What occurred to crew of Dali cargo ship caught beneath the collapsed Baltimore bridge? | EUROtoday

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A crew of Indian and Sri Lankan males has spent the final 49 days confined to a hulking and immobile cargo vessel in Baltimore, its bow pinned by what’s left of the shattered bridge it struck.

Demolition crews set off explosives Monday to push damaged bridge trusses away from the grounded Dali container ship, which misplaced energy and struck one of many columns of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, inflicting the complete construction to break down. But even because the ship strikes nearer to freedom, the crew’s future stays an open query.

The 21 crewmen are nonetheless on board. They’ve had their telephones seized by investigators. And our bodies of the six development staff who had been fixing potholes on the bridge when it collapsed have been pulled from the water round them.

Some fear they’ll be held personally responsible for the catastrophe.

“While some crew members are coping, morale has understandably dipped,” two unions representing the seafarers mentioned in a press release.

Here’s what we all know in regards to the Dali’s crew, what they have been doing and what their considerations are:

What have they been doing?

The Rev. Mark Nestlehutt, president and govt director of the New York-based Seamen’s Church Institute, mentioned he and others boarded the Dali a few week after the crash to offer a “compassionate ear” to the crew.

“Everybody was trying to make the best out of a tragic situation,” Nestlehutt mentioned. “At that point, the only real question for the seafarers was when they might be able to go home.”

Food has not been a priority. The Dali was well-stocked for what was alleged to be a protracted voyage, whereas further meals has been introduced onboard as effectively, mentioned Darrell Wilson, a spokesperson for Synergy Marine, the Dali’s Singapore-based administration firm.

Crewmembers have stayed busy, targeted on the various duties of operating a big cargo vessel. They’ve additionally participated within the ongoing federal investigation into the crash and assisted with salvage operations of the collapsed bridge.

They’ve acquired visits from unions and non secular teams. Most of the crew are Hindu, Nestlehutt mentioned, however others are Muslim and Christian.

Bishop Adam J. Parker from the Baltimore Archdiocese visited the ship in early May and held mass with three Roman Catholic crew members in a small workplace, mentioned Andrew Middleton, director of the archdiocese’s Apostleship of the Sea.

Middleton mentioned additionally they handed alongside care packages, together with from a stranger in Minnesota, that had sweet, socks and puzzles, amongst different issues.

What are their considerations?

Crewmembers have expressed considerations about their telephones being seized by federal investigators, Nestlehutt mentioned.

Wilson mentioned the telephones have been changed with new ones, and Synergy Marine mentioned in a press release in early April that the crew had limitless use of the ship’s satellite tv for pc communications to remain in contact with household.

But Nestlehutt and unions say the brand new telephones lack the essential private data that is on the outdated telephones, reminiscent of contacts, household photographs and banking apps for transferring a reimbursement dwelling to their households.

The two unions representing crew members, the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union and the Singapore Organisation of Seamen, known as for the “swift return” the phones in a statement.

The unions said the men also suffered emotional distress from witnessing the crash and have an “unfounded fear of personal criminal liability.”

“The criminalisation of seafarers based solely on their position on board a vessel during an incident is a growing concern,” said Mary Liew, general secretary for the officers’ union.

Nestlehutt also said the crewmen are concerned that continuing to be detained on the ship could imperil future visas to the U.S. or for the crewmembers’ children.

What does the future hold?

The Dali is currently scheduled to be refloated during high tide on Tuesday, officials said over the weekend. They said several tugboats will be used to guide the ship to a nearby terminal in the Port of Baltimore, where it will likely remain for a few weeks and undergo temporary repairs before being moved to a shipyard for more substantial repairs.

Wilson said the men will remain on the ship “for the foreseeable future” as investigations into the crash continue.

“Nobody knows that ship better than the crew,” he said. “So they’re instrumental in serving to with the salvage operation in addition to the investigation course of.”

Nestlehutt mentioned 1.6 million folks work as seafarers on cargo vessels — an invisible workforce.

“This is maybe a chance to appreciate what seafarers do for us day-in and day-out,” he said. “To make sure that we have the things that we order from Amazon and the cars that we want to drive and the things we want to put on our table.”