FBI Launches Criminal Investigation Into Baltimore Bridge Collapse

The FBI has opened a criminal investigation into the container ship that collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore last month, causing it to collapse and killing six members of a roadwork crew. 

As The Washington Post reports, numerous federal agents were seen boarding the cargo ship Dali early Monday morning, April 15. The investigation will reportedly focus on the lead-up to the ship’s departure from the Port of Baltimore and whether the crew knew there were any problems with the ship’s systems before the crash.

The criminal probe comes on the heels of a separate investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is looking into what caused the crash and other safety issues. What’s currently known is that the Dali suffered a total blackout, losing both engine and electrical power, which prevented the crew from using its control and communications systems. 

Thanks to a backup generator, the pilot was able to issue a mayday warning via radio that allowed first responders to shut down car traffic on the bridge. But the pilot was unable to slow the ship, and it eventually crashed into a support pillar, causing the entire bridge to collapse. 

In a statement shared with Rolling Stone, the FBI said only that “federal agents are conducting a court-approved search of the Dali.” No further details were given.

The U.S. attorney for Maryland, Erik L. Barron was similarly tight-lipped: “My office generally will not confirm the existence of or otherwise comment about investigations,” he said. “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.”


Along with the FBI investigation, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said the city had partnered with two law firms in an effort to hold those responsible for the crash accountable. “We are continuing to do everything in our power to support everyone impacted here and will continue to recognize the human impact this event has had,” Scott said. “Part of that work needs to be seeking recourse from those who may potentially be responsible, and with the ship’s owner filing a petition to limit its liability mere days after the incident, we need to act equally as quickly to protect the City’s interests.”

The Dali was registered in Singapore and owned and operated by two Singaporean companies, Grace Ocean Private Ltd. and Synergy Marine Group. Earlier this month, per CBS, legal representatives for the two companies made a preemptive filing in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore aiming to limit their liability in the crash.