Boat heading towards bridge(l), Boat hits port(c), Baltimore Bridge collapse (r)

Guardian News/Youtube Shipwreck Log

Companies behind ship responsible for Baltimore bridge collapse file claim saying they aren’t responsible for it

And if it was, they have a valid defense.


Marlon Ettinger


Posted on Apr 1, 2024

Workers in Baltimore started salvaging the remains of the Francis Key Scott Bridge on Sunday, reported the Baltimore Sun, in the aftermath of a devastating crash by the container ship Dali into the bridge last week. Eight construction workers were on the bridge during the fatal crash. Two are confirmed dead, two survived, and the other four are missing but presumed dead.

A video of that crash, where the ship lost power as it was trying to leave the port of Baltimore, quickly went viral the day of the incident, sparking theories and arguments online over the cause of the accident.

As far as the companies who own the massive, more than 95,000 metric ton ship are concerned though, they shouldn’t bear any liability for the accident, according to documents filed in a Maryland court by Grace Ocean Private Limited and Synergy Marine PTE LTD.

Grace Ocean is a Singapore-based company that owns Dali, and Synergy Marine is a Singapore-based company that operates the ship.

According to the filing by the companies, they should be exonerated from most forms of liability for claims and damages for the incident that happened on March 26, and any subsequent proceedings should be settled under maritime and admiralty law.

The filing says the accident “was not due to any fault, neglect, or want of care on the part of” the companies, or due to any persons and entities who they’re responsible for.

The companies say that salvage costs for the ship will be at least $19,500,000 and that repair costs to Dali, which is valued at $90,000,000, will be at least $28,000,000. 

 In addition, they say that the value of the freight on the ship is around $1,170,000.

That means that what remains of the ship is valued at $42,500,000 “at the termination of the voyage.”

The companies filed the document, they say, because they’re aware that demands and claims will be filed against them, but they don’t think they’re responsible for those damages.

“[We] further allege that [we] have valid defenses to any and all such claims.”

In filing to absolve themselves of all claims, the companies are attempting to prevent them from being sued for the cost of the bridge repairs or any potential demands for compensation from the victims of the bridge collapse and their families. 

While there’s been no official determination of cause, the ship did crash at least once before in 2016.

According to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, there’s no firm timeline for how long it will take to build a new bridge. 

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Del.) told ABC that the federal government would cover about 90% of the costs of rebuilding the bridge and that the Army Corps of Engineers would be in charge of clearing the port.

The Biden administration announced $60 million in emergency funds for the reconstruction of the bridge on Thursday, but there’s no clear estimate of just how much the repairs will cost.

According to a document filed by the Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association Europe for the companies, its insurance company is making $43,671,000 available to them, which is around the current value of the ship. 

If any judgments against the companies are successful, the insurance company says they won’t pay out any more than that amount.

And now, the company says it shouldn’t have to either. 

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*First Published: Apr 1, 2024, 4:57 pm CDT