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Ship that hit Baltimore bridge also involved in 2016 Antwerp accident

Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore

(Reuters) -The ship that caused the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday was also involved in an accident in the port of Antwerp, Belgium, in 2016.

The Antwerp port authorities said the container ship Dali hit a quay on July 11, 2016, as it tried to exit the North Sea container terminal.

A 2016 inspection of the vessel conducted in Antwerp found it had a structural issue, which was stated as “hull damage impairing its seaworthiness," according to data published on Equasis, a public database for the shipping industry.

The port authorities said the ship had remained at the dock for repairs for some time after the incident.

"As a general rule, these accidents are investigated and ships are only allowed to leave after experts have determined it is safe for them to do so," a spokesperson for Antwerp port told Reuters.

The Belgian nautical committee, which investigates such incidents, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson representing the ship's owner could not immediately be reached.

Reuters verified that the ship seen in the video of the incident in Antwerp in 2016, which has been shared on social media, matches the Reuters footage and other visuals of the ship that crashed into the Baltimore bridge.

The MS Dali, owned by Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and managed by Synergy Marine Corp, on Tuesday collided with one of the pillars of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, collapsing a large segment of its 1.6-mile span.

The ship was chartered by shipping company Maersk at the time of the incident, the Danish company said in a statement.

Maersk said it could not comment on the incident in Antwerp.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Additional reporting by Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen and Gabriella Borter in Washington; Editing by Ros Russell and Daniel Wallis)