large Russian cargo ship collided with a busy highway bridge on the South Korean coast as vehicles traveled along it on Thursday, according to authorities.
The captain—whose name has not been revealed—was allegedly under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
However, the Korea Coast Guard (KCG) said it was not clear whether the captain had actually been steering the nearly 6,000-ton vessel when it bumped into the Gwangan bridge in Busan—the country’s second largest city.
According to the coast guard, the 370 foot-long Seagrand was departing the Port of Busan when it took a wrong turn and collided with the side of the bridge at around 4:20 p.m. local time, albeit at a relatively low speed.
After the collision, the ship reversed direction; however, the coast guard prevented it from leaving and shepherded it back to port so that the crew onboard could be questioned.
The Seagrand had also struck a cruise ship in the port about 40 minutes before the bridge incident, according to authorities.
Tests conducted by the KCG revealed that the Russian captain’s blood alcohol content was 0.086 percent—nearly three times the legal limit of 0.03 percent. A KCG official said that it is not illegal for a captain to consume alcohol onboard the vessel as long as they are not at the helm.
An investigation is now underway to determine whether the captain was actually steering when the Seagrand crashed, as well as why the ship was even traveling toward the 24,000-foot-long, bi-level bridge—South Korea’s second-largest—in the first place, given that it should have been going in the opposite direction, Yonhap reported.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident, reports indicate. However, the crash did tear a small hole in the lower level of the bridge, forcing authorities to close the structure as a safety precaution, The Independent reported. The ship also sustained some minor damage, a video of the incident shows.
The Seagrand arrived in Busan at around 9 a.m. on Wednesday carrying nearly 1,500 tons of iron pipes, which were unloaded at the port. It was then stocked with over 1,400 tons of steel coils bound for Vladivostok—a major city in Russia’s far east that lies on the other side of the Sea of Japan from Busan.
Gwangan bridge, Busan, South Korea