Francis Scott Key Bridge: US authorities begin interviewing personnel, including Indian crew members, onboard crippled ship


US authorities have begun interviewing personnel, including Indian crew members, onboard the crippled container ship ‘Dali’ that collided against a key bridge in Baltimore this week.

The 2.6-km-long, four-lane Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River, came crashing down after the 984-foot ship collided against it.

Shipping company Synergy Group, which manages the Singapore-flagged ‘DALI’, said in a statement on Thursday that the US agency National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) boarded the vessel on Wednesday and collected documents, voyage data recorder extracts, and other evidence as part of their investigation.

“The NTSB also began interviewing crew members. We will continue to cooperate with investigators throughout this process,” Synergy said.

DALI’s owners Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and Synergy had confirmed the safety of all crew members and two pilots aboard the vessel.

They, however, reported one minor injury and said the injured crew member had been treated and discharged from the hospital. “One of the crew members who was injured returned to the vessel on Wednesday after being treated,” Synergy said. The ship managers have activated their mental health team to provide trauma counselling for crew members feeling distressed, and that service will continue.

The Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi said that there are 20 Indians onboard the cargo ship and the Indian Embassy is in close touch with them and the local authorities

“Our information is that there are 21 crew members, of which 20 are Indians. All of them are in good shape, in good health. One of them got injured slightly, and needed to have some stitches, and stitches were given. And, he has gone back to the ship,” MEA Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in response to a query during his weekly media briefing.

He also said the Indian Embassy in the US is in “close touch with the Indians onboard the ship and also local authorities”.

Following the incident, the Indian Embassy in Washington DC had said in a post on X that it condoles the “unfortunate accident” in Baltimore.

“Our heartfelt condolences to all affected by the unfortunate accident at the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore,” the Indian Embassy had said.

It said the Embassy has created a dedicated hotline for any Indian citizens who may be affected or require assistance due to the tragedy.

Six persons, who were part of a construction crew repairing potholes on the Francis Scott Key Bridge when the collision occurred in the early hours of March 26, are presumed dead.

Divers recovered the bodies of two of the construction workers from a red pickup truck found submerged in the Patapsco River and the search is on for the remaining four victims.

Synergy extended its deepest sympathies to the families of the two people lost following the incident in the Baltimore Harbour.

“We remain hopeful that continued efforts will lead to the recovery of the workers who remain missing,” it said.

Synergy Group’s emergency response team is on the ground in Baltimore and is coordinating with officials on all stages of the recovery and remediation efforts.

“We deeply regret this incident and the problems it has caused for the people of Baltimore and the region’s economy that relies on this vitally important port,” the group said.

On Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg predicted the restoration effort for the city and port won’t be quick. He warned of supply chain disruptions, saying, “The impact of this incident is going to be felt throughout the region and really throughout our supply chains.”


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