Washington, D.C./ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on May 19, 2024
Notorious 'Dali' Cargo Ship Set for High Tide Heave-Ho After Bridge DisasterSource: NTSBgov, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

After a grueling near-eight-week drama, Baltimore is set to see the Dali, the notorious cargo ship responsible for the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, finally removed from its watery prison at the break of dawn Monday. The vessel has been a fixture in the Patapsco River since the March 26 disaster that claimed the lives of six workers and significantly disrupted the local shipping industry and infrastructure.

With meticulous planning and intense labor, the Unified Command is ready to hoist the 984-foot behemoth from its entrenched position beneath tons of mangled steel. The meticulous preparation, starting midday Saturday, involves releasing anchors and pumping out 1.25 million gallons of water used to stabilize the Dali during efforts to dislodge it, as reported by CBS News. Five determined tugboats will shepherd the Dali for a slow 2.5-mile journey to the Seagirt Marine Terminal, a trip anticipated to span across a cautious three hours.

The enormous salvage operation is expected to kick off at high tide, strategically timed at 5:24 a.m., to capitalize on the water levels for a smoother detachment. Crews have been said to rig the ship ready by 2 a.m. Monday, ensuring a swift transition with the tide's push. The intricate dance, drawn out over a predicted 21 hours or more, is imperative to reclaim full operation of the vital Port of Baltimore, with channels progressively reopening to maritime traffic, according to WBAL-TV.

The relevance of this operation extends beyond the immediate economic tribulations, touching the hearts of a city in collective mourning. The commencement to lift the Dali does not merely signify the reopening of a channel; it reflects the ongoing efforts to patch the wounds of a community wherein the Unified Command "deliberately designed to ensure all response personnel around the M/V Dali maintain control of the vessel," as detailed in a press release obtained by WTOP.

As investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and the FBI continue to unravel the cause of the initial crash, Baltimoreans await the return of normalcy. The Dali lost power hours before taking out part of the city's infrastructure, leaving unanswered questions lingering like the thick fog that often blankets the Patapsco—a fog that Monday's efforts might help to clear, along with the weighty debris the city has been carrying since that fateful day.