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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 July 2024

Sri Lanka in dark over Dali cargo vessel that collided with key Baltimore bridge

The Singapore-flagged container vessel, the Dali, which was mainly manned by an Indian crew, collided with the 2.6-km-long, four-lane Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco river in Baltimore in the early hours of March 26

PTI Colombo Published 03.04.24, 05:55 AM
The ship was carrying 764 tonnes of hazardous materials as reported by the US media.

The ship was carrying 764 tonnes of hazardous materials as reported by the US media. File image

Sri Lanka is not yet aware of the nature of hazardous materials on the cargo vessel that collided with a key Baltimore bridge last week as it was supposed to declare the contents of containers only 72 hours before arrival at Colombo port, officials here said.

The Singapore-flagged container vessel, the Dali, which was mainly manned by an Indian crew, collided with the 2.6-km-long, four-lane Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco river in Baltimore in the early hours of March 26. The 984-foot cargo ship was bound for Colombo.

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The ship was carrying 764 tonnes of hazardous materials as reported by the US media.

According to the information available, there are 57 containers with such toxic materials that can be categorised under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. The waste included mostly corrosives, flammables, miscellaneous hazardous materials, and Class-9 hazardous materials, including explosives & lithium-ion batteries — in 56 containers.

The US National Transportation Safety Board is still “analysing the ship’s manifest to determine what was onboard” in its other 4,644 containers, the Daily Mirror Online quoted the official as saying.

“Prior to Baltimore, Dali called at New York and Norfolk, Virginia, which has the world’s largest naval base. Colombo was to be its next scheduled call, going around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, taking 27 days, scheduled to land just after our New Year,” the official said.

Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) chairman Keith Bernard said the ship should declare the contents of containers only 72 hours before the time of arrival at Colombo port.

“The ship is supposed to arrive here on April 21, 2024. It means they are supposed to inform us by April 17 or so. There is enough time. If there are containers with hazardous items as declared by them, we will isolate such containers in accordance with protocols. As a major transhipment hub, we have a procedure set in place to deal with such containers. Most likely, these containers are meant for transhipment,” he said.

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