Francis Scott Key Bridge – Maritime Incident


A major bridge collapse occurred in Baltimore, Maryland on March 26th, 2024. Early reports and Skytek analyse of the port indicate a cargo ship, the “Dali,” was involved in the incident.

“Dali” – IMO: 9697428

The “Dali”, a container ship built in 2015 and registered in Singapore, boasts a 300-meter length, 116,851 deadweight tonnage capacity, and 9,962 TEU container capacity. Owned by Grace Ocean Pte Ltd, it’s managed by Synergy Marine Pte Ltd and operated by Maersk A/S as part of the 2M trade alliance with MSC. Classified by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai and insured with Britannia P&I, the “Dali” recently departed Baltimore, USA, its second port on the westbound TP12 route towards Colombo, Sri Lanka.

In Figure 1, the Pilot Boarding Ground is represented on the map signifying that, from that point inside, a Marine Pilot must be on board and tugs arrived in assistance. Upon departure, ships would normally disconnect tugs and disembark Pilot outward of the Pilot Boarding Ground, which is located just outside the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

The ship “Dali” departed from the jetty Baltimore – Seagirt Terminal C324 at 04:41 UTC assisted by two pilots and two tugs, however, the AIS tracks of the two tugs indicate they were let go at 05:09 UTC, shortly after leaving the jetty with “Dali” sailing outward in the Fort McHenry Channel. Tugs were let go about 5 km before the Pilot Boarding Ground, as represented in Figure 1 before the tugs were sailing back inside the port.

Figure 1 - Skytek mapping the AIS track of "Dali" ship until releasing tugs after departing from jetty, on March 26th, 2024 at 0509 UTC.

Reportedly the containership “Dali” lost power before crossing under the bridge, which caused the ship to sail uncontrolled into a pillar of the bridge, leading to a major bridge collapse of a significant section of the Francis Scott Key Bridge of Baltimore, Maryland.

In Figure 2 Skytek maps the AIS broadcasted track of the vessel, indicating that, around 0530 UTC of March 26th, 2024, the container ship “Dali” hit the bridge while travelling at over 7.5 knots, causing a 3km section of the bridge to collapse into the Patapsco river.

The tugs are represented in Figure 2, with “Bridget Mcallister” inside the East Channel, while tug “Eric McAllister” is located in the Fort McHenry Channel.

The ship “Dali” is currently stuck at the collapsed bridge, and it is expected that the maritime traffic will be blocked for an extended period of time.

Skytek records that besides the “Dali” containership, there are three Bulk Carriers, one Vehicles Carrier and a Bitumen Tanker blocked in the port, while ten other ships are in the Chesapeake Bay anchored waiting for a Baltimore free berth. Reading the AIS declared destination 40 other ships are listing Baltimore as their next port of call.

The port of Baltimore ranks first in handling auto and light tracks with nearly 850k units during 2023, and around 1,1 million TEU handled during the same year.

Figure 2 - Skytek mapping the track of "Dali" until colliding into the bridge, on March 26th, 2024 at 0530 UTC.

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