On the Key Bridge Tragedy

US-flagged container ships have two generators running from port, to provide all power needed for all systems, until the ship reaches the open ocean. Foreign-crewed ships (like the Dali) usually shutdown their second generator as soon as possible, and that decision is not made by the pilot, it’s the engineer’s decision, based on the Captain’s or carrier’s safety policy.

The NTSB investigation report is a long way off, but I’ll speculate that an engineer either shutdown the wrong generator… or the second generator was shutdown before it should have been, so the Dali lost power. Note that the engineer has a big financial incentive to shutdown the second generator as early as possible, because the generators are costly to run, they use a lot of fuel, and the engineer is evaluated based upon a Key Performance Index (KPI). That is, noting that the KPI bonuses are significant when compared to the crew member’s measly salary; but the foregoing would also depend on the Captain’s policy for the ship

This means that shutting down one generator too early, when two generators were required for power out of port in an ebb tide, could thus take out the Dali’s power. Often the third generator (or backup) is not functional, because it’s under maintenance or for repairs, so the main engine then shuts down. On the Dali, essential system power resumed when the EDG automatically started (after about 45 seconds) then black smoke appeared, which came — most likely — from the engineer’s re-start of the main engine.

Based on the direction of the wind (smoke) and the ebb tide charts from the side channel, when the rudder lost power, the ship would then turn with the tide and push the stern to port, interacting with wind direction causing the bow to turn to starboard. It could be too that the engineer switched the props to reverse wash while re-starting the engine, to try and “stop” the ship. Which actually would  cause the ship to turn to starboard (right). Anyway, all that happened very quickly. Bottom line, they needed more time. If they had more time — and had not been so close to the pylon — the backup measures would have worked. But there was very little time.

Yes, I absolutely love my conspiracy theories, but there must be some evidence, and some theory that must make sense. Not China, not Russia, not Iran, and not the Houthi’s — not even the Evil Empire itself, arranged for this tragedy to happen.

Going forward, you can be sure that new US harbor regulations will apply (sorry, Libertarians) for container ships, and will require a tug beyond bridge pylons, where applicable. Also, the ‘dolphiins’ built to ‘protect’ the approach to the bridge were probably adequate when the bridge was built, and when container ships were much smaller. But over the past four decades, ship tonnage has grown enormously.  As such, Baltimore has profited greatly from this increased business in tonnage, but Baltimore failed to upgrade and protect the bridge by installing much larger dolphins, that could have kept the Dali away from the bridge supports.

Linked here is an example of a needed infrastructure upgrade, and guess where this $93M US upgrade is happening? In Delaware, Genocidal Joe’s corrupt home state:


Well, what do you know.

Finally, I understand that the Captain of the Dali was Ukrainian. Even though the captain was not piloting this ship out of port, the captain has much influence on how the ship operates. I used to work with a crew of Ukrainian guys and we had a lot​ of fun, and were quite the ticket at the E-Bar (Elephant Bar) on a Friday after work. I liked them all enormously (except their boss) and have nothing against them. I would only note that shutting down the second generator as soon as possible (hopefully not too early) is absolutely in character with the crew I worked with… Anecdotal, I know.

Anyway, it is not my intent to blame the crew. And we still do not have the NTSB results. If it is true that a generator was shutdown too early, leading to the Dali’s power outage, then we should address the driving motive behind that shutdown, and not blame the crew.

Another sad element, is that the Rulers of the Planet in the west have conditioned us all and reduced us all (or almost all) to a point where we believe that every major tragedy that occurs is a criminal conspiracy, fomented by some Oligarch or some government somewhere. Perhaps that is the result, when we are ruled by criminals and Oligarchs, especially in the collective west.

Steve Brown


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *