Baltimore Seeks Accountability in Bridge Collapse Lawsuit Against Dali Operators


The City of Baltimore has filed a lawsuit against the owner and manager of the cargo ship Dali, which struck and destroyed a major bridge in March, tragically claiming the lives of six construction workers. The lawsuit alleges the vessel was “unseaworthy” and blames the companies for negligence in the disaster.

Bridge Collapse and Devastating Loss

On March 26th, 2024, the Dali, a large container ship, collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. The bridge, a vital transportation artery for the city, suffered a catastrophic collapse. Eight construction workers were on the bridge at the time of the incident, performing overnight repairs.

Blaming Negligence and Unseaworthiness

The City of Baltimore is taking legal action against the Dali’s owner, a Singapore-based company, and its manager. The lawsuit centers on two key claims:

  • Negligence: The lawsuit alleges that the owners and managers of the Dali failed to maintain the vessel in a safe operational state. This could encompass a variety of issues, such as mechanical problems, improper crew training, or inadequate navigation procedures.
  • Unseaworthiness: This could involve malfunctioning equipment, improper cargo loading, or stability problems.

By asserting these claims, Baltimore is seeking to hold the Dali’s operators accountable for the bridge collapse and the tragic loss of life. The city is requesting a jury trial and is likely aiming to recover significant compensation for damages, including:

  • Costs associated with repairing or replacing the bridge
  • Compensation to the families of the deceased workers
  • Reimbursement for any lost economic activity due to the bridge closure

Response from Dali’s Operators

Even before the lawsuit was filed, the Dali’s owner had preemptively petitioned the court to limit their potential liability in the case. This is a common tactic in maritime accidents, with companies seeking to restrict the financial damages they could be forced to pay.

The specific details of the limitation of liability request are not mentioned in the article, but such petitions often set a maximum amount the company would be responsible for.

The Road to Resolution

The legal battle between Baltimore and the Dali’s operators is likely to be complex and protracted. Here’s a possible timeline of upcoming events:

  • Discovery Phase: Both parties will engage in the process of gathering evidence, which could involve reviewing maintenance records, interviewing crew members, and analyzing data from the ship’s voyage recorder.
  • Motions and Negotiations: The defense may file motions to dismiss certain claims or limit the scope of the lawsuit. Settlement negotiations could also occur during this phase.

The ultimate resolution of the lawsuit could take months or even years. The outcome will hinge on the evidence presented demonstrating negligence or unseaworthiness on the part of the Dali’s operators.


The Baltimore bridge collapse serves as a stark reminder of the dangers associated with maritime accidents. The ongoing lawsuit highlights the city’s pursuit of accountability and compensation for a tragedy that has deeply impacted the community. As the legal process unfolds, scrutiny will remain on the practices and safety standards of companies involved in operating large cargo vessels.

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