Dali back in Baltimore port, freed 55 days after striking and collapsing the Key Bridge (2024)

Dwarfing the tugboats to which it was tethered, the container ship Dali returned to the Port of Baltimore Monday morning after crews freed the vessel that had been stranded in the Patapsco River since it struck and collapsed the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26.

Crews refloated the vessel around 6:40 a.m., and 20 minutes later, the ship started moving slowly, almost imperceptibly. By 8:40 a.m., tugboats had guided the 984-foot ship into the Seagirt Marine Terminal, still bearing on its lacerated bow a chunk of pavement from the bridge.

“We took an enormous step forward in our mission to recover from the collapse,” Gov. Wes Moore said in a statement.

Moore, who watched the operation from a boat about 500 feet from the Dali, lauded those who worked safely and speedily in the massive and ongoing recovery effort led by the Key Bridge Response Unified Command. That’s the multiagency effort led by the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Maryland Transportation Authority, and state police.

The Dali’s slow-motion, 2.5-mile journey returned it to the port it had left 55 days earlier. Shortly after departure, it lost power and careened into one of the bridge’s support pillars, plunging the span into the river. Six construction workers who were repairing potholes on the span died.

Darrell Wilson, a spokesman for the Synergy Marine Group that manages the ship, said the vessel’s return to port was “a relief for all of us and a reflection of all of the hard work of Unified Command and all of the salvage workers.”

Crews began laborious preparations Sunday to free the Dali, targeting the operation to take advantage of high tide at 5:24 a.m. Monday. The ship remained immobile for the next 90 minutes, though, surrounded by salvage equipment, tugboats and a piece of the shattered bridge jutting from the water nearby.

The Dali is expected to remain in port for a few weeks and eventually travel to Norfolk, Virginia, for repairs.

Its original crew, 20 men from India and one from Sri Lanka, are expected to remain on board for now as the visas that they sail under are believed to have expired, Wilson said.

Crew members generally travel on visas that, according to a Customs and Border Protection document, allow them “landing privileges” to remain in the U.S. as long as a vessel is here — but that can’t exceed 29 days. The Dali was stranded for 55 days.

“At a certain point, we will be working with the authorities to see if we can get some shore leave granted for them,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to get the crew off the ship so they can get back to their families.”

That may take some time, though, as investigations in the bridge strike continue and the crew may need to be questioned, Wilson said.

The FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board are probing the collapse of the bridge. The FBI boarded the vessel in April, confiscated the crew members’ phones and has yet to return them. Crew members were given replacement phones, but still lack the personal data on their original devices, Wilson said.

Unions representing the crew said the members have experienced distress, particularly after they gave up their phones and lost access to family photos and online banking information, and feared being “criminalized” over the incident.

Dali back in Baltimore port, freed 55 days after striking and collapsing the Key Bridge (1)

Two additional crew members were added to the ship previously to help with the extra workload, Wilson said, with a goal of eventually swapping out the original crew.

Early Monday, the Dali’s impending movement was signaled by a long blare of a horn. Viewed from the south, at Riviera Beach in Anne Arundel County, the vessel with its now-familiar stack of multicolored containers, stirred around 7 a.m. Over the next hour, the freighter progressively moved faster as it was tugged backward into the harbor. Then, the tugs pivoted the ship and towed it for roughly another hour toward Seagirt.

The refloat operation required crews to consider an underwater Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. gas line near where the ship had been stuck. BGE and Unified Command spokespersons said Monday that there was no damage to the line, although a Maryland Public Service Commission spokesperson said “the condition of the pipeline is still being investigated” as “the ship has just been refloated.”

The utility company earlier released gas from a section of the pipe and is working with Unified Command to restore it, a process that could be done within a month, BGE spokesperson Ann Mooney said.

Once en route to the port, the Dali was clocked at about 1.2 knots at one point, according to an online ship tracker.

Dali freed from Key Bridge and moved to Port of Baltimore | PHOTOS

Just a week ago, crews used controlled explosives to break up a massive section of the bridge that had landed on the bow of the ship. They then had to ensure a path for the ship back to port, and, on Sunday, began the final preparations for it to be refloated.

The removal of the ship, an action thatdrastically altered the silhouette of the bridge collapse site, was a leap forward in crews’ efforts to clear the main shipping channel into the port, which has received only limited vessel traffic over the past several weeks via temporary alternate channels.

The Dali, which had just left the Seagirt terminal before crashing into the bridge in March, came back Monday to a port that looked noticeably different. There were far fewer containers stored near the berths due to the reduction in marine traffic.

Around 20 ships are expected to arrive within the next seven days at the port’s public terminals, and the vessel schedule is “extremely strong through the end of the month,” Maryland Port Administrator Jonathan Daniels said. He said the first significant return to normalcy is being seen with bookings for “roll-on roll-off” vessels, which are a hallmark of the port’s regular operations.

Before Monday, about half of the 50-foot deep, 700-foot wide federal channel was cleared. That channel is expected to fully reopen to commercial marine traffic by the end of the month.

In the meantime, vessel traffic remains restricted. The Unified Command said it anticipates the federal channel will soon be 400 feet wide and 50 feet deep.

“We’re going to be close to back to normal for the ability for vessels to transit,” Daniels said.

What will take longer to rebound is the volume of inbound container ship traffic, he said, noting that shippers have been cautious about booking stops in Baltimore, given the fluid traffic situation up to now.

“In the maritime world, it’s very expensive to make a mistake” and sit at anchor for several days, Daniels said.

He said a greater increase in cargo traffic should become visible starting in June, thanks to the quick work of salvors, and as shippers become more confident about coming to Baltimore.

The Dali’s move also marked a pivotal moment in the Unified Command’s daily operations. The agencies will leave their emergency office at the Maryland Cruise Terminal, parting ways for their respective worksites as cruise ship traffic resumes.

Unified Command salvage crews will now resume their work of clearing bridge wreckage from the Fort McHenry Channel. The state agency responsible for the bridge, the transportation authority, is in charge of any wreckage outside of the federal channel.

To clear the Fort McHenry Channel to its full depth, it’s likely at least some dredging will be required, Cynthia Mitchell, a spokesperson for the Baltimore district of the Army Corps of Engineers, said in an email.

Crews will use digging buckets to scoop out an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 cubic yards of sediment from the bottom of the Patapsco, Mitchell wrote. The sediment will be processed with 7% to 8% Portland cement until it solidifies, Mitchell wrote. Then, it will be loaded onto dump trucks and transported to disposal sites in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

Baltimore Sun reporters Christine Condon, Hayes Gardner and Dillon Mullan contributed to this article.

Dali back in Baltimore port, freed 55 days after striking and collapsing the Key Bridge (2)
Dali back in Baltimore port, freed 55 days after striking and collapsing the Key Bridge (2024)


Did they move the Dali? ›

The Dali was moved by tugboats "under favourable environmental conditions", according to the US Army Corps of Engineers. Moving the ship is the latest step in clearing key shipping routes.

Where will the Dali be repaired? ›

Dali to be repaired in Norfolk

The ship is expected to stay at Seagirt for the next month before heading to Norfolk for repairs.

How did the Dali lose power? ›

About 10 hours before leaving port, the container ship Dali experienced a blackout during maintenance when a crew member accidentally closed an inline engine exhaust damper. This blocked the engine's exhaust from exiting the vessel and stalled the engine, the NTSB report states.

Why are the crew still on the Dali? ›

The crew is also stuck aboard the ship because the members do not have required shore passes and are participating in investigations conducted by the FBI and National Transportation Safety Board, which resulted in crew members' phones being seized in April—though they have been given new ones, William Marks, a ...

When Dalí died? ›

In 1984, Dalí was severely injured in a house fire at his Pubol castle and was confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. Friends, followers and fellow artists then moved him back to Figueres to live at the Teatro-Museo where he died of heart failure on January 23, 1989 at the age of 84.

Did Dalí hallucinate? ›

He'd observe the increasingly bizarre hallucinations which bombarded him before he fully regained consciousness, suppressing rationality and elevating his subconscious to the most accessible tier of his attention. He'd then materialize his otherworldly visions into his art. Dalí Salvador.

Was Dalí disowned? ›

Salvador's father disowned him because of his pattern of outrageous behavior. After serving nine months in the military, Salvador traveled around Europe. It is this period in his life that was the most influential in his work. Between 1928-1929, Salvador first read Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams.

How can I tell if my Dalí print is real? ›

Prints that bear the Rives or Arches watermark with the infinity sign and have Dali's signatures, are fakes. Dali did not sign any prints after 1980. Fake Dali prints continue to circulate in the art market. Many are now offered on the Internet.

Why was Dalí kicked out? ›

In 1939, when Dalí no longer tried to hide his support for Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and had crowned himself the king of surrealism in the United States, Breton finally decided to permanently expel him from the Surrealists, citing his racism.

Did Dalí have Parkinson's? ›

It is believed that Salvador Dali started to suffer symptoms of Parkinson's disease in 1980. He died in 1989, but the official cause of his death was not Parkinson's disease, but heart failure. So, he suffered from the disease for roughly nine years.

What did Dalí do after his wife died? ›

He broke a plague law enacted in the 1940s that prohibited moving the dead without official permission. He wrapped her body in a blanket and, aided by his nurse, her corpse was placed in the backseat of their 1969 Cadillac de Ville where they took a surrealistic last ride together.

Why did Dalí retire? ›

In 1980, Dalí was forced to retire from painting due to a motor disorder that caused permanent trembling and weakness in his hands. He was not able to hold a paint brush, and lost the ability to express himself in the way he knew best.

Was Dalí ever married? ›

Salvador Dalí's wife and muse, Gala, whose real name was Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, was considered a mysterious and intuitive woman, as well as inspiring and perceptive.

Did Frida ever meet Dalí? ›

While they definitely knew of each other and may have seen each other's art, there is no evidence that they actually met.

What did Dalí do with Disney? ›

On January 14, 1946, Salvador Dalí signed a contract with Walt Disney to make a short animated film entitled Destino. To work on the project, the painter installed himself in the Disney Studios in Burbank, California, where he set about drafting the screenplay and creating a series of drawings and oil paintings.

When did the Dalí Museum move? ›

The original Dalí Museum opened in St. Petersburg in 1982, after community leaders rallied to bring the Morses' superlative collection of Dalí works to the area. The Dalí's stunning new building opened on January 11, 2011.

What happened to the Dali Kingdom? ›

In 1253, it was conquered by the Mongols but members of its former ruling house continued to administer the area as tusi chiefs under the auspices of the Yuan dynasty until the Ming conquest of Yunnan in 1382. Today the former capital of the Dali Kingdom is still called Dali in modern Yunnan Province.

Why did they exhume Salvador Dalí? ›

The surrealist's body was exhumed from its tomb in Figueres, Catalonia, in July after a judge gave the go-ahead to DNA tests to establish whether Dalí was the father of Pilar Abel, a tarot card reader and fortune teller who had long claimed to be his daughter.

Did Salvador Dalí move to France? ›

Besides meeting artists such as René Magritte and Hans Arp, Dalí also made acquaintance with Gala, the wife of the Surrealist writer Paul Eluard. Even though she was nine years his senior and already married, Dalí and Gala quickly became inseparable, and moved to Paris together in the autumn of 1929.


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