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Crew of ship that smashed into Baltimore bridge could be stranded on board for two weeks as rescuers battle to clear steel and hope fades for six workers still missing

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Crew of the stricken cargo ship that crashed into a Baltimore bridge Tuesday morning could be stuck on board for up to two weeks as authorities scramble to clear the wreckage, DailyMail.com can reveal.

The 948-foot-long container collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge shortly after it left its port at 1:26am Tuesday morning, sparking a desperate search for eight construction workers who were plunged into the water.

Two people were rescued, but officials said the search for the others is now a recovery operation rather than rescue as hope is fading that the six workers will be found alive.   

It is thought the ship, a DALI boat operated by Singaporean company Synergy Group, was being crewed by 22 Indian nationals, none of whom are thought to have been seriously hurt in the incident.

But the director of a local mariners’ charity said he feared they could be stranded on board for up to two weeks after part of the bridge collapsed onto the back of the vessel.

Andy Middleton, of the Apostleship of the Sea, said the crew would likely not be able to leave their ship until the debris had been cleared.

Crew of the stricken cargo ship that crashed into a Baltimore bridge this morning could be stuck on board for up to two weeks

Crew of the stricken cargo ship that crashed into a Baltimore bridge this morning could be stuck on board for up to two weeks

The 948-foot-long container collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge shortly after it left its port at 1.26am this morning

The 948-foot-long container collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge shortly after it left its port at 1.26am this morning

It is thought the ship, a DALI boat operated by Singaporean company Synergy Group, was being crewed by 22 Indian nationals

None of the crew members are thought to have been seriously hurt in the incident

None of the crew members are thought to have been seriously hurt in the incident

Middleton had been helping the men prepare for the voyage in the hours before their horror crash and said he has been in constant contact with them since.

He said his main task was now ensuring the seamen had sufficient supplies to last their possible two-week internment.

‘I was able to reach out to them this morning and make sure that the crew was safe,’ he told DailyMail.com.

‘I’ve been checking in with one crew member throughout the day and he just said that they were ‘very busy’, probably trying to work out what caused the incident and then once that can be determined may try to repair it.

‘My initial message this morning was to make sure they were ok and that if they need anything, we’ll make every effort to get it to them.

‘They should be fairly-well stocked for food and water because they were embarking on a 28-day voyage.’

Middleton said the men would likely have to remain onboard to monitor the mechanical systems of the ship to ensure it doesn’t sink.

He added that they would only be hauled onto dry land if there were signs that the vessel was taking on water.

Middleton said their predicament would last for as long as it took to clear the wreckage of the bridge, which he believes could take anywhere between ten days to a fortnight.

‘Right now there is a part of the deck bed sitting on top of the containers at the back of the vessel,’ he added. ‘I can’t imagine they’ll move the ship until that has been cleared.’

The director of a local mariners¿ charity said he feared they could be stranded on board for up to two weeks after part of the bridge collapsed onto the back of the vessel

The director of a local mariners’ charity said he feared they could be stranded on board for up to two weeks after part of the bridge collapsed onto the back of the vessel

Andy Middleton, of the Apostleship of the Sea, said the crew would likely not be able to leave their ship until the debris had been cleared

Andy Middleton, of the Apostleship of the Sea, said the crew would likely not be able to leave their ship until the debris had been cleared

Baltimore City Council Member Phylicia Porter told CNN that one body was reportedly pulled from the water Tuesday afternoon

Baltimore City Council Member Phylicia Porter told CNN that one body was reportedly pulled from the water Tuesday afternoon

The speed of the clearance operation is likely to have knock-on ramifications for the rest of the American economy, with Joe Biden stating that 15,000 jobs depended on the port, one of the busiest in the world.

The bridge spans the Patapsco River, at the mouth of Baltimore Harbor.

The President vowed to move ‘heaven and earth’ to get it reopened.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld said eight people were filling in potholes on the bridge when it collapsed, and two of them were rescued from the water, with one declining medical treatment and the other being taken to the hospital.

Baltimore City Council Member Phylicia Porter told CNN that one body was reportedly pulled from the water Tuesday afternoon.

There were no other details released about the body and police have not released the person’s name.

The catastrophic collision has sent shockwaves throughout the state of Maryland, with Governor Wes Moore declaring a state of emergency.

Catholic churches throughout Baltimore held masses to pray for families still awaiting news of loved ones this evening.

Archbishop William Lori, who held a service at Cathedral of Our Mary Queen, said he ‘couldn’t believe’ his eyes when he saw news of the horror crash this morning. 

‘I thought he must be seeing things,’ he said.

‘I immediately began to think of the loss of life, the grief, the tragedy. This is really an unprecedented tragedy for our community.’

It is thought the construction workers, employees of Brawner Builders, were from the local Hispanic community.

Archbishop William Lori, who held a service at Cathedral of Our Mary Queen, said he ¿couldn¿t believe¿ his eyes when he saw news of the horror crash this morning

Archbishop William Lori, who held a service at Cathedral of Our Mary Queen, said he ‘couldn’t believe’ his eyes when he saw news of the horror crash this morning

Catholic churches throughout Baltimore held masses to pray for families still awaiting news of loved ones this evening

Catholic churches throughout Baltimore held masses to pray for families still awaiting news of loved ones this evening

Middleton, who had been helping the crew of the DALI ship before their voyage, said earlier that the captain and several crew members shopped at Walmart and checked books from a library during a leisurely stop in Baltimore just hours before they set off on their ill-fated 28-day journey to Sri Lanka.

Several of the 22-strong crew went shopping for supplies with volunteers from Apostleship of the Sea, a Catholic support group which is part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

‘Yesterday I took out two people [including the captain] that went to Target, Best Buy and Walmart. They were back at the ship by about 2.30pm or 3pm,’ Middleton said.

Just a few hours later, at around 1am on Tuesday morning, the ship departed the harbor. 

It collided with the bridge at around 1.30am.Middleton added: ‘The captain seemed to have been sailing long enough that he knew what he was doing. 

They were all very thankful for the hospitality we had shown them they seemed happy, healthy nothing seemed out of the ordinary, just typical seafarers.’

He said that the charity is also preparing to help the crew once they are brought to shore. ‘I’m sure once the vessel is cleared from its current position it’s going to have to come back into berth for inspection, they will probably be back in port for a few more days and at that point we can go on board and ask what their needs are.’

The boat had been piloted by specialized local pilots trained to avoid obstacles at ports.

These specialist pilots depart the ships as soon as they are in open water.It is thought the vessel lost power after it left its port, causing it to veer off course and crash into a column supporting the bridge, although a formal report into the causes is yet to be completed.

The catastrophic collision has sent shockwaves throughout the state of Maryland, with Governor Wes Moore declaring a state of emergency

The catastrophic collision has sent shockwaves throughout the state of Maryland, with Governor Wes Moore declaring a state of emergency

Officials were quick to rule out the catastrophe as intentional or an act of terrorism, and an early Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) report found the container ship ‘lost propulsion’ as it was leaving port.

The Dali container ship had undergone 27 inspections since 2015, and it had been found to have two ‘deficiencies’, according to a CNN review of records from the Electronic Quality Shipping Information System (Equasis).

Notably, this included a June 2023 inspection in San Antonio, Chile, where a deficiency was found in the ‘propulsion and auxiliary machinery’ – with propulsion faults also noted in the early CISA report.

The Dali was also involved in a 2016 incident at the Port of Antwerp. A review in November of that year in Antwerp, Belgium found another ‘deficiency’ in its ‘structural conditions.’

No deficiencies were found when the vessel was last inspected on September 9, 2023 by the US Coast Guard in New York.

All activity out of the Port of Baltimore, one of the most important trade hubs in North America, has ground to a halt.

The ship had departed the Seagirt Marine Terminal at around 12:30am Tuesday, before turning southeast towards the bridge around half an hour later.

The Dali was intended to sail underneath the bridge, however it struck a support beam. Investigations into the accident are still ongoing.

Observers said that black smoke was seen emanating from the ship in the moments beforehand, suggesting the crew may have attempted to reverse its engines.



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