Sunshine Bridge reopens after getting hit by tanker ship; investigation underway

Updated: Jun. 16, 2019 at 10:24 PM CDT
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DONALDSONVILLE, La. (WAFB) - The Sunshine Bridge is now open after a ship hit it Sunday afternoon, forcing its closure, according to authorities, and an investigation is underway into the incident.

The bridge reopened around 3:30 p.m.

The US Coast Guard confirmed the bridge was hit by the tanker ship, Dank Silver, around 1:30 p.m. The Coast Guard and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) shut down the bridge until it could be inspected.

Rodney Mallett, the spokesman for DOTD, said the ship hit the “fender system that protects the bridge.” He added crews immediately went out to inspect it and determined there was no structural damage to the bridge.

The Coast Guard reported the ship is owned by Dank Silver Maritime Transportation Company Limited. Officials said it was heading down-bound from Burnside and is currently being held at Grande View Anchorage while it is checked for damages.

Coast Guard officials added there have been no reported injuries or pollution. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

The bridge was fully closed for a few months after getting hit on Oct. 12, 2018 by a barge carrying a crane.

According to Mallet, there was a big difference in what happened back in October because then, it was a large crane that was over-height that did damage to the substructure. He explained that with the latest crash, the vessel only struck the fender system that protects the piers from boat traffic. He praised the fender system for “doing what it’s supposed to do” to protect the piers.

He said people might be surprised at the number of vessels that pass through the area on a daily basis and how often bridges across the state actually take a hit. He added the structures are designed to take those kinds of strikes. He also said it doesn’t happen a lot, but it’s “not uncommon.”

Mallet encourages everyone to check for the latest traffic information at any time.

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