FBI launches criminal probe into collapse of Francis Scott Key Bridge – sights set on crew

The FBI is opening a criminal investigation into the crew of the Dali, the massive Singapore-flagged container ship that crashed into Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge last month.

According to The Washington Post, the probe “will look at least in part at whether the crew left the port knowing the vessel had serious systems problems, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.”

The officials, who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity, said the feds are reviewing the events leading up to the 985-foot Dali’s loss of power as it was leaving the Port of Baltimore.

The investigation is being overseen by the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland, according to one of the officials.

“Spokespeople for the FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland or the Justice Department,” The Post reports. “The owner and operator of the ship and attorneys representing them also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”

According to NBC News, “Federal agents boarded the 985-foot Dali early Monday with search warrants..”

“The Baltimore FBI confirmed Monday that agents were on board ‘conducting court authorized law enforcement activity,'” NBC News reports.

“FBI agents are collecting physical evidence and data from inside the ship relating to the moments before, during and after the impact, the sources said,” according to the outlet.

On Monday, Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott announced the city is addressing the bridge collapse with “legal steps” that include hiring law firms “to launch legal action to hold the wrongdoers responsible and to mitigate the immediate and long-term harm caused to Baltimore City residents.”

“Through this engagement, the City of Baltimore will take decisive action to hold responsible all entities accountable for the Key Bridge tragedy, including the owner, charterer, manager/operator, and the manufacturer of the M/V Dali, as well as any other potentially liable third parties,” the city said in its statement.

“This unthinkable tragedy has taken Marylanders from their loved ones, and risked the livelihoods of thousands of Baltimoreans who rely on the Port of Baltimore,” Scott said. “We are continuing to do everything in our power to support everyone impacted here and will continue to recognize the human impact this event has had.”

“Part of that work needs to be seeking recourse from those who may potentially be responsible, and with the ship’s owner filing a petition to limit its liability mere days after the incident, we need to act equally as quickly to protect the City’s interests,” the mayor said.

City Solicitor Ebony M. Thompson noted the “ongoing economic losses” Baltimore is suffering as a result of the bridge collapse.

“It is time to hold the M/V Dali’s owner, charterer, manager/operator, manufacturer, and others accountable for the City’s substantial and ongoing economic losses arising from this tragedy, as well as for the unimaginable distress they have caused to the City’s residents, businesses, workers, and their families,” Thompson said.

“President Joe Biden has stressed that the government will work to rebuild the bridge as soon as possible as the Port of Baltimore is a major part of the Northeast economy, and is the busiest port for car imports and exports,” NBC News reports. “The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the collapse.”

Melissa Fine

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