Baltimore Pinpoints Who Should Be Held Accountable For The Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse

( — In court papers filed on Monday, Baltimore city officials argued that the Singapore-based companies that own and manage the Dali container ship should be held fully liable for the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in March, the Associated Press reported.

In a petition filed shortly after the March 26 bridge collapse, Dali’s owner, Grace Ocean Private Ltd., and managing company, Synergy Marine Pte Ltd., asked the court to cap their liability under an 1851 provision of maritime law. Such a petition is routine in maritime accidents.

In filing a response to the petition, attorneys for the Baltimore City Council and Mayor’s office accused Grace Ocean and Synergy of negligence, arguing that the companies should have known that the container ship was unfit for the voyage.

The Dali lost power on its way out of the Port of Baltimore in the early hours of March 26. The vessel struck a support column on the Francis Scott Key Bridge, collapsing the bridge. Six workers filling potholes on the bridge at the time plunged to their deaths.

In its filing, the city noted that cargo ships have passed under the bridge “without incident” for more than forty years and nothing “should have changed that” on March 26, 2024.

As part of a criminal investigation into the circumstances of the collapse, the FBI boarded the Dali on April 15.

The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the incident, including whether the Dali experienced similar power issues before leaving the Port of Baltimore.

In their March petition, the Singapore companies asked the court to cap their liability at around $43.6 million.

The Dali’s owner, Grace Ocean, also initiated the process to have the owners of the cargo on board the vessel cover some of the costs of salvage.

City officials argue that Grace Ocean and Synergy should be held fully liable for their part in what could be the most expensive maritime disaster in history. They argue in their filing that the long-term economic impact on the region could be devastating.

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