In Brief

Russia ship with ‘drunk’ captain crashes into South Korea motorway bridge

Captain was over legal alcohol limit but it is not clear if he was steering vessel

A Russian cargo with an allegedly drunk captain ploughed into the side of a motorway bridge in South Korea as cars drove along it.

According to the South Korean Yonhap News Agency, the 370-foot Seagrand had arrived in Busan on Wednesday and set out for its home port of Vladivostok, Russia carrying nearly three million pounds of steel coils when the accident occurred.

Video footage caught the moment the 6,000-ton vessel inexplicably crashed into the side of Gwangan Bridge. The map shows it should have sailed north along the coast before making its way across the eastern edge of the Sea of Japan.

The Korean Coast Guard (KCG) who were tracking regular ship traffic saw the deviation and radioed the ship to turn around, but Korean media reports said the captain appeared neither to speak nor understand English well enough to respond.

A gaping five-metre wide hole was torn into the lower part of the bi-level bridge, according to Russian news website RBC, but there were no injuries reported.

Following the collision the boat tried to make a quick getaway upstream but a squad of four patrol boats from the KCG quickly intercepted the damaged ship and forced it back into port.

The KCG “questioned the crew on board and discovered the ship’s Russian captain was allegedly over the legal alcohol limit for driving the vessel”, says The Independent.

Though it's unclear whether the ship’s captain was actually at the controls of the Seagrand at the time of the accident, the unnamed captain “was still arrested on charges of sailing under the influence, as the vessel's direction and safety are ultimately his responsibilities”, says automotive news site The Drive.

According to Yonhap News Agency, authorities reported the Seagrand had also hit a cruise ship moored at the same port about 40 minutes before bumping into the bridge.

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