The Dali cargo ship leaves Baltimore for Virginia as 8 crew members stuck on board for months are finally home

Eight of the 21 crew members from the cargo ship that struck and destroyed a famed Baltimore bridge are back home Monday after myriad complications kept them confined on board for months.

Two other crew members have also been cleared to return overseas, a spokesperson for the ship’s manager said.

The news came as the Dali cargo vessel started its journey Monday from Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal to Norfolk, Virginia, to undergo repairs, said Darrell Wilson, spokesperson for ship manager Synergy Marine.

Four crew members stayed on the ship to assist a relief crew during the Dali’s voyage to Norfolk, Wilson said. After the journey is complete, they will join the seven remaining crew members, who must stay in the US indefinitely.

The Dali’s crew members, including 20 from India and one from Sri Lanka, had been stuck on the Dali since March 26. During the frigid predawn hours, the 984-foot ship lost power, veered off course and destroyed the Francis Scott Key Bridge, killing six construction workers.

While none of the crew members have been charged in connection with the disaster, investigations are underway to determine who might be responsible.

The ship’s officers are among the 11 crew members who must stay in the US, Wilson said. They have been cooperating with authorities, but it is unclear when they will get to leave.

The seamen who will remain in the US are expected to stay in hotels or apartments, said the Rev. Joshua Messick, director of the Baltimore International Seafarers’ Center and chaplain for the Port of Baltimore.

“They’re anxious, under considerable stress, considering they don’t know what the future holds,” Messick told CNN Thursday. “They don’t know when they’ll see their family again or how they’ll be treated here.”

As for the 106,000-ton vessel, “The Dali is scheduled to transit directly to Virginia International Gateway to have roughly 1,500 cargo containers offloaded to reduce draft,” the US Coast Guard said in a statement Monday morning.

“The vessel is then scheduled to transit further to Norfolk International Terminal, where it is slated to undergo continued salvage and repairs from damage caused during the bridge collapse.”

While repair efforts continue, new details have emerged in a federal probe into what caused the deadly disaster.

Investigators have zeroed in on a piece of the Dali’s electrical system, which failed moments before the ship crashed into the bridge, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a Monday update.

The update follows a preliminary report published last month, which said two circuit breakers on the Dali tripped, triggering a nearly ship-wide electrical blackout about three ships’ lengths from the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

On Monday, the NTSB said investigators have finished testing electrical components on board and have removed a wire connector known as a terminal block for further testing at the NTSB lab in Washington, DC.

Investigators have found an “interruption in the control circuit” in one breaker’s undervoltage release, which would cause it to trip when voltage falls below predetermined thresholds, the NTSB said Monday.

The NTSB’s update is not final, and the agency has not found a probable cause of the crash, which could take months to determine.

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