Container Ship’s Engine Failure Prompts Closure Of One Of South Carolina’s Busiest Bridges

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In an incident on Wednesday, a huge cargo vessel lost control of its engines and surged through a South Carolina harbour at almost full throttle, resulting in a temporary closure of the Ravenel Bridge, one of the busiest bridges in the state.

Commander Randy Preston confirmed that the vessel, measuring about 1,000 feet in length and moving at speeds close to 20 mph, was guided safely under the bridge by harbour pilots with aid from the US Coast Guard’s Charleston Section.

Authorities’ swift action in clearing the eight-lane bridge of cyclists, traffic, and pedestrians prevented major incidents.

The bridge closure lasted approximately 10 minutes.

Despite Michigan 7’s successful navigation beneath the bridge, its wake caused minor damages by knocking a small boat aground and injuring two individuals.

The vessel, registered in Liberia and was sailing to Savannah, Georgia, from Charleston’s port at the time of the incident.

Commander Preston expressed his concerns over the likelihood of disaster, given the vessel’s inability to control the propulsion.

The incident comes in the wake of an earlier maritime accident where an out-of-control cargo vessel slammed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on March 26 after losing power, resulting in significant damages as well as loss of life.

Yet, the engineers reassured that the Ravenel Bridge’s design could withstand such impacts due to its construction.

Chito Walker, Charleston Police Chief, praised effective communication and rapid response, which enabled public safety during the emergency.

The vessel’s crew members regained control and anchored about 10 miles off the coast.

The Ravenel Bridge, a cable-stayed structure started in 2005, spans the Cooper River with towers soaring 575 feet above the water.

It has been designed to endure wind gusts up to 300 mph, making it resilient against the most severe hurricanes.

The incident underscores the importance of swift emergency responses and effective communication in ensuring public safety during unexpected maritime events.

With nearly 100,000 vehicles crossing daily, the Ravenel Bridge is a crucial artery for the transportation network in South Carolina.

This indicates the need for continuous vigilance and preparedness in maritime and infrastructure security.

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Source: Marine Insight

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