Federal Investigators Unveil Electrical Blackouts on Dali Cargo Ship Before Francis Scott Key Bridge Collision in Baltimore

Federal Investigators Unveil Electrical Blackouts on Dali Cargo Ship Before Francis Scott Key Bridge Collision in Baltimore

Federal investigators have disclosed that the Dali cargo ship experienced significant electrical blackouts, occurring ten hours before its departure from the Port of Baltimore and again just before it collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The collision, which transpired on March 26, resulted in the collapse of the bridge, claiming the lives of six construction workers. Since then, the ship has remained grounded, and efforts to free the 984-foot vessel have included controlled explosions.

Initial Power Outage and Bridge Collision

The initial power outage on March 26 was attributed to a crew member mistakenly closing an exhaust damper during maintenance, causing one of the ship´s diesel engines to stall. Shortly after departing Baltimore, another power outage occurred, leading to a loss of steering and propulsion, resulting in the collision with the bridge’s supporting column.

Investigative Details and Ongoing Inquiry

The preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board sheds light on the crew’s efforts to address the power issues while docked in Baltimore. The investigation is expected to continue for over a year, according to the safety board. Despite thorough testing, no concerns related to the ship’s fuel quality were identified.

Consequences and Ongoing Investigations

The Dali was en route to Sri Lanka from Baltimore, laden with shipping containers and supplies for a month-long voyage. However, the crew, comprised of Indian and Sri Lankan individuals, has been prohibited from leaving as an FBI investigation into the power outage and bridge collapse unfolds.

Crew Response to Power Issues

Following the initial blackout, a backup generator was activated but subsequently shut down due to insufficient fuel pressure, resulting in a second blackout. Crew members then made adjustments to the ship’s electrical configuration, transitioning to an alternative system.

Continued Investigations and Future Reports

The NTSB continues to investigate the electrical configuration following the initial blackout and its potential impact on the subsequent bridge collapse. Their mission is to ascertain the cause of the incident and prevent future occurrences.

Chronology of Events Leading to Disaster

The report outlines the frantic moments preceding the bridge collapse, including successive electrical failures and efforts by crew members to mitigate the impending disaster. Despite attempts to restore power and steer the vessel, the collision was unavoidable.

Immediate Response and Rescue Efforts

Following the collision, emergency protocols were initiated, including mayday calls and notifications to authorities. However, the collapse resulted in tragic consequences, with six construction workers losing their lives. The recovery efforts lasted for several weeks, with the last victim’s body being recovered recently.

Ongoing Recovery and Investigation

Crews conducted a controlled demolition to dismantle the collapsed bridge, allowing for the refloating and return of the grounded ship to the Port of Baltimore. Meanwhile, investigations continue into the circumstances surrounding the incident, with Hyundai, the ship’s manufacturer, collaborating with investigators to identify the root cause of the electrical failures.

Conclusion and Future Developments

The preliminary report offers initial insights into the sequence of events leading to the bridge collapse, with further findings expected in the final report, anticipated to be released after a comprehensive investigation. Alongside the NTSB inquiry, the FBI has launched a criminal investigation to uncover additional details surrounding the disaster.

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