The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore are suing owner Grace Ocean and manager Synergy Marine of the container ship Dali. They claim alarms were going off even before the ship left the port and allided with the Scott Key Bridge resulting in its collapse.

On 26 March, the 9962 TEU container ship Dali left the Port of Baltimore headed for Colombo. Shortly after departure, the ship lost propulsion, which has been verified by the ship’s Voyage Data Recorder, and allided with the Scott Key Bridge. The bridge subsequently collapsed.

The ship’s crew were reported safe, but eight road workers were working on the bridge when it collapsed. Two were rescued from the water, the bodies of two more were recovered soon after. A third body was recovered on 5 April and a fourth on 14 April. Two remain missing and are presumed dead. The collapse has also blocked access to/from the Port of Baltimore.

Salvage works are ongoing, with debris from the bridge being removed and containers being removed from the Dali to be able to remove the bridge parts resting on the ship, which are also pinning it in place. So far, three temporary channels have been opened to allow some ships to pass. Draught, however, of these channels is still limited. According to the Captain of the Port, approximately fifteen per cent of pre-collapse commercial activity can now access the Port of Baltimore.

Also read: Third temporary channel around collapsed Key Bridge


Grace Ocean and Synergy Marine already issued a lawsuit with the Maryland Federal Court to limit their liability on 1 April. In this claim, the owner and manager deny being responsible for the accident and want to cap the total payout at USD 43.7 million.

The court filing on Monday, 22 April, by the City of Baltimore is a response to that and asks the court to not grant this limitation. Baltimore’s lawyers state the following: ‘Reporting has indicated that, even before leaving port, alarms showing an inconsistent power supply on the Dali had sounded. The Dali left port anyway, despite its clearly unseaworthy condition.’

They go on to say, that they think this is a case of gross negligence and question the skills of the crew. In addition, they blame Grace Ocean and Synergy Marine for among other things, not implementing policies, procedures, and training to ensure the safe operation of the vessel and question whether it was properly maintained.

Picture: Wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and M/V Dali cargo ship, April 17, 2024 (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Theodore C. Lee).

Also read: What happened in the minutes leading up to the Key Bridge collapse