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Only one out of. 57 containers in cargo ship for Colombo from Baltimore port.

By: Staff Writer

April 04, Colombo (LNW): The Singaporean company that owns the cargo ship that collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge last week took steps Monday to limit its liability for the accident while Sri Lanka claims only one out of. 57 containers onboard was destined for Colombo.

The Dali, a 984-foot-long vessel carrying shipping containers, struck one of the Key Bridge’s support columns around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, causing the tragic collapse. Six people are presumed dead, and a salvage operation is underway to clear debris and recover the bodies of the four victims that have not yet been located.

There are believed to be eight construction workers who were on the bridge at the time of the collision. In addition to the six victims, two other workers were rescued from the water.

Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva that “the Maersk shipping line confirmed that there were 57 containers with toxic materials that can be categorised under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. But only one box was bound for Colombo and the rest were for re-exports,” he told journalists.

Addressing misinformation circulating in the media, the Minister criticised individuals lacking proper knowledge of the situation. He highlighted that the vessel’s final destination was China, a detail he claimed was overlooked in media coverage.

The Minister also underscored the necessity of handling classified goods, such as flammables and hazardous materials, in international trade and logistics.

“Goods falling under classifications 1-9 require special approval from the Ministry of Defence and under the current law we have been doing that without any issue,” he said.

Regarding cargo declaration procedures, the Minister clarified that containers’ contents must be declared 72 hours or three days before arrival at the Colombo Port. “However, given the negative publicity surrounding the incident, authorities sought additional details from the shipping line,” he added.

“We still do not know what exactly what is in that one container bound for Colombo. We would only know when the vessel entered the Indian Ocean. But now the ship won’t come as per the scheduled date,” he said.

The six-page, preemptive filing in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore from Grace Ocean Private Limited, and the manager of the ship, Synergy Marine Group, is potentially in anticipation of a wave of civil lawsuits or a Justice Department civil complaint.

The company, represented by a group of attorneys from Baltimore and Washington, asks the court to “issue an order enjoining the commencement of or further prosecution of any claims or causes of action against Petitioners except in this action” and that the court “determine that Petitioners are not liable for any loss or damage arising out of the Casualty.”

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