M/V Dali - What about the reported power loss while in port?

Why are all of the discussions about the Dali debacle centered on who did what, when, and why after the first (underway) blackout and little if anything about the recent history of repeated blackouts while at the dock? Continuing with yacht_sailor’s aviation analogies, I see this event as equivalent to an airliner taking off after losing an engine or flight control component multiple times between the gate and the runway. The loss of power issues appear to be well known to longshoremen and others working on the ship but were completely ignored by the CG or anyone else with the authority to ask if departing with unresolved technical issues was a good idea. The issue I see isn’t what those onboard did or didn’t do in extremis but what did not happen before getting underway.


Possibly the blackouts are not a known fact? The only reporting of them that I saw quoted an “administrator” from Container Royalty which was said to be a company monitoring cargo in Baltimore

The Container Royalty Fund is a pool of money for additional compensation paid to longshoremen. I’m unclear how an administrator of that fund would have first hand knowledge of the condition of the ship’s electrical system.

Let’s see what happens when more time goes by. If there’s something there it will come out in time, but the truth is that right now there are not a lot of facts, still just a lot of inferences and speculation.


This will be the hindsight bias in this accident in my opinion. The pilot’s reaction seemed like textbook emergency shiphandling. The decision to sail with a questionable power plant was likely the crucial link in the error chain. The investigation should clear it up.


That’s right .
Source : Trade Winds : " A Baltimore port worker claims the 9,962-teu Dali (built 2015) experienced power issues for two days before leaving the terminal on its ill-fated departure that resulted in a catastrophic bridge collapse on Tuesday.
The account of Julie Mitchell, co-administrator of Container Royalty, aired live in the US on Wednesday afternoon on cable network CNN.
Container ship in Baltimore incident cited for propulsion deficiency last year…" " And those two days, they were having serious power outages …"

Source : Splash 247 : " Julie Mitchell, co-administrator of Container Royalty, which tracks the tonnage on containerships coming in and out of Baltimore, told CNN the ship was suffering from power outages for two days prior to its departure.

“They had a severe electrical problem. It was total power failure, loss of engine power, everything,” Mitchell said, citing a number of reefers onboard which had been tripping circuit breakers. "

Splash 247 comments section :

Source : Daily Mail UK :slight_smile:

And all knowing queen and mother of all B.S. in person :

And as to US longshoreman and their work ethics I have many stories to tell but i will not , as the "we crowd " of patriots here will ban me for life from this forum.


But did they? Are there any reliable report saying they did?

AFAIK there are no official report from USCG, NTSB or Flag State inspectors on site saying anything of the sort.

BTW; The team from MPA Singapore (Flag State Authority) has not been seen or heard from yet. (??)
Although this incident happened in US territorial waters they should be a very important part of the investigation and responsible for the final report, whenever that gets issued.

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Hence why I said the investigation should clear it up. Every one of us is speculating here


As far as I know there are maintenance jobs in E/R , that can be done at sea but there are many ,that must be done while alongside. So they may consider themselves lucky to have enough time to do some maintenance in bettween inspections from PSC or audits if there were any . Besides if the scope of maintenance would immobilise the vessel, then they would need a permit arranged by the local agent.

Also they could have a crew change there and new personel even if there is a good familiarisation procedure within their management , could be not 100% familiar especially in the E/R . Haste makes waste and having been some years under Big Blue time charters i know what kind of pressure they apply on all involved. Also look at ISM Manager profiles: they are mostly interested in : diversity , inclusiveness , gender issues and all the woke agendas so safety may not be on the first priority list . Who knows ?? Lets wait and see.


As long as we’re speculating (more fun than waiting a year or so):

Chain of events as seen on camera:

0.03: ship goes dark

0.11 begins to veer to starboard (hull length begins to shorten)

0.13 lights come back on

0.16 Astern propulsion and wheel walk to port adding to bow swing to starboard

0.24 ship goes dark again

0.30 lights come back on

0.45 allision following increased rate of turn

0.49 bridge collapse begins

0.51 ship goes dark

0.55 end of clip

With the ship aligned with the center of the channel at 0.00, does the ship begin to veer to starboard at 0.11 as the result of input from the helm or is it an optical illusion?


How about using this video. Much more time for thinking , looking and speculating. It looks to me like a real time video.

(917) Full video | Francis Scott Key bridge collapses in Baltimore - YouTube

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From Splash 24/7 today:

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The video at normal speed appears to confirm the beginning of a turn to stbd following the first incidence of lights out. My question is this: if the start of the turn is not the result of a helm input (to take way off and/or aim for the bank?), can loss of power explain the rudder going hard right?

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I raised the question another thread about this, but there’s so much going on there it’s hard to keep track.

I’m no engineer, so please correct me if I’m wrong, but to me reefers tripping breakers doesn’t mean the ship is having propulsion and/or total blackouts. I haven’t spent a ton of time on container ships but I never once thought twice about plugging a reefer in and being worried about either blacking out the ship for lack of power or it tripping a breaker that would in turn black out the ship.

I’m not saying there’s no connection, but I guess I don’t see the obvious connection.

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This was discussed on the other 500+ posts threads.

This was my post:

AFAIK the “serious power outages” and the breakers tripping were both from the same individual. .

A port worker has said the cargo ship that rammed the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore was experiencing technical issues for two days before the crash.

Julie Mitchell, Co-Administrator of Container Royal, which tracks the tonnage on container ships in Baltimore port, told ITV News the ship was "having serious power outages".

She said: "The reefer boxes that we have, one of which is the refrigerated boxes, were actually tripping the breakers or mechanics that were keeping the generators running on those while they were trying to fix the ship.

AFAIK this was the only report of “power outages” while in port. Also the CG reported the ship had done ‘routine maintenance’ while in port.

The lack of any other reports is “the dog that didn’t bark”.

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Two whole days in port is not common for this type of ships, so very likely they took the opportunity to do maintenance works (and maybe some testing?) that cannot be done at sea.
Some such work/test could require part of the electric system to be shut down for short periods, which MAY appear to untrained eyes as “blackout”.
Any Engineer here care to comment on this thought

Yes Maersk is known as a hard task masters, but they also know were their legal limits goes.
Have you experienced that they, as charterers, interfere down to how many generators to run during maneuvering, or when to change from MGO to IFO/LSHFO when leaving port?

Ok lets speculate and I may be wrong of course. There is a video on Casual Navigation utube channel and the clip makes sense to me regarding bank effects . I cut a little piece here:

This could be a cause of initial swing to starboard. It is hard to guess what they did with the helm seeing this , so I do not know what they did .

From the “Full video clip” one can see the swing to starboard continued and then accelerated. Some say due to starboard helm, some say due to M/E full astern action. Who knows?? As I do not know.

We know the Pilot ordered port anchor to let go and they did it. And surely they did it ,when the vessel was swinging to starboard. Intention was to halt the swing and slow the vessel.

Is it possible, that letting go port anchor during the swing was not only counterproductive but it exacerbated the starboard swing . ???

I have made an akward drawing to better show what I mean . The anchor with the chain surely went under the hull during the swing. When it cought ground from time to time it could have created temporary “pivot points” that exacerbated the starboard swing instead of stopping/halting it .

I have not such an experience , therefore it is purely hypothetical scenario and I may be totaly wrong , hence the pilots comments would be most welcome. Black asterisks symbolise “temporary pivot points” .

Sounds crazy but who knows??? Now over to experts.


Can somebody verify this :
The ship was not “In the Channel”, they were “In Port” and there are regulations that dictate the speeds that a vessel of any size may move within that area of operations. In this case, the regulation for a ship exceeding 10,000 gross tons is no greater than 3 knots until they clear the Key Bridge and are “outside” the port. So WHY was the ship traveling at 9 knots?

I have experienced both good and bad things with Big Blue. The good things will make You smile and the bad things with cause your hair to stand.

They employ an army of people to silence those who reveal some other things they do especialy to time chartered vessels owned /managed by entities who consider being Big Blue client as a huge privilege and are ready 24/7/365 to make concessions, CP conditions violations and closing the eyes when such should be wide opened.

We may talk about this in PM some time later. Meantime i will search for some opinions from folks who worked for them in direct employment. To be a master on a time chartered vessel by Big Blue is to be between a devil and deep blue sea.

Under Time C.P . charterer supplies bunkers for main engine and generators , hence fuel consumption is of paramount importance for them. They may and do apply pressure directly and indirectly . Pls do not forget that there is a Cl 8. in C.P NYPE which gives charterer a huge muscle to apply pressure. In 99% of cases owners/managers , mentioned earlier do not investigate as it is easier to replace and pleasing such client as Big Blue is top priority. The standard phrase charterer uses is " master/cheng uncooperative" and finito de la musica

addendum 1) Source : utube : Why the Blackout & is Negligence of the Crew Suspected? | Q&A Comments section :


4 days ago

I was a Maersk Captain. This is my assessment of what happened. I don’t have any direct knowledge of the situation but I have a lot of experience in similar situations. They just made the turn, let go of the tugboats. Once they exceeded 6 kts. They shut down the bow thruster. They then shut down their secondary generator. The ship has 3 main generators. One large generator and 2 smaller generators. A 4th generator is called the EDG/emergency diesel generator. If the engineers didn’t know what the reefer load was (electrical power required), they could have shut down the wrong generator. Often times it requires 2 generators for the entire passage. US flagged ships keep 2 generators on until they reach open ocean. Foreign ships shut down their second generator as soon as possible. They have a financial incentive. They are evaluated based upon their KPI. Their bonuses are significant compared to their salary. I believe that an engineer shut down the wrong generator and they lost power. Or shut one down 1 when 2 generators were required for the power requirements. Often times the third generator is not functional because it is under maintenance or repairs. That would shut down the main engine. The lights came back on when the EDG automatically started. The black smoke could be from starting a generator, or more likely from trying to start the main engine. The ebb tide (from the side channel) pushed the stern to port, causing the ship turn to starboard. Tainted fuel is not likely. They would have been on their service tank. That fuel would have been loaded into a holding tank and tested by sampling by an independent lab. Once it is certified, it can be transferred to the service tank.

Rem: author got the number of generators wrong

Addendum : Source : same as above : (https://www.youtube.com/@sphilips5235)


4 days ago

Can’t agree with the part that the second generator could have been stopped. No CE would ever stop the second generator in enclosed waters or when a pilot is onboard as rapid engine movements can be given or when ME is on stby.Besides there is absolutely no financial incentive in this for anyone, based on my three decades of sea going experience with 20 years as CE with regular calls to US ports.


4 days ago

@sphilips5235 I disagree. I have witnessed inbound ships start up a second generator just a few minutes prior to starting their bow thruster. Inside of the port, near the berth, hundreds of times. I always required a secondary generator on 30-45 minutes prior to pilot. I would start the bow thruster 30 minutes or more before required, in case of any problems. Maersk has a very strict KPI (Key Performance Indicator) system. They try to save as much money/fuel as possible. Each ship is evaluated against other same class ships. Depending on a ship’s ranking dictates their bonuses. U.S. flagged ships don’t have bonuses, but there is pressure to rank higher than other ships in your class. I have been to international conferences and talked with other crews. You were CE for 30 years. You probably retired before slow steaming. Doing 13 kts to save fuel. Exaggerating on electronic weather reports to make sure that the computer program is favorable for fuel consumption.


4 days ago

@sphilips5235 KPI bonuses for the top 4 are often more than a month’s salary. Not applicable for US flagged ships. The Dali was Singapore flagged with an Indian crew.


Yes indeed. However dogs like wolves are howling as well and many local and other news joints are using this particular interview to create among the public an impression , M/V Dali had serious technical problems .

And serious technical problems mean the vessel was NOT seaworthy before and at departure. Stirring the public outrage did some nasty job on the master of Exxon Valdez and pls be so kind to check out what public outrage and politicians , using this outrage for their own purposes did to the Master of Hebei Spirit in Korean incident . It’s election year in your Land - is it not??

You and others here may know she spins BS but is your local public on the same page with you .I do not think so.

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The dog that didn’t bark is an idiom, in this context meaning that sometimes the lack of reports can be relevant information.

In this case, given the number of longshoreman aboard the Dali while working cargo, had there been any issue with power outages one would expect more than one individual reporting the issue.

I’ve not seen any evidence of public outrage, the reaction I’ve seen from friends and family is mostly puzzlement as to how this could possibly happen.


So give me the number . As I recollect well from WCUSA, ECUSA,SCUSA where I used to call for many years under APL ,Maersk, CMA CGM, ZIM, MSC ,KienHung time charters and one time in consecutive voyages charter for Great Western I noted the following presence: unlashing gang -on arrival ,Lashing gang- before departure, " ZERO TALLY MAN" on board and rarely a foreman showed up .
From planners office those guys very often did not even bother to come to ships office- they left the papers on the gangway when it landed . When reefers were loaded one or two guys to plug them in unless there was a technical problem with the reefer , then some electrician was called. So I do not recall at all any big crowds

Most of the time one can see longshormen on shore attaching t’locs to containers to be lifted and a tally man. So no big crowds on deck either.

But I have seen local news joints and utube channels busily and with passion working on it so just be patient and wait.

hence I see no further reason to discuss regarding this topic.

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I thought you shut down gen sets to save fuel to sell it?