THE OWNERS of Baltimore bridge destroyer Dali have declared General Average, although charterers Maersk Line have yet to issue a public notification.

The 9962 TEU Dali is registered to Grace Ocean Pte Ltd of Singapore, a company that serves as a tonnage provider to vessel operators across several shipping sectors, and has now been variously reported as owned by the Tung family’s private investment arm, or Mitsui & Co, or Japan’s Abe family.

The vessel was operating on a 2M (Maersk/MSC) service between East Coast North America and South East Asia when it struck the Frances Scott Key Bridge on 26 March.

In a notification issued late last week MSC said “The vessel’s salvage operations are still ongoing, but Maersk Line informed us today that their vessel Owners have declared General Average.

“No indication is communicated so far as when and where their vessel will be berthed and discharged, but this decision indicates that the Owners expect the salvage operations to result in high extraordinary costs for which they expect contribution from all salvaged parties under General Average.

“Richards Hogg Lindley (RHL), London has been appointed as their General Adjuster and they notified us of their intention to keep all containers, including MSC’s containers, under their control until security arrangements have been made with the Average Adjusters, both for General Average and Salvage.”

MSC said the adjusters would contact cargo owners directly in due course and would provide relevant information on how to proceed and act.

In other Dali news the FBI has confirmed it has opened a criminal investigation into the collapse of the bridge to see if all regulations were followed. “The FBI is present aboard the cargo ship Dali conducting court authorized law enforcement activity,” the agency said in a statement. The Bureau’s focus is reportedly on whether the ship’s crew had prior knowledge of possible problems with its propulsion systems.

This investigation is separate to that of the National Transportation Safety Board, which has recovered Dali’s voyage data recorder and released some details:  power failed for just one minute and three seconds as it approached the bridge, which was struck at about 0130. At 0126, the pilot of the ship had called for tug assistance, and a minute later order the port anchor dropped in an effort to pivot the ship away from the bridge pylon.

Over the weekend the US Army Corp of Engineers manage to remove a section of the main span but divers continue to operate in hazardous conditions to sever pieces of the structure and channel reopening to large vessels is not expected until the end of next month at the earliest.