NEW: MV Dali Lost Propulsion Before Crashing Into Baltimore Bridge; Had Prior Crash in 2016

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According to USA Today the crew on the MV Dali lost control of the vessel and reported that to Maryland Department of Transportation officials just before it collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

“The vessel notified MD Department of Transportation (MDOT) that they had lost control of the vessel” and a collision with the bridge “was possible,” according to an unclassified Department of Homeland Security report. “The vessel struck the bridge causing a complete collapse.”

We’re also learning more about what happened in the lead-up to the collision and collapse.

Clay Diamond, executive director of the American Pilots Association, told the New York Times that one harbor pilot and one apprentice were aboard the Dali as it left the Port of Baltimore. Diamond also said that he was told by the Maryland pilots’ group that the ship had a “complete blackout” and never regained propulsion power before the crash.

Diamond said the pilot in command of the ship, who had more than 10 years of experience, ordered that the vessel be turned as much as possible to the left and that the port anchor be dropped in an unsuccessful effort to halt or slow the vessel’s drift toward the bridge.

Diamond also spoke to USA Today, saying:

“It’s likely that virtually every pilot in the country has experienced a power loss of some kind (but) it generally is momentary,” Diamond said. “This was a complete blackout of all the power on the ship, so that’s unusual. Of course this happened at the worst possible location.”

The ship had been cited for issues with propulsion and auxiliary machinery on June 27, 2023, in Chile, as we reported earlier:

According to the report, the deficiency was described in detail as issues with “gauges, thermometers, etc.” but there was no detention resulting from this single detected deficiency. Three months later the ship was subject to a follow-up inspection by the United States Coast Guard in New York but no deficiencies were recorded.

In January 2024 the ship underwent a required follow-up inspection in New York, conducted by the US Coast Guard. Undoubtedly the details of that deficiency and follow-up inspection will be reviewed during the NTSB’s investigation of Tuesday morning’s crash.

It’s also been learned that the Dali was involved in at least one prior accident, colliding with a shipping pier in Belgium.

That 2016 incident occurred as the Dali was leaving port in Antwerp and struck a loading pier made of stone, causing damage to the ship’s stern, according to, a site that tracks ships across the world. An investigation determined a mistake made by the ship’s master and pilot was to blame.

No one was injured in that crash, although the ship required repair and a full inspection before being returned to service. The pier – or berth – was also seriously damaged and had to be closed.

At least six people are presumed dead in the collapse. Search and rescue operations were suspended at 7:30 PM Tuesday, and recovery operations will commence at 6:00 AM Wednesday.

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