Chemicals, Lumber and Soap are Among Exports on Trapped Baltimore Ship

Authorities are marshaling cranes, barges and other vessels in an effort to open the shipping channel and move the damaged Dali and its cargo

·         Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk chartered the Dali as part of a global service ferrying a cross section of American exports to countries including China, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as destinations in the Middle East and Africa

·         The Dali is wedged against the concrete pier it slammed into while taking down the span early Tuesday.

·         The ship was bound from Baltimore to Sri Lanka, a trans-shipment point for containers that would be loaded onto other vessels for transport to their final destinations.

·         56 of the 4,700 containers aboard the Dali held 764 tons of hazardous materials including corrosives, flammables and so-called Class 9 hazardous materials like lithium-ion batteries.

·         Cargo owners may end up paying for part of the cost under international maritime law and contracting provisions that date back centuries.

·         The maritime principle, known as general average, requires that cargo owners share in the cost of losses in a shipping catastrophe.

·         If the Singapore-based shipowner declares general average, customers with goods on board “would have to post financial security in order to get their containers released,” said John Miklus, president of the American Institute of Marine Underwriters.

·         The Ever Given containership that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week in March 2021 sat at anchor for months after being freed from a sandbar while its owner and insurers negotiated with Egyptian authorities over liability and compensation.

·         Even after the cargo is unloaded from the Dali, “there will be cargo claims and cargo damage claims made for those containers that have been damaged.”

·         The number of cargo owners affected could run into the thousands since many of the loaded containers may contain shipments from several different customers.

 

[ABS News Service/30.03.2024]

The containership that collapsed the Francis Scott Key Bridge was carrying goods including hazardous chemicals, paper products, machinery, scrap metal and lumber, shipments bound largely for India and other parts of Asia that experts say may be tied up for weeks at the harbor outside Baltimore.

The Singaporean vessel, the Dali, remains a major obstacle in a vital Baltimore shipping channel also choked with debris from the fallen bridge. Officials on Friday said they were moving cranes, barges and other ships into place for a major cleanup operation.

Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk chartered the Dali as part of a global service ferrying a cross section of American exports to countries including China, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as destinations in the Middle East and Africa, according to supply-chain technology firm e2open.

Hazardous chemicals are among the goods in containers on the ship, which was damaged in the crash with the large span early Tuesday morning, according to e2open, whose software helps companies manage and track imports and exports.

The firm said the shipments include pharmaceutical ingredients, paper products, grain, lumber, furniture, aluminum and copper products, textiles and apparel, automotive and aerospace parts, vehicles and scrap metal.

Retrieving the vessel and reopening the channel to ships will come amid a complicated effort to clear the disaster scene.

Tons of wreckage are sitting in the water where the steel truss bridge once soared over the gateway to Baltimore’s harbor. The Dali is wedged against the concrete pier it slammed into while taking down the span early Tuesday. Bridge debris is also pinning the bow into the river bottom, according to the Coast Guard.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said officials remain focused on recovery, as the bodies of four of the six victims of the bridge collapse remain in the water. But another top priority is clearing the channel, he said Friday.

“The health of the Maryland economy and the national economy depend on it,” Moore said.

In the coming weeks there will be seven floating cranes, 10 tugboats, nine barges, eight salvage vessels and five Coast Guard boats working on the cleanup effort, the governor said.

President Biden told reporters Friday he plans to visit Baltimore next week with Moore.

Government officials haven’t said how long they expect it will take to clear a path so that cargo vessels can reach the Baltimore port’s cargo terminals.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath said assessments of the bridge above and below the waterline continue. Engineers from the state and federal government are also working on plans to cut up the estimated 3,000 to 4,000 tons of bridge wreckage laying on the vessel.

“As soon as they remove with cranes that piece of structure, they can tow that ship with tugs into port,” he said.

E2open said the vessel was carrying boxes for Maersk as well as Mediterranean Shipping, Israel’s Zim Integrated Shipping and Hong Kong-based Gold Star Lines. The ship was bound from Baltimore to Sri Lanka, a trans-shipment point for containers that would be loaded onto other vessels for transport to their final destinations.

E2open declined to identify the specific materials and cargo owners.

The National Transportation Safety Board has said 56 of the 4,700 containers aboard the Dali held 764 tons of hazardous materials including corrosives, flammables and so-called Class 9 hazardous materials like lithium-ion batteries. Fourteen containers broke open as a result of the collision, spilling soap, perfume products and resin material into the Patapsco River, authorities said.

Cargo owners may end up paying for part of the cost under international maritime law and contracting provisions that date back centuries. The maritime principle, known as general average, requires that cargo owners share in the cost of losses in a shipping catastrophe.

If the Singapore-based shipowner declares general average, customers with goods on board “would have to post financial security in order to get their containers released,” said John Miklus, president of the American Institute of Marine Underwriters. “To my knowledge, the vessel has not declared general average, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.”

The Ever Given containership that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week in March 2021 sat at anchor for months after being freed from a sandbar while its owner and insurers negotiated with Egyptian authorities over liability and compensation.

Ashley Craig, a maritime lawyer with the Venable firm in Washington, D.C., said even after the cargo is unloaded from the Dali, “there will be cargo claims and cargo damage claims made for those containers that have been damaged.”

Craig said the number of cargo owners affected could run into the thousands since many of the loaded containers may contain shipments from several different customers.

“So you literally have, I don’t even know how many dozens upon dozens, thousands upon thousands, of consolidated boxes on board that vessel, a multitude of cargo interests that are all scratching their heads wondering, ‘What do I do now?’ ” he said.