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26 Mar 2024

The New York Times

USA: Vessels belonging to owner of Baltimore ship had been cited for labor violations

Ships belonging to the same company whose container vessel crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday have been cited in recent years for labor violations ...

In 2021 ... [the management of] ... another ship formerly owned by the company, the Singapore-based Grace Ocean Private Ltd. ... was [found to be] in arrears paying 13 crew members and had kept them onboard the ship for more than 12 months, well beyond their nine-month contracts ...

Another ship owned by Grace Ocean, the Furness Southern Cross, had 10 seafarers onboard for more than 14 months ...


Any factors about the crew of the Dali, the Grace-owned container ship that crashed into the Key Bridge, including fatigue, will likely be among the many items the National Transportation Safety Board examines as it looks for the cause or causes of the crash.

Grace Ocean owns 55 ships, according to Equasis, a public database of ship information. While global companies such as Maersk charter the vessels, the owners and the ship managers are generally responsible for managing the crew and maintaining the ships. The management company for the Dali, Synergy Marine, was not the company managing the two vessels cited by Australia.

The extremely opaque nature of global ship-owning makes finding the ultimate owners and holding them accountable for any violations difficult ...


.... ship ownership structures are designed to maximize opacity and minimize accountability.


An inspection of the Dali last year at a port in Chile found that the vessel had a deficiency related to “propulsion and auxiliary machinery.” The inspection, conducted on June 27 at the port of San Antonio, specified that the problem concerned gauges and thermometers.

The Dali has had 27 inspections since 2015, according to Equasis. The only other deficiency, a damaged hull “impairing seaworthiness,” was found in 2016, at the port of Antwerp, in Belgium. The vessel hit a berth at the port that year. A spokesman representing Grace Ocean and Synergy did not immediately have a comment on the labor violations or on the deficiency reported last year.