Dali crew remain stranded on ship nearly 2 months after Baltimore Key Bridge collapse

BALTIMORE — The crew of the Dali, the ill-fated vessel that slammed into Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing its collapse, are still onboard nearly two months after the deadly disaster.

The crew, made up of 20 men from India and one from Sri Lanka, were manning the ship when it collided with one of the bridge’s support pillars on March 26, causing the 1.6-mile span to crumble and plunge into the Patapsco River below.

Just seconds earlier, they managed to issue a mayday call, explaining they’d lost power shortly after leaving the Port of Baltimore and could no longer steer the 987-foot vessel.

While first responders managed to stop traffic, they were unable to reach a construction crew doing maintenance on the bridge. Six workers were killed in the crash, which also snarled maritime traffic through the busy Baltimore port.

The Dali’s crew meanwhile was mostly unharmed during the collision, but have not been allowed to leave the container ship and remain stranded onboard seven weeks later — reportedly with no access to cellphones.

A spokesperson for Synergy Marine Group, which manages the ship, told The Independent that the FBI confiscated the crew’s phones during the investigation into the crash, though it’s unclear why the phones were seized.

National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy acknowledged the amount of time the men have spent on the ship, calling it “unprecedented” while speaking at a House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on Wednesday. Officials said they’ve been busy maintaining the ship and assisting investigators.

In a preliminary report published earlier this week, the NTSB found the Dali experienced two blackouts the day before it departed from the Port of Baltimore. They were, however, “mechanically distinct” from the two blackouts that happened on March 26, prior to the bridge collapse.

“Two were related to routine maintenance in port,” Homendy said. “Two were unexpected tripping of circuit breakers on the accident voyage.”

The report’s release came a day after demolition teams set off a chain of carefully placed explosives to break down the largest remaining span of the collapsed Key Bridge.

The Dali’s crew remained onboard while the controlled explosion took place, and no injuries or problems were reported, according to Capt. David O’Connell, commander of the Port of Baltimore.

Officials said it marked a major step in freeing the grounded container ship.