimore may have to agree to certain conditions. "The hope is they will be allowed to move freely within certain parameters. I'm not sure who will set those parameters or what they will be, but our organization will certainly work within them," he said. 

He told Hellgren some officers have expressed a desire to go to a park. 

"They haven't been in nature at all this whole time. They haven't had a chance to decompress. They haven't really had an opportunity to express themselves spiritually, which has been difficult for many of them," Messick said. 

Anxiety for the Dali's original crew

Messick said the ordeal has caused anxiety and stress. 

The crew has remained onboard for more than three months—since before the disaster—including weeks stuck in the middle of the Patapsco River and while explosives were used to remove part of the bridge from the ship. 

"They're all looking for reassurance that everything is going to be ok, and that's not something that I can give. What I can say is I don't know, but I'm here with you for the duration," Messick said. 

Messick told Hellgren his organization wants to provide comfort and some levity to help the crew. 

"Many of the seafarers on the Dali do not know what the next day holds, and they do not know when they will see their families again," Messick said. "Many of them are married. They have young children, and the possibility of not knowing if their families will be able to come here to visit them—they have said they certainly can't afford it. Whether their families can get visas or not, the idea of paying for a flight, for a family to come out is daunting."

It remains uncertain when the 10 members of the crew cleared for release will leave Maryland. 

"Everything is always changing. I know the desire is to have them to the airport directly and as soon as possible," Messick said.

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