A federal judge in Baltimore has issued a restraining order requiring claims against the container ship that ran into the Francis Scott Key Bridge to be filed in a single case.

The move comes at the request of the owner and manager of the 9,962-teu Dali (built 2015), which slammed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge on 26 March causing it to crumple into the Patapsco River.

Chief judge James Bredar, of the US District Court for the District of Maryland, set the deadline of 24 September for claims.

The decision came hours after the Dali’s owner, Grace Ocean, and manager, Synergy Marine, lodged a petition in the court seeking to cap liability exposure at nearly $43.7m. The figure is a provisional estimate that the companies’ lawyers plan to update.

Bredar has approved the provisional cap, although he also opened the door for claimants to challenge the figure.

The companies also denied blame for the incident, as TradeWinds reported on Monday.

The limitation of liability proceeding was widely expected, as US law shields shipowners from facing claims above the post-casualty value of the vessel plus pending freight payments.

Grace Ocean and Synergy Marine are represented by lawyers from US firms Duane Morris, Blank Rome and Seward & Kissel.

As TradeWinds reported earlier on Tuesday, US authorities have opened a temporary channel to allow vessels to pass the wreckage of the bridge, which has blocked shipping traffic, but it is only deep enough to allow tugs and barges.

The unified command responding to the incident is working to open a deeper channel for deeper-draught vessels in the days to come.