Trapped cargo ship Dali will refloat to Baltimore Monday at high tide

May 19, 2024, 2:13 PM

This aerial view shows debris from the destroyed Francis Scott Key Bridge being detached from the c...

This aerial view shows debris from the destroyed Francis Scott Key Bridge being detached from the container ship Dali. (Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)

(Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)

(CNN)Almost two months after its devastating collision with a Baltimore bridge, the trapped cargo ship Dali will refloat and travel to the Baltimore marine terminal on Monday morning, officials said.

After weeks of salvage operations, the Dali can finally be relocated thanks to a series of controlled explosions which broke apart a massive piece of the Francis Scott Bridge that had been stuck atop the ship’s bow, officials said. An estimated 500-foot section of the bridge weighing 8-12 million pounds was removed from the ship.

“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,” Unified Command said in a news release Saturday.

Conditions permitting, the massive ship’s journey will begin around 5 a.m. on Monday during peak high tide, according to Unified Command. Crews will begin prepping the ship about 18 hours before – about midday on Sunday – to take full advantage of the high tide, officials added.

Up to five tugboats will then tow and push the Dali about two and a half miles to the Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore, the release said. It will take an estimated three hours to transport the 984-foot, 106,000-ton ship.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said Sunday he expects to have the channel reopened by the end of the month.

“I’m proud that we’re on track that by the end of May we’ll have that federal channel reopened,” Moore said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “And within days, we’re going to have that massive vessel, the Dali, out of that federal channel.”

The cargo ship collided with the bridge in the early hours of March 26, killing six maintenance workers and causing most of the structure to collapse into the Patapsco River. The disaster shut down most shipping to and from the Port of Baltimore.

The crash has prompted multiple investigations, including by the FBI and the US Coast Guard.

The ship’s 21-member crew has remained onboard since the collapse, including during the planned explosions on May 13. The ship’s management company told CNN this week the crew will remain on the vessel for “the foreseeable future.”

According to Barbara Shipley, mid-Atlantic labor representative for the International Transport Workers’ Federation, there is no plan for what the crew will do once the Dali is escorted back to port on Monday. She said the crew’s visas have all expired and the union is waiting for direction from immigration authorities to figure out next steps.

She told CNN the crew members are trying to keep their spirits high despite being disconnected from their friends and families. The FBI confiscated the men’s cell phones as part of their ongoing investigation.

“It’s been since April 15, they still haven’t received their cell phones,” Shipley said. “No one has received their cell phones, they did receive some SIM cards, but not all.”

Shipley said her priority “would be to have the decisions made quickly, which crew members will need to stay behind, and which crew members can go home, and it’s important to get these gentlemen back home to their families,” Shipley said.

“As far as I know, no one’s been charged with anything and we’re holding them. They can’t go home because they’re still under investigation. So I would like to see the investigation be expedited so we can get these gentlemen home.”

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Trapped cargo ship Dali will refloat to Baltimore Monday at high tide