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FBI Launches Criminal Investigation Into Ship That Caused Baltimore Bridge Collapse

The FBI has begun an investigation into the ship responsible for striking  the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore in March, The Washington Post reported on Monday.

The “Dali,” a near-1000 foot long cargo ship, temporarily lost power and sailed into one of the bridge’s support beams on Mar. 26, causing the entire bridge to collapse into the river and killing six people. The FBI has opened an investigation into the Dali and whether its crew operated it knowing the vessel had operational problems, according to the Post.

Federal authorities appeared to board the Dali in the early hours of the morning on Monday and began navigating the ship, according to the Post. The FBI confirmed it was onboard the Dali on Monday but did not share what exactly it was probing or looking at.

“The FBI is present aboard the cargo ship Dali conducting court authorized law enforcement activity,” the agency told the Post in a statement on Monday.

“My office generally will not confirm the existence of or otherwise comment about investigations,” Erek L. Barron, the U.S. attorney for Maryland, told the Post in a statement on Monday. “However, the public should know, whether it’s gun violence, civil rights abuse, financial fraud, or any other threat to public safety or property, we will seek accountability for anyone who may be responsible.”

The FBI’s probe is separate from the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation, which is examining why the Dali struck the bridge and possible safety failures. The NTSB confirmed in late March that there were over 764 tons of hazardous materials onboard the ship when it struck the bridge.

“Mostly corrosives, flammables, and some miscellaneous hazardous materials, class nine hazardous materials, which would include lithium-ion batteries,” NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said during a press conference on Mar. 27.

Chilean authorities during an inspection in June 2023 detained the ship after discovering pressure gauge issues. The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore confirmed in June 2023 there was a “faulty monitor gauge for fuel pressure” discovered during the inspection.

The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Jake Smith

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