Ship That Caused Baltimore Bridge Collapse Had Two Electrical Blackouts Day Before Deadly Collision: Federal Investigators
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - MARCH 26: The cargo ship Dali sits in the water after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. According to reports, rescuers are still searching for multiple people, while two survivors have been pulled from the Patapsco River. A work crew was fixing potholes on the bridge, which is used by roughly 30,000 people each day, when the ship struck at around 1:30am on Tuesday morning. The accident has temporarily closed the Port of Baltimore, one of the largest and busiest on the East Coast of the U.S.
Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

The container ship that rammed into a support beam of Francis Scott Key Bridge — which caused the Baltimore bridge to collapse in March — suffered a pair of electrical blackouts the day before the collision that resulted in the deaths of six construction workers, according to federal investigators.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the March 26 incident that took place in one of America’s busiest ports and released a report on Tuesday, saying that the ship, called the Dali, had two electrical malfunctions on March 25. Just hours later, two more electrical blackouts made it impossible for the Dali’s crew to steer the ship away from the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

“On March 25, about 10 hours before leaving Baltimore, the Dali experienced a blackout (loss of electrical power to the HV [high voltage] and LV [low voltage] buses) during in-port maintenance,” the NTSB preliminary report said. The loss of power occurred after “a crewmember mistakenly closed an inline engine exhaust damper.”

“Vessel power was restored when crewmembers manually closed HR2 and LR2 [step-down transformers]. Generator no. 3 continued to run for a short period, but insufficient fuel pressure caused its speed to decrease, and its breaker (DGR3) opened; a second blackout (another loss of electrical power to the HV and LV buses) occurred,” the report added.

In the early hours of March 26, the Dali suffered two more electrical blackouts before it collided with the bridge’s support beam and caused the middle section of the 1.6-mile-long bridge to crash into the Patapsco River. Video of the incident shows the Dali’s lights go out moments before it rams into the support beam. Six men who were working on the bridge at the time fell into the water and died.

The Dali remained stuck in the bridge wreckage until earlier this week when authorities used precision explosive charges to remove part of the bridge that was still on top of the container ship, according to NBC News. Maryland Governor Wes Moore also announced that a channel should finally be open for ships by the end of the month, which would be key to “fully opening vessel traffic to the port.”

Days after the collision, the NTSB released a report describing the events that led up to the bridge’s collapse.

“Around 01:26:39 the ship’s pilot made a general VHF [very high frequency] call for tugs in the vicinity of the DALI. MDTA data from around this time indicated the pilot association dispatcher phoned the MDTA duty officer regarding the blackout. Around 1:27:04, the pilot commanded the DALI to drop the port anchor and issued additional steering commands,” the NTSB said. “Around 1:27:25, the pilot issued a radio call over the VHF radio and reported the DALI had lost all power approaching the Key Bridge,” adding that at roughly 1:29 a.m., “the ship’s speed over ground was recorded as just under 7 knots/8 miles per hour. From this moment until approximately 1:29:33, VDR audio recorded sounds consistent with the collision with the Key bridge.”


The Dali’s mayday signal allowed transportation officials to stop traffic from traveling across the bridge before the ship struck the support beam, a move that “saved lives,” according to Maryland Governor Wes Moore.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Ship That Caused Baltimore Bridge Collapse Had Two Electrical Blackouts Day Before Deadly Collision: Federal Investigators