United States

Dali Cargo Ship To Be Refloated Nearly 8 Weeks After Baltimore Bridge Collapse

The cargo ship Dali, which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore nearly eight weeks ago, will be refloated early Monday morning. This follows extensive salvage efforts after the incident that killed six construction workers and disrupted the Port of Baltimore.

Matt Rourke
A container ship rests against the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, in Baltimore. Photo: Matt Rourke

The cargo ship Dali, which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore nearly eight weeks ago, is scheduled to be refloated on Monday after extensive salvage efforts. This milestone follows a disaster that resulted in the death of six construction workers, severely impacted the Port of Baltimore, and disrupted traffic on I-695.

Unified Command announced on Saturday that the Dali would be refloated from its position in the Patapsco River, where it has remained trapped under tons of wreckage. The plan is to move the ship to a local marine terminal. “The refloat and transit sequence is deliberately designed to ensure all response personnel around the M/V Dali maintain control of the vessel, from refloat, transit to, and berthing at a local marine terminal,” stated Unified Command.

The entire operation is expected to take 21 hours or more.

When Will the Dali Be Refloated?

The 984-foot-long Dali is set to be refloated early Monday morning at high tide, which peaks at 5:24 am. Crews plan to start preparations at 2 am to ensure the vessel catches the high tide for a controlled transit. Preparation began midday Sunday, involving the release of anchors, de-ballasting the ship, and detailed inspections to ensure no obstructions.

Up to five tugboats will assist in escorting the Dali 2.5 miles to a local terminal once it is refloated.

Refloating the Dali marks a significant achievement in the complex salvage operation led by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Since the collapse, four temporary channels have been opened to allow some ship traffic, including commercial vessels. A deeper channel is expected to open once the Dali is removed from the current channel.

Unified Command aims to reopen the entire channel by the end of May. This will be facilitated by a giant hydraulic claw that will remove pieces of the bridge embedded in the riverbed.

According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Dali lost electrical power hours before leaving the Port of Baltimore and crashing into the Key Bridge. The NTSB is continuing its investigation into the crash. The preliminary report provided a synopsis of the factual information collected so far. A final report, which will include conclusions and safety recommendations, is expected to be released in one to two years.