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Indian Crew of Ill-fated Cargo Ship Hailed as Heroes for Saving Lives, But Face Racist Trolls on Social Media

Indian Crew of Ill-fated Cargo Ship Hailed as Heroes for Saving Lives, But Face Racist Trolls on Social Media

  • Insensitive cartoons, memes and posts blamed them for the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland.

Despite being praised by President Biden and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore for their quick-thinking and sending a lives-saving Mayday call, the Indian crew of the Dali cargo ship has been subjected to a slew of disgusting racist posts on social media. 

The Singapore-flagged 985-foot container ship was headed from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was being piloted out of Baltimore when it struck into one of the pillars of the Francis Scott Key Bridge causing its collapse on March 26 morning. The Dali suffered “a power issue,” and and sent a distress call moments before the crash.

Biden said that the crew “undoubtedly saved lives” by swiftly alerting transportation officials about losing control of the container ship, resulting in closing the bridge on time. Governor Moore called the crew “heroes” who “saved lives last night.”

The entire 22-member crew of the cargo ship is Indian, but it is not clear if the two pilots are also Indian. The Synergy Marine Group — which manages the ship — told the Associated Press that the two pilots were U.S. citizens. All the crew members are safe, the company added. 

Both the FBI and U.S. Attorney Erek Barron, Maryland’s top prosecutor, have said there are no signs of terrorism, according to the AP. But that didn’t stop the racially motivated posts blaming the crew for the collapse of the bridge. Some posts referred to the Indian crew as Pajeet, a racist slur sued to refer to Indians. 

A racially insensitive cartoon produced by Foxford Comics shows the Indian crew members wearing dhotis and standing inside the ship’s control room amid murky water. They appear shocked as the ship approaches the bridge ahead of collision.

A user named ‘Tired Meme Clown’ wondered “Why is it so hard for Indians to take a joke? Do they not understand that by reacting the way they’ve been to these memes all day it only encourages us to make fun of them more?”

Another user posted if the captain of the Dali was “ too high on cow dung to steer the ship?

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