Baltimore files legal claim against owner and operator of Dali cargo ship that rammed bridge

ByJillian Sykes, CNNWire
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
City of Balimore blames owner of ship for causing bridge collapse
Lawyers for the city argue the Dali's owner failed to repair known power problems before the collision.

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore filed a legal claim on Monday against the owner and manager of the ship that crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge last month, causing it to collapse.

The Dali, a 213-million-pound ship carrying cargo containers, is owned by Grace Ocean Private Limited and managed by Synergy Marine PTE LTD.

Attorneys for Baltimore's mayor and City Council accused both companies of providing the vessel with an "incompetent crew" that lacked proper skill and training, according to the claim obtained by CNN.

The city is seeking unspecified damages from both companies.

In the early morning hours of March 26, the bridge - a vital economic channel used by 30,000 Marylanders daily - collapsed after being struck by the massive cargo ship which had lost power and veered off course.

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"The Dali slammed into the bridge, causing the bridge's immediate collapse, killing at least six individuals, destroying Baltimore property, and bringing the region's primary economic engine to a grinding halt," the document said.

The claim says the Dali left port despite indications that it had an inconsistent power supply.

"As the Mayor stated in his announcement last week, the City is pursuing its legal claims against those responsible for the Key Bridge catastrophe to ensure that the City, its residents, and its businesses are adequately compensated for their losses. As this matter is now the subject of active litigation, we will reserve further comment for the appropriate judicial forum," the Baltimore City Law Office told CNN.

"Petitioners' negligence is, in other words, readily apparent, and no blame could conceivably be lain at the City's feet," it added.

Earlier this month, Grace Ocean and Synergy Marine filed a petition in federal court asking for a $43.6 million limit on potential liability payouts.

In its Monday court filings, Baltimore asked the court to deny the companies' petition to limit liability.

Darrell Wilson, a representative for Grace Ocean and Synergy Marine, told CNN late Monday that "out of respect for the ongoing investigations and any future legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Coast Guard are leading a criminal investigation into the ship crash, a US official familiar with the matter said last week.

Federal investigators will also look into whether the crew failed to report an earlier issue with the ship that delayed its departure, the official said on April 15.