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Baltimore-based Apostleship of the Sea talks Dali crew as ship re-floating nears

Posted at 9:52 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 23:17:32-04

DUNDALK, Md. — Right now, more than twenty crew members are waiting aboard the Dali, the massive cargo ship that took down the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

This week, she may be re-floated, and after a month and a half, the ship and its crew members may finally be free from the bridge wreckage.

"It's been different, having to serve someone you can't really see," said Andrew Middleton, director of the Apostleship of the Sea, whose offices are in Dundalk, not far away from the bridge collapse.

The organization helps seafarers with supplies and religious needs.

Middleton last spoke with the crew a few weeks ago and has heard updates from the ship's management company since.

READ MORE: "I was just with those guys yesterday": Seafarer ministry helping crew stuck on Dali

Middleton said the crew will likely want to be able to communicate better with their families; the FBI seized the crew's phones.

"I know that they have some temporary phones on board now," Middleton said, "and one of the issues was they, like almost everyone these days, their numbers, their contacts were programmed into their phone, and now they had to struggle to find numbers so they can call back the family."

Middleton's organization will do its best to help the crew members reach family, many of whom are in South Asia, and with whatever else the crew members would need. It's tough to know what specifically they'll need, he said, until the crew is back.

For now, that crew will wait as officials use controlled explosions to blow more debris off the Dali.

RELATED: What the controlled demolition of the Key Bridge will look & sound like

"Depending on how shore leave works, we can take them shopping. I'm sure they'll all, at this point, want to get off the ships for a few hours, stretch their legs, and see something other than two sides of the river," Middleton added.

Middleton hopes folks continue their prayers for the crew of the Dali and the families of the six construction workers. This week, the sixth and final victim, José López, was found.

As for the port itself, Middleton expects his work with Dali's crew and other crews to ramp up as normal traffic picks back up.

Officials still hope to have the full federal channel open by the end of this month.