Baltimore bridge collapse: Ship crew to remain on board until probe is over

The twenty Indians and one Sri Lankan crew member of the cargo ship that struck the Baltimore bridge last week are busy with their normal duties and will stay on board until the accident inquiry is over. 

“It is confirmed there are 21 crew members on board. The crew members are busy with their normal duties on the ship as well as assisting the National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard investigators on board,” a spokesperson of Grace Ocean Pte and Synergy Marine told PTI.

The crew is on board the container vessel Dali that collided with the 2.6-km-long four-lane Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River in Baltimore in the early hours of March 26. The 984-foot cargo ship was bound for Colombo, Sri Lanka.

When asked about how long the crew have to stay on board the ship, the spokesperson said, “We do not know how long the investigation process will take and until that process is complete, the crew will remain on board.”

The Singapore-flagged Dali is owned by Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and managed by the Synergy Marine Group. Earlier, the non-profit organisation Baltimore International Seafarers’ Center had said that the Indian crew on board the container vessel was “healthy”.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in Delhi earlier stated that there were 20 Indians on board Dali and the Indian embassy in Washington was in close touch with them and local authorities.

US police started questioning Dali’s crew last week. As part of their inquiry, the NTSB boarded the ship on Wednesday, according to a statement from Synergy Group, and gathered documents, voyage data recorder extracts, and other evidence.

All crew members and the two pilots on board the ship are safe, according to confirmation from Grace Ocean and Synergy. They did, however, identify one minor injury and state that the crew member received medical attention before being released from the hospital.

Six people, who were part of a construction crew repairing potholes on the bridge when the collision occurred, are presumed dead. Divers recovered the bodies of two of the construction workers from a red pickup truck found submerged in the river and a search was on for the remaining four victims.

(With inputs from agencies)

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