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Dali cargo ship departs Baltimore for Virginia, months after bridge collapse

  • The cargo ship Dali was sailing from Baltimore to Virginia about three months after it lost power and struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge.
  • The 984-foot-long Dali began moving shortly before 8:30 a.m. with the help of four tugboats.
  • The Dali was sailing under its own power with 22 crew members and six salvage experts on board, according to the US Coast Guard.

The cargo ship Dali set sail from Baltimore to Virginia on Monday, nearly three months after it lost power and struck a support pillar of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing it to collapse.

The 984-foot-long Dali began moving just before 8:30 a.m. with four tugboats.

The Dali was sailing under its own power with 22 crew members and six salvage experts on board, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a news release.

Port of Baltimore fully reopens after $100 million cleanup of collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge

The Coast Guard is monitoring the voyage and maintaining a 500-yard safety zone around the Dali while it is underway.

Francis Scott Key Bridge

The collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge rests on top of the container ship Dali in Baltimore, photographed from Riviera Beach, Maryland, on May 12, 2024. The Dali set sail from Baltimore to Virginia on Monday, nearly three months after it lost power and struck a support column of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing the bridge to collapse. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

The Dali will head directly to the Virginia International Gateway Port to unload about 1,500 cargo containers to reduce its draft, the Coast Guard said, before moving to Norfolk International Terminal to continue salvaging and repairing damage caused by the bridge collapse.

Shortly after leaving the Port of Baltimore in the early hours of March 26, the ship lost power and thrust and struck one of the bridge’s supports, killing six construction workers.

On May 20, the Dali was refloated and returned to port after being trapped in the wreckage for nearly two months, with huge steel trusses still hanging from its damaged bow.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found that the ship experienced two power outages in the hours before it left the port of Baltimore, and lost power again just before the bridge collapsed, causing it to veer off course. The board is still investigating the cause of the electrical failures.

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The FBI has also launched a criminal investigation.

Under an agreement upheld by a federal judge last week, the Dali crew will be allowed to return home. None of them have been allowed to leave the United States since the crash. Under the agreement, the crew can return home but must give depositions.

Thousands of dockworkers, truck drivers and small business owners have lost their jobs in the wake of the collapse, and local and state officials are prioritizing reopening ports and getting traffic back to normal in hopes of mitigating the economic ripple effects.

Earlier this month, officials announced they would reopen the Fort McHenry Federal Waterway after removing debris from the 700-foot-wide, 50-foot-deep waterway.

Officials say they hope to have the bridge rebuilt by 2028.

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