Controlled demolition of the bridge began on May 15, raising hopes for the trapped crew—20 of whom are from India and one from Sri Lanka. Visa restrictions, lack of shore passes, and investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and FBI have prevented the men from disembarking. Communication with the outside world has been minimal since the FBI confiscated their phones as part of the investigation.

Morale among the crew has plummeted, exacerbated by unfounded fears of criminal liability and emotional distress. Unions representing the crew have called for the return of their phones, emphasizing the impact on their well-being and connection with family. Donations, such as handmade quilts and Indian snacks, have been provided to support the crew during this time.

The unified command, which is overseeing the response to the bridge collapse and ship, is preparing to refloat the Dali and move it to Seagirt Marine Terminal. A dive survey is being conducted to assess the situation, and efforts to remove submerged and unstable wreckage from the demolition are in progress. Severely damaged containers and overhanging wreckage on the Dali's deck also need to be secured or removed. These operations are expected to be completed within days.

The reopening of the Fort McHenry Federal Channel is critical for the Port of Baltimore's operations. Despite the salvage efforts, over 365 vessels have used temporary alternate channels since the incident. Commercial and recreational vessels will continue to use these routes during the refloating and salvage operations.

Prior to the demolition, nearly half of the 700-foot-wide channel had been cleared to an operational depth of 48 feet. Officials anticipate that the channel will soon be fully operational, supporting all commercial vessels with a minimum depth of 50 feet within the next few weeks.

Joshua Messick, Executive Director of The Baltimore International Seafarers’ Center, has been in contact with the crew and expects to board the ship once it is moved. The sailors may then receive shore passes with restricted movements.

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As efforts to refloat the Dali and reopen the channel progress, the trapped crew remains hopeful that their ordeal will soon come to an end, allowing them to return home.

Editor: Kemal Can Kayar