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Updated March 29th, 2024 at 13:30 IST

'Don't Want Them to Relive Traumatising Memory': US Man Who Met Indian Crew Onboard 'Dali' Ship

The Indian crew was happy and there were no signs of worry, said Andrew Middleton, the man who met crew onboard 'Dali' before the Baltimore Bridge collapsed.

Reported by: Tanisha Rajput
Edited by: Manisha Roy
Baltimore bridge collapse
Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Officials had just 90 seconds to avoid a major mishap and save lives before the 1.6 mile-ship hit a pylon. | Image:AP
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New Delhi: On the morning of March 26, 2024, the United States witnessed one of the deadliest bridge collapses. At around 1:28 am on Tuesday, the main spans of the Francis Scott Key Bridge across the Patapsco River between Baltimore and Dundalk in Maryland came down after the Singapore-flagged container ship MS 'Dali' struck one of its pillars.

Fortunately, the accident didn't result in mass casualties. At the time of incident, there were 22 Indian crew members onboard the cargo ship. After the tragedy struck, people were concerned about the wellbeing of the crew members. Andrew Middleton, Director of 'Apostle of the Sea' port in in Baltimore, Maryland, where the ship was parked before it sailed, in an exclusive conversation with Republic said that all the Indian crew members were “safe but traumatised”.

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Speaking about the day before the May Day call was received, Middleton revealed that on Sunday morning, the crew had reached out to him and urged him to help them for shopping for their personal necessities. The director told that they went to Target to buy toiletries andother personalised items. To pass their time on the ship, a few crew members bought books and magazines from a library.

No signs of 'Worry'

Later, the ship, which was headed towards Sri Lanka, was rescheduled to South Africa to avoid the Yemen coast due to the ongoing violence. On Monday, despite the extension of the trip by almost 7 days, the port director said that the crew members, aged between early 20s and late 50s, were “happy” and not worrisome.

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It was being speculated that the tragedy was a result of a technical or an engineering glitch. Contradicting the rumours, Andrew revealed that there were “no impressions of worry on the vessel by the crew”.

'Don't Want Them to Relive These Memories'

Refraining from sharing details about the crew members, Middleton said he reached out to the seafarers periodically to ensure their safety while keeping his questions very specific and limited as he "didn't want them to relive those traumatising memories".

Andrew further told Republic that the crew, which is still stuck around the Potapsco River, is “healthy” but “very busy”. The members are being provided with WiFi and Internet hotspot to connect with authorities. Efforts are underway to provide them with SIM cards for their cellphones as well.

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As of now, no official response from the Indian crew members has come. The investigation into the matter began on Wednesday, March 2. The exact reason behind the Baltimore Bridge Collapse remains unknown.

Baltimore Bridge Collapse: What Has Happened So Far?

The MS Dali ship that shares the name of one of the world's most celebrated Spanish artists, Salvador Dali, is owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd. The vessel flies a Singapore flag and is powered by diesel engines.

The crew of the cargo ship issued a Mayday call to alert the authorities of the power failure and that the steering of the ship is out of control. The officials had just 90 seconds to avoid the major mishap and save the lives before the 1.6 mile-ship hit a pylon.

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So far, two dead bodies have been recovered from the Baltimore Bridge Collapse site. Retrieval operations have been currently suspended given the possible dangers in the water body.

Reports suggest that traffic in the area has also been hit, as the bridge serves as a major connectivity link.

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Published March 28th, 2024 at 21:53 IST

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