Key Bridge Response Photo
Photo: US Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Alejandro Rivera

The container ship MV Dali that has been blocking the port of Baltimore for two months is being refloated this morning, while Maersk has reopened some related service bookings.  

The MV Dali allided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge on 26 March and promptly halted vessel transits through the port of Baltimore.  

The 9,000 teu container ship has been stuck in its position for just shy of two months. Four temporary navigation channels were opened to allow a limited number of vessels to leave and enter the port, but this still left many large containerships unable to transit.  

This morning, however, operations to refloat and transit the MV Dali from its current location to a local marine terminal have begun.  

The Port of Baltimore administration said: “Optimum conditions call for the transit of the MV Dali to commence at high tide, predicted to be Monday at 5:24 am. The vessel will be prepared at 2am allowing the MV Dali to catch the peak high tide for a controlled transit.” 

Preparations for the refloat began roughly 18 hours ago, starting midday on Sunday. Once free of its position, up to five tugboats will escort the MV Dali the 2.5-mile distance to a local marine terminal where entry is strictly controlled. 

The entire refloat and transit sequence is likely to take a minimum of 21 hours, according to the port authority, who will release a time-lapse montage upon completion.  

Meanwhile, Maersk has re-opened bookings for its related AGAS and AMEX services.  

The AMEX service transits between US East coast and South Africa and is expected to call at Baltimore on 1 June. The AGAS service transits the US East coast to South America and is expected to call 11 June.  

“AGAS and AMEX are open to bookings now because those vessels can use the Fort McHenry Limited Access Channel, which is not accessible for vessels utilised currently on Transpacific or Transatlantic service,” Maersk explained.  

Indeed, bookings for Maersk’s Transatlantic services and for Baltimore exports on TP12 have not yet reopened.  

But the Danish carrier assured that bookings would reopen once more information on channel conditions for vessels deployed on these services is available. 

“Our ability to call Baltimore will ultimately rely on the refloating timeline and the captain of the port officially opening the port and/or the fourth alternative channel that was previously closed,” it said. 

And it added that if the timeline prevents calls at Baltimore, Maersk vessels may be re-directed to another US East coast port.  

Despite this positive development, the seafarers on board the MV Dali have been stuck on the vessel since the allision two months ago. They are unable to exit the ship due to visa reasons and have no means of communication with the outside world, including their families.  

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