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Two months after the Baltimore ship disaster, 22 Indian crew members trapped inside, their phones taken away: Details

Reports say that the crew has been unable to leave due to visa restrictions, a lack of requisite shore passes, and concurrent continuing investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FBI.

It’s been two months since the ill-fated vessel that collided with Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing its collapse, and the crew of Dali is still stranded on the vessel. The crew members remain cut off from the rest of the world with no access to their mobile.

On 26th March, the ship collided with one of the bridge’s support pillars, causing the 1.6-mile span to collapse and drop into the Patapsco River below. The crew included 20 men from India and one from Sri Lanka. Seconds before the collision, the crew managed to initiate a mayday call, saying that they had lost power shortly after leaving the Port of Baltimore and could no longer navigate the vessel.

Seconds before the collision, the crew managed to initiate a mayday call, saying that they had lost power shortly after leaving the Port of Baltimore and could no longer navigate the vessel.

Reports say that the crew has been unable to leave due to visa restrictions, a lack of requisite shore passes, and concurrent continuing investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FBI.

Speaking to The Independent, Darrell Wilson, a spokesperson for Synergy Marine Group, which manages the Dali vessel that the FBI seized the crew members’ phones during the crash investigation. However, it is unknown why the crew’s mobile phones were confiscated or when they will be given back. It is also unknown why the crew is still being confined on board the vessel over two months after the incident.

Meanwhile, Joshua Messick, executive director of the Baltimore International Seafarers’ Center said: “They can’t do any online banking. They can’t pay their bills at home. They don’t have any of their data or anyone’s contact information, so they’re really isolated right now. They just can’t reach out to the folks they need to, or even look at pictures of their children before they go to sleep. It’s really a sad situation.”

In a joint statement on 11th May, the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union and the Singapore Organisation of Seamen raised concerns about the stuck crew members and said that their “morale has understandably dipped”, due to “unfounded fear of personal criminal liability” and emotional distress.

Messick stated that for the time being, the crew has been issued SIM cards and temporary mobile phones with no data included. The crew also got care packages from community groups and private individuals in recent weeks.

As reported earlier, on 26th March (local time), Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed moments after a container ship collided with one of its pillars while it was under pilotage. Shocking visuals of the collision and bridge collapse show an explosive fire on board the container ship as the bridge above shakes, breaks into pieces, and falls into the water. Later, it came to light that all 22-member crew on the ship was Indian, with local pilots operating the ship and steering it away from the Baltimore port. 

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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