Company that owned ship involved in Baltimore bridge collapse has sought limit on liability payout

A company owned by the ship involved in the Baltimore bridge collapse has sought to limit its liability for the incident, sparking anger online. It remains unclear whether the company, which is headquartered in Singapore, will be held liable for the cost of the bridge reconstruction.

The owner of the ship involved in the Baltimore bridge collapse, Singapore-based company Grace Ocean Private Ltd., has filed a petition to limit its liability for the incident. Court records show the company has sought to cap its liability at approximately $43.6 million dollars. Anger has risen online due to this, with many questioning why the American taxpayer should foot the bill to fix the bridge. It is unclear whether the company will be held liable for the cost of the bridge reconstruction.

On March 26, President Joe Biden stated that the federal government would pay to replace the Baltimore Francis Scott Key Bridge, a project estimated to cost between $400 million to over $1 billion. Biden stated that the company that owned the ship could be held responsible but that action would not be taken yet. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated that any private party found responsible would be held accountable.

It is not uncommon for the federal government to front the bill for disaster costs and later seek reimbursement. The Deepwater Horizon and Exxon Valdez oil spills are two such examples, as well as the case of the East Palestine train derailment. In the case of the Washington highway bridge collapse in May 2013, the Department of Transportation provided the state with emergency funds, requiring the state to seek reimbursement. It is expected that the company owning the ship, Grace Ocean Private Ltd., will face litigation as per the filing. Litigation could take years to settle.

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