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The city of Baltimore is arguing the owner and operator of the cargo ship that crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge should not be able to avoid liability, highlighting that the vessel was “unseaworthy” at the time of departure from the port last month, according to recent court documents.

Lawyers representing the city accused Grace Ocean Private, the ship’s owner, and Synergy Marine Group, its operator, exhibited severe negligence. They argued, “For more than four decades, cargo ships made thousands of trips every year under the Key Bridge without incident. “There was nothing about “March 26, 2024, that should have changed that.” The lawyers added that Grace Ocean Private and Synergy Marine Group “saw fit to put a clearly unseaworthy vessel into the water. In no way should their liability be limited.

Skynews Francis Scott Key Bridge 6501361

This all comes after the Dali, a 984-foot-long cargo ship, was exiting Baltimore Harbor bound for Sri Lanka but abruptly lost power and collided with the bridge, causing it to collapse into the Patapsco River. Immediately before the collision, a mayday call from the ship enabled police to stop road traffic. However, eight bridge workers were thrown into the water as the structure fell. Rescuers managed to save two of the workers; four have been confirmed dead, and two remain missing.

In response to the disaster, the ship’s owners have petitioned a federal court to cap their liability to roughly $43.6 million. The city argues that this amount is insufficient and insists on a trial to expose the full extent of the operators’ failures. The legal filing estimates the ship’s value at about $90 million, with potential earnings of over $1.1 million from the cargo it carried. The projected costs for repairs and salvage efforts are anticipated to reach over $1 billion.

Following the incident, the FBI launched a criminal investigation to determine if any federal laws were violated leading up to the bridge’s collapse.


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