Limbo Finally Ends for Crew on Baltimore Ship

Most are allowed to head home after 3 months
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2024 9:25 AM CDT
Limbo Finally Ends for Crew on Baltimore Ship
The collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge rests on the container ship Dali, May 12, 2024, in Baltimore, as seen from Riviera Beach, Md.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

For three months, crew members have been stuck on the cargo ship that brought down Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge. The 20 Indians and one Sri Lankan have been faring well, eating pizza and watching cricket, but that hardly makes up for an extended period away from their families. For eight of the crew, however, the period is now nearing an end. A federal judge in Maryland approved a deal Thursday to allow eight of the Dali crew members—several seamen, a cook, a fitter, and an oiler—to return to their home countries as soon as this week, CNN reports.

Synergy Marine, the company that manages the Dali, said the remaining crew members, all ship officers, would stay in the US "because they are participating in the investigation" into the March 26 crash that killed six construction workers. Attorneys for Baltimore and the bridge inspector had asked the judge to block the other crew members' departure because they hadn't been deposed, but an agreement was reached that will see the crew deposed "in London or elsewhere" after October, per the Washington Post.

Litigation is complicated by a request by Synergy Marine and Grace Ocean, the ship owner, to limit potential liability payouts to $43.6 million. Potential claimants have until Sept. 24 to come forward and crew members can only be disposed after that date, per CNN. Four of the remaining crew members will stay with the 213-million-pound Dali as it sails to Norfolk, Virginia, for repairs, the outlet reports. The Baltimore Maritime Exchange said the ship was tentatively scheduled to leave Baltimore on Friday evening. (More Baltimore bridge collapse stories.)

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