Dali owners DENY fault and demand lawsuits be capped at $43.6million – the cost of the boat that crashed into the Baltimore Key Bridge sparking deadly collapse

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • The owner and manager of the Dali have denied fault for the crash and sought to limit their liability to the value of the ship 
  • On March 26 the cargo ship crashed into the Key Bridge and killed six people
  • Baltimore officials are building two temporary alternate channels for vessels 

The owner and manager of the Dali cargo ship that crashed into Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge filed a court petition seeking to limit their legal liability for the catastrophe – as President Biden is expected to tour the damage on Friday.

Singapore-based Grace Ocean Private Ltd. owns the Dali, the vessel that lost power before it slammed into the bridge last week. Synergy Marine Pte Ltd., also based in Singapore, is the ship’s manager.

The companies filed a ‘limitation of liability’ petition on Monday in federal court denying any fault or neglect and seeks to cap their liability at roughly $43.6 million – which they claim is the ships total value after losses and damages.

‘The Casualty was not due to any fault, neglect, or want of care on the part of Petitioners, the Vessel, or any persons or entities for whose acts Petitioners may be responsible,’ said the filing. 

‘Alternatively, if any such faults caused or contributed to the Casualty, or to any loss or damage arising out of the Casualty, which is denied, such faults were occasioned and occurred without Petitioners’ privity or knowledge.’

The owner and manager of the Dali cargo ship that crashed into Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge filed a petition to limit their legal liability

They are denying any fault or neglect and seeks to cap their liability at roughly $43.6 million - which they claim is the ships total value after losses and damages

They are denying any fault or neglect and seeks to cap their liability at roughly $43.6 million – which they claim is the ships total value after losses and damages

A federal court in Maryland will ultimately decide who is responsible for the crash and how much they owe

A federal court in Maryland will ultimately decide who is responsible for the crash and how much they owe

‘If the Court determines that Owner and/or Synergy is liable, that such liability be limited to the value of the Vessel and its pending freight in connection with the voyage,’ said the filing.

The companies said before the fatal voyage, the value of the ship was no greater than $90 million. They estimated the repair costs will be at least $28 million, the salvage costs will be at least $19.5 million and the freight costs is estimated at $1.17 million.

The groups filed under a pre-Civil War provision of an 1851 maritime law that allows them to seek to limit their liability to the value of the vessel’s wreckage after a casualty. 

A federal court in Maryland will ultimately decide who is responsible for the crash and how much they owe.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said the president will travel to Baltimore on Friday.

‘As the president said within hours of the collapse, this administration will be with the people of Baltimore every step of the way,’ Jean-Pierre said.

Biden is expected to meet with state and local leaders – including Maryland Governor Wes Moore – as he tours the damage area.

She added the administration is working with Congress to ensure that the federal government will pay to rebuild the bridge.

Baltimore officials have also announced they will build two temporary alternate channels for commercially essential vessels following last week’s collapse.

Crews have begun the complicated work of removing steel and concrete at the site of the bridge’s deadly collapse into the Patapsco River after the freighter collision, which left six construction workers. 

Twenty-two sailors are still confined to the Dali since last Tuesday’s disaster as they answer investigators’ questions about the catastrophe.

On Sunday, dive teams surveyed parts of the bridge and checked the ship, and workers in lifts used torches to cut above-water parts of the twisted steel superstructure. 

‘This will mark an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore,’ Capt. David O’Connell, the federal on-scene coordinator of the response, said in a statement Sunday night. ‘By opening this alternate route, we will support the flow of marine traffic into Baltimore.’

On Monday, the Small Business Administration opened a center in Dundalk, Maryland, to help companies get loans to help them with losses caused by the disruption of the bridge collapse.

The bridge fell as the crew of the cargo ship Dali lost power and control on March 26. They called in a mayday, which allowed just enough time for police to stop vehicles from getting on the bridge, but not enough time to get a crew of eight workers off the structure.

Eight construction workers were filling potholes on the bridge when the crash happened. Two were rescued soon after the collapse. Divers recovered the bodies of two others and the other four are presumed dead.  

Baltimore officials announced they will build two temporary alternate channels for commercially essential vessels following the collapse

Baltimore officials announced they will build two temporary alternate channels for commercially essential vessels following the collapse

On Sunday, dive teams surveyed parts of the bridge and checked the ship, and workers in lifts used torches to cut above-water parts of the twisted steel superstructure

On Sunday, dive teams surveyed parts of the bridge and checked the ship, and workers in lifts used torches to cut above-water parts of the twisted steel superstructure

Twenty-two sailors are still confined to the Dali since the disaster as they answer investigators' questions about the catastrophe

Twenty-two sailors are still confined to the Dali since the disaster as they answer investigators’ questions about the catastrophe

The workers came to the Maryland area from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, according to diplomats from those countries.

One worker, 38-year-old Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, came to the U.S. from Honduras nearly two decades ago. His brother described him as an entrepreneurial and hard-working husband and father of two. And El Salvador’s foreign minister, Alexandra Hill Tinoco, posted Wednesday on X that one Salvadoran citizen, Miguel Luna, was among the missing workers.

Along with clearing the shipping channel to reopen the port, officials are trying to determine how to rebuild the major bridge, which was completed in 1977 and carried Interstate 695 around southeast Baltimore and was central to the city’s centuries of maritime culture.

Congress is expected to consider aid packages to help people who lose jobs or businesses because of the prolonged closure of the Port of Baltimore. The port handles more cars and farm equipment than any other U.S. facility.

President Joe Biden said he expects the federal government to pick up the entire rebuilding cost. His administration approved $60 million in emergency federal aid to pay for debris removal and other initial costs.

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