FACT CHECK: Was the Captain of Container Ship Dali That Hit Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge Ukrainian?

A widely circulated claim on social media alleged that a Ukrainian man was steering the Dali cargo vessel at the time of the collision.

Was the captain of the Dali cargo ship that collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on March 24, 2024, of Ukrainian nationality? On Tuesday, the container ship Dali lost power and collided with a support pillar of the Key bridge causing sections of it to collapse into the Patapsco River below.

The collapse of the bridge, which resulted in the death of six construction workers, means the main water route into one of America's busiest ports is now obstructed. In the immediate aftermath, several social media users came up with wild theories and blamed anyone and anything behind the collapse without any concrete proof of the tragedy.

The Ukrainian Link

Francis Scott Key Bridge
The entire Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in no time X

A widely circulated claim on social media alleged that a Ukrainian man was steering the Dali cargo vessel at the time of the collision. However, the claim is completely false as it aimed to implicate Ukraine in the incident.

The alleged evidence cited in numerous viral tweets, including those from accounts known for spreading pro-Kremlin misinformation, originated from balticshipping.com. The website functions as a database for shipping vessels and job listings within the shipping industry.

Ukrainian captain fake
A screenshot of the image and bio of a Ukrainian man who was claimed to be piloting Dali Facebook

Much like LinkedIn, users can post their job experiences in the industry, and potential employers can use this information for hiring purposes.

If users indicate that they served on a specific ship at a specific time, their details will be displayed on Baltic Shipping's dedicated page for that particular vessel.

The claim came with a screenshot that shows two individuals who once listed the Dali in their employment history on the Baltic Shipping website. One of the men, whose profile is no longer visible on Baltic Shipping, was a Ukrainian man who served as the master (or captain) of the Dali almost a decade ago, specifically from March to July 2016.

The Truth

The fact that a Ukrainian man briefly served as the captain of the Dali in 2016 is completely irrelevant to the collapse of the Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday. Moreover, the corporate owner of the Dali, Synergy Marine Group, has confirmed that the crew aboard the ship at the time of the incident consisted entirely of Indian citizens.

Francis Scott Key Bridge
An explosion was seen on the container ship before it crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge bridge X

Moreover, it's important to note that regardless of who held the position of captain on the Dali on March 26, a Port of Baltimore employee was piloting the ship at the time of the collision.

By law, ships involved in foreign trade must be navigated into the Port of Baltimore by a pilot employed by the State of Maryland, as outlined on the Maryland Pilots Association website: Each ship engaged in foreign trade coming to Maryland ports is required to take on a local ship handling specialist, known as the Pilot, to navigate the vessel safely into port. Pilots are regulated by the State of Maryland under the Department of Labor, State Board of Pilots.

The State Board of Pilots oversees the selection, training, licensing, and regulation of all State Pilots. The rates and charges for the service the Pilots provide are established by the Maryland Public Service Commission. Maryland's Pilots are on call around the clock every day of the year no matter what the weather conditions may be.

Francis Scott Key Bridge
The moment Francis Scott Key Bridge collapses sending dozens of cars into frigid waters X

Given that Dali was being piloted by a Maryland and the entire crew was India, the claim is completely false and baseless.

Related topics : Fake news