FBI Opens Criminal Investigation Into Baltimore Bridge Collapse


The FBI has quietly begun probing last month’s horrific collapse of a Baltimore bridge for criminal negligence, opening an investigation that will explore who, if anyone, was at fault for the deadly collision.

Two U.S. officials familiar with the investigation told the Washington Post that the Bureau’s focus centers on the massive container ship that brought down the Francis Scott Key Bridge and whether its crew left their port in the city knowing that the ship was malfunctioning. The Dali, a 985-foot Singapore-flagged ship, lost power shortly before it struck the bridge and threw it into the water, killing six construction workers.

On Monday morning, FBI officers could be seen climbing aboard the ship around 6:30 a.m. while three vessels appeared alongside the Dali. Just 20 minutes later, other officials wearing yellow or orange life jackets entered the ship through a lower door and could be seen climbing up to the ship’s bow. About a half-hour later, roughly a dozen individuals in dark clothing boarded the Dali from a smaller boat.

The FBI confirmed to the Post that its agents were aboard the ship but would not comment further.

“The FBI is present aboard the cargo ship Dali conducting court authorized law enforcement activity,” the agency said in a statement Monday morning.

“My office generally will not confirm the existence of or otherwise comment about investigations,” Erek L. Barron, the U.S. attorney for Maryland, said in a statement. “However, the public should know, whether it’s gun violence, civil rights abuse, financial fraud, or any other threat to public safety or property, we will seek accountability for anyone who may be responsible.”

A pre-dawn crash on the morning of March 26th shuttered ports across the Eastern Seaboard as the critical waterway was blocked off from travel while search and rescue teams attempted to account for the missing persons. Within days, officials determined that six construction workers fell into the water and died, coming to rest at such depths that recovering their bodies amid the wreckage was all but impossible. Two among the crew survived.

A separate investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is assessing the cause of the crash and shortcomings in safety-related measures. President Joe Biden and Maryland Governor Wes Moore have pledged to hold responsible any parties that knew about the Dali’s electronic defects and allowed it to continue transferring hundreds of shipping containers. The agency has previously said a full investigation could last as long as two years.

“It’s a massive undertaking for an investigation,” said NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy when asked about a timeline for the probe. “It’s a, you know, it’s a very tragic event. It’s multimodal. There is a lot of information we need to collect, a lot that we need to analyze, many interviews, many different components to the investigation, but this is not new for the NTSB.”

“We have an amazing team of individuals who are focused on very specific areas of expertise, and so I have no doubt that we will be able to pull this together in hopefully 12 to 24 months,” she said. “With that said, we will not hesitate again to issue urgent safety recommendations to issue urgent safety recommendations before that time if we need to.”


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