The Baltimore Bridge Disaster was Not the First Ship Wreck for the Dali

The Dalis collision into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in the early morning hours on Tuesday was not the first occasion when the merchant vessel had slammed into a fixed object while navigating in port.

The merchant ship crashed into a stone quay in the Belgian port in 2016. As reported by The Telegraph, the Dali “was leaving a port in Antwerp in 2016 when its bow swung around, causing its stern to scrape along the quay.”

European maritime data service Equasis, as corroborated by other media reports, indicate that the Dali struck the stone quay at Antwerp’s port while it was unmooring and departing for the German port of Bremerhaven, causing “hull damage impairing seaworthiness.”

No one was injured in the incident, but the ship was forced to make repairs in Antwerp, according to the maritime incident archive Shipwrecklog, for a “seriously damaged” berth. It also sustained “hull damage impairing seaworthiness,” according to Equasis.

VesselFinder notes that the incident occurred in good weather and was caused by the ship’s master and pilot making an error.

About three months after the Antwerp incident, the Dali was sold by its Greek owner, Oceanbulk Maritime, to Grace Ocean, a Singapore-based subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co.

It is currently unknown who was the captain and pilot of the Dali, since authorities have declined to divulge that information to the public amid. Major news media reports insist that the Dali had an all-Indian crew.

Baltimore’s police chief Richard Worley said there was “no indication” the ship collision was purposeful or an act of terrorism.

The White House stated early Tuesday there was no indication of “any nefarious intent.”

The trajectory of the Dali’s course indicates that the merchant vessel veered starboard while it was approaching the Francis Scott Key Bridge and struck a support beam.

Image credit: The Telegraph

The Telegraph reported that “Dali’s crew issued a mayday call soon after leaving port when it suffered a power failure, which caused the 112,000 cargo ship to career into the bridge’s central pillar.”

While the 22-member crew was accounted for in the wake of the ship crash, there were at least six civilians unaccounted for and presumed lost in the disaster at the time authorities suspended search and rescue operations on Tuesday evening.

By Melinda Davies
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