Dali Ship Owner Asks Cargo Owners to Cover Salvage Costs After Deadly Baltimore Bridge Collapse

By Trisha Andrada

Apr 18, 2024 08:30 AM EDT

Singapore-based Grace Ocean Private Ltd., the owner of the enormous container ship Dali, has started the process of making owners of the cargo on board to pay some of the salvage costs. The ship was responsible for the deadly collapse of Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge last month.

Work Continues At The Collapse Site Of The Francis Scott Key
In an aerial view, salvage crews continue to remove wreckage from the cargo ship Dali after it stuck and collapsed the Francis Scott Key Bridge, April 09, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland.
(Photo : Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Grace Ocean Submits 'General Average' Declaration Under Maritime Law

According to Grace Ocean representative Darrell Wilson, the firm has submitted a "general average" declaration under maritime law, which permits an independent adjuster to ascertain the appropriate contributions from each stakeholder.

Invoking this rule after a marine mishap allows interested parties to share the expense of salvaging the vessel or its cargo. Here, it concerns the costs linked with refloating the Dali, which is still stuck with pieces of the collapsed bridge.

The Associated Press reported that crews are removing several shipment containers from the vessel as a first step in releasing the Dali from the wreckage. They are also trying to remove debris from the main channel of the Port of Baltimore. 

This channel has been obstructed for weeks, preventing most commercial cargo from passing through this vital shipping center.

Read Also: FBI Launches Criminal Inquiry Into Baltimore Bridge Collapse as Authorities Recover Fourth Body

It's Only the Ship Owner's Latest Move to Decrease Its Financial Burden

The shipowner's most recent attempt to downplay its financial liability is this general average declaration, a strategy that has been around for decades.

After the collapse, Grace Ocean and the ship's management company, Synergy Marine Group, filed a petition to restrict their legal obligation, which is a common United States maritime law practice.

Tragically, six individuals from a roadwork team lost their lives in the collapse. Attorneys representing some of their families and a survivor promised to oppose the petition and hold the firms responsible.

Read More: Baltimore Bridge Collapse Is 'National Economic Catastrophe' as Key Supply Route Remains Blocked, Says Maryland Gov. Moore

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