Container ship Dali, crew leave Baltimore for first time since bridge collapse

UPI
Salvors with the Unified Command prepare the section of the Francis Scott Key Bridge sitting on the port side bow of the M/V Dali for controlled demolition, and precision cutting, on May 13. The ship left the Port of Baltimore on Monday. File Photo by Christopher Rosario/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/UPI

June 24 (UPI) -- The Dali container ship left Baltimore for the first time Monday since it crashed into the iconic Francis Scott Key bridge in March.

With the help of four tugboats along with its own power, the Dali left the port's Seagirt Marine Terminal before 8:30 a.m. EDT. It will eventually end up in Norfolk, Va., where it will unload its remaining cargo and undergo extensive repairs.

Traffic was stopped on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge as the ship approached at 11 a.m.

After arriving in Virginia eight crew members from the Dali were finally set to leave the United States after attorneys from the City of Baltimore squabbled with attorneys representing the crew in last-minute deal-making.

City attorneys continued to express concern about the eight crew members who were scheduled to leave would be available to them if they left the United States. It was thought that a deal was reached in the middle of last week before the additional legal wrangling.

In last week's agreement crew members who still need to be deposed will be interrogated in London or another agreed-upon location. The filed court document said that the Justice Department had already interviewed those crew members planning to leave and the department did not object to their departure.

The ship, as long as three football fields, lost power before it slammed into a pillar of the bridge on March 26, sending most of its span tumbling into the river below and killing several workers who were doing maintenance on it.

It had remained in Baltimore along with its crew since then as legal details were ironed out.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators have completed in-person interviews of the vessel's crew.

On Monday, the NTSB published an investigative update for its ongoing investigation of the incident. Onboard examination of engineering systems and testing of electrical systems has been completed.

Documentation of the damage to the vessel structure continues.

The update does not contain analysis and has no probable cause stated.

In the preliminary report released in May,​ electrical breakers HR1 and LR1 unexpectedly opened when the vessel was three ship lengths from the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing the first blackout to all shipboard lighting and most equipment. NTSB investigators noted an interruption in the control circuit for HR1's undervoltage release.

​​NTSB investigators then removed an electrical component from the control circuit for HR1's undervoltage release. Two portions of control wiring associated with the terminal block were also removed.

"We continue to examine the removed components at the NTSB Materials Laboratory," the update says. "We will continue to evaluate the design and operation of the vessel's electrical power distribution system, and investigate all aspects of the accident to determine the probable cause and identify potential safety recommendations"