Shipping article(s)
March 27, 2024
Photo credit: YouTube/StreamTimeLive

Maersk said it is omitting Baltimore on all its services for the foreseeable future as it confirmed that the "DALI" container vessel that collided with a bridge in Baltimore was chartered by the Danish shipping giant.


The ocean liner said the ship was carrying Maersk customers' cargo, but there was no Maersk crew and personnel onboard when the vessel hit the Francis Scott Key bridge, causing it to partially collapse.


According to a schedule on Maersk's website, the "DALI" ship was set to depart Baltimore early on Tuesday and arrive at Colombo on April 22. The vessel is owned by Singapore's Grace Ocean Pte and managed by Synergy Marine Group.
"In the early hours of March 26, 2024, a vessel collided with the Francis Scott Key bridge, resulting in damage to the structure. Information on the situation remains pending, and we remain in close contact with officials in the area," Maersk said in a statement.

"We can confirm that the container vessel  "DALI"  is owned by Grace Ocean and operated by Synergy Group. It is time chartered by Maersk and is carrying Maersk customers’ cargo. No Maersk crew and personnel were onboard the vessel," it added.


The Danish shipping company noted that due to the damage to the bridge and resulting debris, it would not be possible to reach the Helen Delich Bentley port of Baltimore for the time being.


"In line with this, we are omitting Baltimore on all our services for the foreseeable future until it is deemed safe for passage through this area," Maersk said.


For cargo already on the water, the shipping line said it would omit the port and would discharge cargo set for Baltimore in nearby ports.


From these ports, it will be possible to utilise landside transportation to reach the final destination instead.


Maersk also warned of "delays" for cargo set to discharge in Baltimore, as they will need to discharge in other ports.


"We are keeping a close eye on the safety situation in the area and continuing to assess the viability of transportation through the area," the ocean carrier said. "We are deeply concerned by this incident and are closely monitoring the situation."


Port of Baltimore suspends vessel traffic


Meanwhile, the Port of Baltimore — the deepest harbour in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay and the fifth-busiest container port on the US East Coast — has suspended vessel traffic in and out of the gateway following the collision as investigations and rescue operations are underway for an undetermined number of casualties after the partial collapse sent vehicles off the bridge.


"We want to express our deepest thoughts to the individuals and families involved in this morning's tragic incident. Vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore is suspended until further notice," the Port said in a separate statement"This does not mean the Port of Baltimore is closed. Trucks are being processed within our marine terminals."


Port of Baltimore noted, however, that "at this time, we do not know how long vessel traffic will be suspended."


Analysts said the incident could put further pressure on container lines as they may be forced to divert vessel calls. This could also impact ocean service reliability at other US East Coast ports.


MarineTraffic data showed at least nine cargo vessels with Baltimore listed as their destination were making their way to the port on Tuesday morning.


Update: March 28


In a separate update from Maersk, the shipping line reiterated that due to the damage and resulting debris from the tragic incident, it is currently not possible to reach the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore.


"Therefore, at this time, no new bookings into or out of the Port of Baltimore will be accepted," Maersk said. "However, we will continue to offer options through alternate USEC ports."


It added that Maersk will also continue to provide Store Door service to and from Baltimore and surrounding areas.


"We understand your need for clarity on your cargo, as well as future changes to our routes regarding Baltimore. We are working diligently to identify solutions and will inform you as soon as possible of changes to current and future cargo to Baltimore," the ocean liner said.

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