Refloating of Dali to Begin Sunday for Monday Removal to Baltimore Berth

Dali Baltimore
Clearance operation on May 15. They now report a clear path is available to remove the Dali (USCG photo)

Published May 18, 2024 6:02 PM by The Maritime Executive


The Unified Command overseeing the recovery operation in Baltimore reports that the removal operation for the Dali is scheduled to begin on Sunday, May 19 with the vessel expected to begin the journey from the wreck site to the berth early on Monday, May 20. They are reporting that the surveys confirmed that a safe path exists to remove the containership back to the Baltimore terminal.

It will be a complex operation expected to require up to 21 hours from start to finish and marking a key point in the nearly eight weeks of salvage operations. A deliberately designed sequence with a checklist has been developed for the entire operation.

The actual move is expected to begin on high tide Monday, May 20. The timing is predicted for 5:24 a.m. local time to coincide with when the Patapsco River is forecast to reach high tide. 

The process will begin approximately 18 hours before then at mid-day on Sunday. The vessel will be prepared starting at 2:00 a.m. local time. They expect to secure as many as five tugboats to the Dali for the move.

The refloating process will include a de-ballasting operation to reverse the additional weight that was placed on the containership a little over a week ago in preparation for the controlled demolition of the sections of the bridge that were laying against the port side of the vessel. Approximately 1.25 million gallons of ballast water were taken onto the ship to help ensure it did not shift during the controlled demolition which took place on May 13.

The de-ballasting will remove part or all the water taken onto the ship. In addition, they added mooring lines to the Dali during the salvage operation which will be removed and they will release the anchors on the ship. Dive teams have also been checking the underwater areas, especially along the port side of the vessel to confirm that all the obstructions have been removed after the demolition.

The Dali will be moving approximately 2.5 miles to the Seagirt Marine Terminal. The Unified Command is saying the move will be traveling at roughly .8 knots (1 mph). An expected arrival time at the terminal has not been provided, but they will release updates on Monday morning once the vessel is underway.

Once the Dali has been relocated, the Port of Baltimore anticipates that the available channel will be widened to approximately 400 feet and a depth of 48 feet. The full 700-foot wide channel is still on track to resume at the end of May.

It was previously reported that once she reaches the terminal she will undergo additional inspections including the NTSB is scheduled to return to the ship for up to two days. Salvage operations will be continuing on the bow of the Dali and it is expected that at least some of the laden containers will be offloaded. The ship is also scheduled to be made available for tours by representatives involved in the multiple lawsuits. 

The U.S. Coast Guard said that they expect the Dali will remain at the terminal for four to six weeks. It is expected that the ship will then be shifted to a shipyard, possibly in the Norfolk, Virginia area, for initial repairs.