Video: Containership Dali Successfully Moved to Baltimore Berth

Dali tow
Dali being towed back to the Baltimore terminal 55 days after the allision with the Baltimore bridge (USACE)

Published May 20, 2024 10:29 AM by The Maritime Executive


The refloating operation and removal of the Dali from the wreck site of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore was completed this morning, May 20, with an approximately three-hour tow of the vessel. The containership with sections of the roadway and other debris still on its bow was seen coming alongside at the Seagirt Terminal at around 0900 this morning.

The Unified Command and US Army Corps of Engineers both reported that the ship regained buoyancy at around 0640. That was roughly one hour and twenty minutes as the projected high tide in Patapsco River. Reporters from the Associated Press watching the effort said the vessel appeared to start moving around 0600 with several stops and starts.

The towing operation which had tugs attached at bow and stern began around 0700. Five tugs were positioned with one on the bow and another on the stern as well as several alongside and used to push the vessel into the berth. The operation was expected to travel the approximately 2.5 miles to the Seagirt Marine Terminal at a speed of roughly .8 knots (1 mph).


(Timelapse from Unified Command showing the two-hour move of the Dali)


To prepare for the refloating operation, they reversed the earlier loading of ballast onto the ship which had been used to ensure it did not shift while the debris was being removed, and the controlled demolition a week ago of sections of the bridge that were leaning against the bow and over the deck of the ship. Up to 1.25 million gallons of ballast water were taken onto the ship to ensure it did not shift during those earlier operations which were expected to be pumped off starting midday Sunday in a total operation that was expected to last up to 21 hours.




The ship is expected to remain at Seagirt for up to four to six weeks for additional inspections. Efforts will continue to remove sections of the roadway and bridge debris from the bow of the vessel and some of the laden containers will likely be removed.

With the removal of the 158-foot-wide Dali, they are working to restore the 400-foot wide channel as they work toward the reopening of the full 700-foot, 50-foot deep channel by the end of the month. Salvage crews, using crane and barges, immediately returned to the site, and will work to remove any remaining bridge wreckage. Port officials noted that they are working up to 10 to 15 below the soft bottom into the mud to make sure all debris is removed. They expect that the channel will continue to be limited to one-way traffic at this time but are working with operators to increase the flow of shipping traffic in the port. The Maryland Transportation Authority will continue to oversee the removal of the remaining steel and concrete outside the federal channel, while the U.S. Coast Guard will make the final determinations along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the federal channel.