Cargo ship that hit Baltimore bridge was involved in Antwerp collision in 2016

The same vessel that hit the Baltimore Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday, destroying it and sending people and vehicles tumbling into the water, was also involved in a collision while leaving the port of Antwerp, Belgium, in 2016.

According to Vessel Finder and the maritime incident archive Shipwrecklog, the Dali – a 948ft (290-meter) cargo ship with a capacity of 10,000 containers – was leaving the container terminal of Antwerp heading to Bremerhaven.

Related: Baltimore bridge collapse: what we know about the bridge, ship and port

As it did so, its bow reportedly swung around, causing the stern to scrape the side of the quay, significantly damaging several meters of the hull.

The ship was reportedly detained by authorities afterward and docked in Deurganckdok, Belgium. There were reportedly no injuries or adverse pollution.

According to Vessel Finder, the weather was fine at the time, and the incident was reportedly blamed on the ship’s master and pilot on board.

A ship flying a flag of convenience means the owner has registered the vessel in a country other than their own. The ship flies the ensign or flag of that country, known as the flag state and operates under its laws, typically laxer than the owner’s own.

For a ship owner, the advantage of this arrangement includes comparatively fewer regulations, lower employment requirements, and thus cheaper labour, cheaper registration fees and lower or no taxes.

For crew members, the disadvantages tend towards lower working standards, fewer rights and little protection. They are opposed by the International Transport Workers' Federation.

Panama, which has the largest ship registry globally, followed by Liberia, operates an “open registry”, allowing foreign owners to register ships under its flag. It guarantees anonymity to the owners, making it difficult for them to be held to account.

The practice began in the 1920s in the US, when owners of cruise ships registered their vessels in Panama so that they could serve their passengers alcohol during Prohibition.

Karen McVeigh, senior reporter

It is unclear what crew were aboard the ship. Vessel Finder said at the time that the ship, which was built in South Korea in 2015 by Hyundai Heavy Industries, was owned by the Greek company Oceanbulk Maritime but was chartered by Maersk.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) confirmed on Tuesday that the Dali was registered in Singapore and had 22 crew on board, with Maersk adding in a statement that the crew were all Indian but none of them were Maersk crew or personnel. It said the ship was operated by the charter vessel company Synergy Group.

Maersk has been approached for comment.

About 2.6km (1.6 miles) of the Baltimore bridge collapsed on Tuesday when the Dali crashed into it, causing a number of vehicles to fall into the Patapsco River below. At least seven people were being searched for with two rescued, including one in critical condition, officials said on Tuesday at a pre-dawn press conference.