The container ship Dali, which caused the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, was refloated on Monday, 20 May, at approximately 7 am local time. With the assistance of five tugboats and other support vessels, the Dali was towed and pushed 2.5 miles, arriving at a local marine terminal at about 9 am.

After the ship had hit the bridge, bridge sections resting on the bow had been pinning the ship into place. Last week, charges were used to cut the bridge section on top of the Dali into smaller pieces, and remove them. This made it possible to now refloat and move the vessel.

Moving the Dali allows all pre-collapse deep-draught commercial vessels to enter and exit the Port of Baltimore.

‘The Unified Command continues to clear the remaining wreckage from the Fort McHenry Federal Channel,’ says the Unified Command in a joint statement. ‘We’re pleased to see the successful refloating and moving of the M/V Dail today to its new location. We won’t slow down until the channel is fully restored.’

Unified Command released a timelapse video of the refloat operation:

Also read: VIDEO: Charges break up bridge sections on top of Dali

Federal channel opened further

The Unified Command anticipates the operational width of the federal channel will soon be almost 122 metres wide to a depth of approximately 15 metres. With the removal of the 48-metre-wide Dali, Unified Command salvage crews, using crane and barge assets already on site, will work to remove any remaining bridge wreckage. This effort will continue until the federal channel is restored to its original width of 213 metres and all steel below the mudline is removed.

The Maryland Transportation Authority will continue to oversee the removal of the remaining steel and concrete outside of the federal channel.

‘This marks the resumption of commercial vessel transits in and out of the Port of Baltimore,’ adds the Unified Command. ‘This truly signifies the next chapter in restoring the waterway commerce in this region, which also serves as the economic engine for thousands of workers and their families who depend on commerce traveling through the Port of Baltimore.’

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

Scott Key Bridge collapse

On 26 March, the container ship Dali left the Port of Baltimore headed for Colombo. Shortly after departure, the ship lost propulsion and allided with the Scott Key Bridge, which 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 other six lost their lives. Their bodies were recovered on different dates, with the last found and recovered on 7 May.

Legal tactics have already been put into play with the owner and manager, Grace Ocean and Synergy Marine respectively, seeking to limit their liability. In response, the City of Baltimore has asked the court to not grant this limitation and claims the vessel left the port in an unseaworthy condition.

The Dali’s crew has remained on board the ship throughout the salvage work.

Photo: The Dali after being refloated (by Unified Command).

Also read: Baltimore claims container ship Dali was unseaworthy before bridge allision