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Ship Owner and Management of “MV DALI” Must Be Held Responsible for the Collapse of the Baltimore Bridge

In response to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, the city’s mayor and city council attorney have taken a firm stance, asserting that the ship owner, Grace Ocean, and the ship management company, Synergy Group, must bear full responsibility.

According to court records, the MV DALI operated in an extremely irresponsible manner at the time of the accident, exhibiting behavior that can be described as intentional, reckless, and rash. The charges against the DALI include, but are not limited to, unseaworthiness, inadequate training of crew members, failure to comply with safety operating procedures, poor maintenance of the vessel and its components, incompetence of crew members, and improper equipment management. These allegations undoubtedly place serious blame on both companies.

The city of Baltimore responded swiftly and resolutely to this incident. Immediately after the accident, the city council filed a lawsuit against the ship owner and the ship management company. Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) promptly initiated a criminal investigation. As for the leasing party, Maersk, although it was not directly involved in the accident, the details of its charter agreement may allow it to escape some responsibility.

However, the mayor and city council of Baltimore have not eased their pursuit of accountability. They firmly rejected the ship owner and ship management company’s motion to limit or exempt liability, insisting on a trial by jury. They believe that the liability cap sought by these two companies is far below the amount of damages and claims resulting from the collision between the DALI and the bridge.

One of the primary allegations by the city of Baltimore is that both the ship owner, Grace Ocean, and the ship management company, Synergy Marine, were well aware of the serious safety hazards posed by the DALI, yet allowed it to operate in a dangerous manner. The city council points out that the DALI was not only unseaworthy, but its crew members also lacked proper training, failed to follow safety protocols, and poorly maintained the vessel and its components. Furthermore, inadequate supervision of onboard work by competent personnel, along with incompetent crew members and equipment mismanagement, contributed to the improper management of the ship and its crew.

Facing these grave accusations, both the ship owner and the ship management company have denied any wrongdoing. In court filings, they maintain that the accident was not caused by their errors, negligence, or misconduct. However, the Baltimore legal department disagrees, asserting that the negligence of these two companies led to the incident, and the city of Baltimore bears no responsibility.

This event has not only caused significant losses to the city of Baltimore but also serves as a wake-up call for the entire shipping industry. We hope that the legal process will deliver a fair judgment in this case, holding the responsible parties accountable. Additionally, we encourage the shipping industry to learn from this incident, strengthen safety management, and prevent similar occurrences in the future.