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Recounting the events of March 26 when the Dali allided with the bridge and the lead-up to the sailing, the petition asserts “None of this should have happened.” They recount the history and role of the port saying “There were no high winds, visual obstructions, or any reasons to believe disaster was about to occur.” They recount that ocean carriers make approximately 1,800 port calls a year to Baltimore and for 40 years till that moment, there had never been a serious accident.

The petition to the U.S. District Court District of Maryland assets, “The allision was a direct result of the petitioners’ negligence.” They list off 32 accusations saying the negligence is “readily apparent and no blame could conceivably be lain at the city’s feet for the allision.”

Among the issues they are citing is the report by the Associated Press that the Dali was experiencing an inconsistent power supply while on dock in Baltimore. They assert the belief that the problems were not investigated nor fixed before departure. The litany of accusations ranges from maintenance failures to the vessel having unseaworthy equipment, failure by the owners to have and implement policies and procedures, and calls into question the actions of the crew. The petition asserts the owners and managers supplied an incompetent crew that was inattentive to its duties, lacked skill and training, and improperly navigated the vessel.

They are asking the court to determine the full extent of the damages but assert that the companies and their vessel have harmed the City of Baltimore directly through its destruction of property and the foreseeable impacts. They are asking the court to set aside the petition to invoke the limits of liabilities under the 1851 law.

With investigations ranging from the FBI to the NTSB still underway, and pending litigation, Grace Ocean and Synergy Marine are declining to respond to media inquiries. The move to invoke the limit on labilities was a standard step in what will be a long and drawn-out legal battle. 

The companies have asked the court to cap their liability at an estimated $43.6 million. They told the court in their filing that the vessel is valued at $90 million plus it will receive more than $1 million in revenue from the container cargo aboard. Early estimates set repair costs for the Dali at $28 million and at least $19.5 million in salvage costs. Separately, they also involved General Averages to force the cargo owners to participate in the salvage costs.

A week ago, the City of Baltimore announced it was taking legal steps to proactively and aggressively address the catastrophic impact of the Key Bridge collapse and protect the interests of the families, impacted businesses, and the city. They retained trial firm DiCello Levitt and Philadelphia law firm Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky Trial Lawyers saying they would “launch legal action to hold the wrongdoers responsible and to mitigate the immediate and long-term harm caused to Baltimore City residents.”

Source: maritime-executive.com

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