21 Men Are Trapped Without Their Phones on a Ship Involved in the Bridge Collapse in Baltimore - Latest Global News

21 Men Are Trapped Without Their Phones on a Ship Involved in the Bridge Collapse in Baltimore

It’s been about seven weeks since the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in Baltimore, but nearly two dozen sailors are still on the cargo ship responsible for the disaster. The Dali finally broke away on Monday a huge piece of bridge that fell onto the bow of the ship. However, that is BBC reports that 21 Indian and Sri Lankan sailors are stuck on board for various reasons.

Crew members are reportedly required to remain on board due to visa restrictions, lack of land passports and two ongoing investigations by the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Additionally, authorities say the crew is busy continuing to operate the large cargo ship. Over the past two months, these 21 sailors have witnessed a bridge collapse on them, bodies recovered from the Patapsco River and a controlled explosion taking place right in front of their ship.

On Monday, authorities used small explosions to free the Dali from a huge metal-and-plaster cage that had been resting on the ship for seven weeks. The process is called “precision cutting” and uses small charges to divide the portion of the collapsed bridge into more manageable sections. The BBC reports that Dali’s crew had to stay below deck in the hull with a fire department on standby.

“You are part of the ship. “They are necessary to keep the ship staffed and operational,” Admiral Shannon Gilreath of the US Coast Guard told the BBC. “You are the best helpers on board the ship.”

On board, the report describes “a sad situation” in which sailors’ cellphones were confiscated as part of an FBI investigation. The head of a nonprofit that protects seafarers’ rights tells the BBC that crew members are unable to pay bills or send money home to their families. The crew reportedly received SIM cards and burner phones with no data, but many of them had no contact information.

“While some crew members are coping, morale has understandably fallen,” one said Joint announcement from the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union and the Singapore Organization of Seamen earlier this week. The statement said the crew members were “emotionally distressed.”

Authorities have reportedly transported ample food and supplies for the 21 crew members on board. There were originally 23 members on the Dali, but apparently two were able to disembark. The remaining crew have also received support packages from various community groups and individuals, including lots of Indian snacks, handmade quilts and puzzles.

Some crew members fear they will be held personally responsible for the disaster. A preliminary one NTSB report noted that two power outages knocked out equipment leading up to the incident. The day before, the Dali reportedly failed again. The report states that just minutes before the crash, the boat operator made a distress call using high-frequency marine radio (VHF) to warn all water traffic.

Darrel Wilson, spokesman for Synergy Marine, the Dali’s Singapore-based management company, told the BBC he was currently unable to provide a timetable for crew disembarkation from the ship. Once the ship is fully refloated, tugboats will tow the Dali to a port in Baltimore. The ship is expected to remain docked there for several weeks for repairs, while the men will remain on the ship “for the foreseeable future.”

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