United States

Baltimore Leaders Blame Ship's Owners Of Negligence In Key Bridge Collapse

Legal papers filed by Baltimore's mayor and city council argue that the owner and manager of the container ship responsible for the Key Bridge collapse should be fully liable for the incident.

| Photos: AP/Mike Pesoli
Baltimore Bridge Collapse | Photos: AP/Mike Pesoli
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Baltimore's mayor and city council are pushing for full accountability from the owner and manager of the massive container ship that caused the deadly collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge last month. In court papers filed on Monday, they asserted that Singapore-based Grace Ocean Private Ltd., the owner of the vessel named Dali, and Synergy Marine Pte Ltd., its manager, should bear the brunt of the liability for the disaster.

The incident, which occurred on March 26, saw the Dali veer off course and collide with the bridge, leading to its collapse and the tragic deaths of six members of a roadwork crew. Attorneys representing the city argued that negligence on the part of the companies was evident, emphasizing that they should have recognized the vessel's unseaworthiness and ensured it was manned by a competent crew.

Responding to the allegations, a spokesperson for Grace Ocean and Synergy declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

The legal battle is set to unfold in a federal court in Maryland, where the extent of responsibility and the resulting financial liabilities will be determined. The case holds the potential to become one of the most costly maritime disasters in history.

Authorities are pursuing both criminal and investigative angles to understand the sequence of events leading up to the collapse. FBI agents boarded the stalled ship as part of a criminal investigation, while the National Transportation Safety Board is conducting a separate inquiry into the vessel's electrical system and whether power issues were experienced prior to departure.

In their initial petition, Grace Ocean and Synergy sought to limit their liability to approximately $43.6 million. This request has drawn opposition from Baltimore leaders and legal representatives of the collapse victims and their families, who argue that the companies must be held fully accountable for the economic and human toll of the incident.

The fallout from the collapse has significantly disrupted maritime traffic through the Port of Baltimore and impacted an essential east coast trucking route. Salvage operations are underway to clear the Patapsco River of the wreckage, but the closure of the port's main shipping channel is expected to persist for several weeks, exacerbating the economic strain on the region.

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