Out-of-control cargo ship sparks collision fears as US bridge is shut

A large cargo ship lost control of its engines and went nearly full throttle through a South Carolina harbour prompting the closure of one of the busiest bridges in the state.

Harbour pilots were able to help the nearly 1,000ft (300m) long ship, which was going almost 20 mph (32 kph), get under the Ravenel Bridge safely and eventually anchor several miles offshore.

The US Coast Guard is now investigating the incident that happened on Wednesday.

As the drama unfolded, police cleared traffic, cyclists and pedestrians from the eight-lane bridge before the ship arrived.

It was kept evacuated for 10 minutes as the Michigan 7 steamed underneath, authorities said.

The only damage was caused by the ship’s wake, which knocked aground a small boat and caused minor injuries to two people.

The vessel is registered in Liberia to Mediterranean Shipping Company.

More on South Carolina

It comes just over two months after an out-of-control cargo ship smashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore after losing power.

Pic: Reuters
Aerial view of the Dali cargo vessel which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing it to collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., March 26, 2024. Maryland National Guard/Handout via REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY
Aerial view of the Dali cargo vessel which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Pic: Reuters

The incident on 26 March destroyed the bridge and killed six construction workers.

Engineers said the Ravenel Bridge was designed differently and could withstand a similar blow.

The cable-stayed structure, which opened in 2005, stands 186ft (57m) above the Cooper River.

Its towers are 575ft (175m) above the water, and engineers claim it is designed to withstand wind gusts of up to 300mph (483kph) – stronger than any hurricane in recorded history.

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