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Ship exporting US toxic waste to Sri Lanka crashes Baltimore Bridge: Report

1 April 2024 12:01 am - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The Dali cargo vessel crashed into the Baltimore Bridge on March 26


The ship is being analysed to determine what was aboard its other 4,644 containers


The Singapore cargo ship Dali chartered by Maersk, which collapsed the Baltimore, US bridge on March 26, was carrying 764 tons of hazardous materials to Sri Lanka–mostly corrosives, flammables, miscellaneous hazardous materials, and Class-9 hazardous materials, including explosives and lithium-ion batteries–in 56 containers. So says the US National Transportation Safety Board, still ‘analysing the ship’s manifest to determine what was onboard’ in its other 4,644 containers.

The e-Con e-News (ee) reports that prior to Baltimore, the Dali called at New York and Norfolk, Virginia, which has the world’s largest naval base. Colombo was to be its next scheduled call, going around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, taking 27 days, scheduled to land just after our New Year.
According to ee, Denmark’s Maersk, transporter for the US Department of War, is integral to US military logistics, carrying up to 20% of the world’s merchandise trade annually on a fleet of about 600 vessels, including some of the world’s largest ships.


The US National Transportation Safety Board has reported that the ship had been carrying 764 tons of hazardous materials including explosives to SL in 56 containers


The US Department of Homeland Security has also now deemed the waters near the crash site as ‘unsafe for divers’. An ‘unclassified memo’ from the US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) says a US Coast Guard team is examining 13 damaged containers, ‘some with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention [CDC] and/or hazardous materials [HAZMAT] contents. The team is also analysing the ship’s manifest to determine if any materials could pose a health risk’. CISA says, officials are also monitoring about 1.8 million gallons of fuel inside Dali for its ‘spill potential’.

The ship had a total of 4,700 containers onboard. Who exactly the toxic materials and fuel were destined for in Sri Lanka is not being reported. Also, it is a rather long way for such Hazmat, let alone fuel, to be exported, at least given all the media blather about ‘carbon footprint’, ‘green sustainability’ etc. We can expect only squeaky silence from the usual eco-freaks, who are heavily funded by the US and EU. It also adds to the intrigue of how Sri Lanka was so easily blocked in 2022 from receiving more neighbourly fuel, etc., which led to the present ‘regime change’ machinations.


According to ee, who exactly the toxic materials and fuel were destined for in Sri Lanka is unclear

ee has analysed dozens of news stories on the Baltimore crash. No reports in the Sri Lanka media highlight the hazardous materials being carried on the ship. No media reports about who is exporting such toxic waste to Sri Lanka, and who is importing. Instead the US media is attempting to divert attention from Maersk’s involvement. Then again, the media dare not criticise the colonial import-export plantation oligarchy. Yet, there was endless media outragification at alleged contamination in a Chinese ship bringing organic fertiliser to Sri Lanka in May 2021–outrage promoted by English chemical importers to Sri Lanka like ICI-CIC!

According to ee, Maersk’s business partner in Colombo, South Asia Gateway Terminal Ltd. is owned by colonial conglomerate John Keells. Last November 2023, the US International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) promised a $553 million investment in the Adani Ports-led West Container Terminal port project in Colombo, to be jointly developed with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and John Keells.

This week saw the US State Department training SL Ports Authority senior staff. In February, Maersk Managing Director Biju Ravi called for Colombo ‘to up its game in terms of swift cargo clearance to increase its transhipment business’! Due to the US and its allies waging wars on West Asia and East Africa, Sri Lanka has become an even more important transit for shipping. The more expensive and longer diversions are blamed by the white media on Yemen–which by ‘international law’–controls access through the Red Sea, and Somalia which has Africa’s largest coastline, and could control eastern access to the large continent.


The bridge is a ‘designated hazmat route’ for US trucks carrying hazardous materials

Maersk also links to Israeli carrier Zim’s ZBA Service through its 2M Alliance with Italy’s Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), sharing 185 vessels deployed on their Asia-Europe, trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic trades. Singapore-flagged Dali is deployed on Maersk’s Asia-US east coast TP12 loop and MSC’s Empire Service.

US media are also diverting attention from Dali’s cargo by insinuating that dirty fuel may have played a role in the ship losing power and hitting Francis Scott Key Bridge, closing the USA’s 5th-busiest East Coast container port. The bridge is named after the composer of the US National Anthem, ‘Star-Spangled Banner’, which begins ‘O say, can you see…’ It is unclear, however, given the massive costs involved, O say, who is allowed to see what!?


US Department of Homeland Security has also deemed the waters near the crash site as ‘unsafe for divers’

ee states that it is more unclear which Maersk-linked US companies export toxic materials to Sri Lanka. Maersk’s Biju, who wishes ‘swift clearance’, was speaking at an Indian Ocean Strategic Research Centre (IOSRC) collaboration on February 1, to ‘address ensuing challenges and opportunities evolving in the maritime region of the Indian Ocean’. The ‘collaboration’ also included Harikrishshan Sundaram (CEO Colombo West International Terminal), Fredrik Haag (International Maritime Organisation/IMO Head of London Convention, Protocol & Ocean Affairs), Chevaan Daniel (Executive Group Director Capital Maharaja Group), and Ruchira Cumaratunga (Professor of Microbiology, Founding Dean, Faculty of Fisheries & Marine Science & Technology).

US trucks carrying Hazmat use this Baltimore bridge, designated as a ‘designated hazmat route’. Meanwhile, US media were also blaming the Baltimore Bridge collapse on a foreign cyber-attack causing the ship to suddenly change course to hit the bridge. Other US media blame ‘immigration’ for the ship’s totally ‘Hindu’ crew, even as it was Baltimore pilots who operate within the harbour. Yet, Asians are used on ships carrying toxic materials over long voyages.


With wars in West Asia and East Africa, Sri Lanka has become an even more important transit for shipping

However, the 6 workers killed beneath the collapsing metal, part of a construction crew fixing potholes on the bridge were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador employed by US construction company Brawner Builders. The Dali distress signal provided enough time for traffic to be stopped entering the bridge. However, this road repair crew had to remain on the bridge and was not evacuated.

Meanwhile, US politicians in both major parties are ramping up rhetoric against migrants, often fleeing economic and political instability caused by US government action, and encouraged by US industrial recruiting agencies. US President Biden’s recent State of the Union address, included an anti-migrant rant, lamenting the “thousands of people being killed by illegals.”  However, undocumented immigrants are less likely to engage in violent crime than US residents. Baltimore also made other headlines this week as its new $1billion jail for Africans and non-Anglo Americans will be Maryland’s ‘most expensive state-funded project in history’

Bloomberg Intelligence says, Maersk may not be liable as the Danish company had no crew onboard and the ship was operated by a charter company. ‘Maritime insurance will likely cover some of the costs, yet uncertainty around the total liabilities and who will pay for them will likely weigh on Maersk’s spreads in the near term.’


According to ee, ‘the extremely opaque nature of global ship-owning makes finding the ultimate owners and holding them accountable for any violations difficult’

The New York Times adds: ‘Ship ownership structures’ are ‘designed to maximize opacity and minimize accountability. 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 extremely opaque nature of global ship-owning makes finding the ultimate owners and holding them accountable for any violations difficult. Shipping is the Wild West from a compliance and accountability perspective. And when compliance & accountability aren’t priorities, issues like environmental standards, labour practices and health and safety often aren’t either.’

The ship is insured by the Britannia Protection & Indemnity Club, a mutual insurance association, owned by shipping companies. Protection & Indemnity (P&I) clubs are mutual insurance organizations that insure & pool liability for the global shipping industry. About 90% of the world’s ocean-bound cargo is insured by an arm of these International Group of Protection & Indemnity Clubs, which oversee the 12 major mutual insurance associations for ship owners. These International Group of P&I Associations will be hit the hardest, with the group having significant reinsurance coverage, led by US-owned AXA XL. 
The ship’s namesake artist, the fascist Salvador Dali, would have been inspired by this truly surreal example of real capitalist ‘globalisation’.
Courtesy: e-Con e-News (

  Comments - 4

  • Shera Tuesday, 02 April 2024 08:28 AM

    US did not export it but someone in Sri Lanka imported the toxic waste. These kinds of headlines do not hold unscrupulous Lankans from taking accountability for their actions and always pin the blame on the west.

    Dirty Sri Lanka Tuesday, 02 April 2024 06:35 PM

    With your trash fires, litter strewn beaches and roads I doubt very much that some imported toxic waste will make much difference.

    Valius Wednesday, 03 April 2024 03:31 PM

    And where is the Bassel convention? If Sri Lanka does not accept toxic waste, then its destination is the ocean floor

    BANDARA Sunday, 07 April 2024 01:53 PM


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