Busan bridge to undergo repairs

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Busan bridge to undergo repairs

It will take a month to repair the Gwangan Bridge in Busan, which was damaged by a Russian cargo ship last week, the Busan Metropolitan Government said Sunday.

Safety inspections on the damaged highway bridge will begin Monday to assess the damage caused by Thursday’s collision, according to the city government. The 5,998-ton Russian freighter Seagrand smashed into the bridge, damaging the steel structure of its lower deck.

The Korean Society of Civil Engineers, Korea Infrastructure Safety and Technology Corporation and the Busan Infrastructure Corporation will engage in a month-long safety checkup and construction work to repair the bridge.

On Friday, the city conducted repairs on the bridge to prevent further cracks and a secondary inspection occurred on Saturday. At 10 p.m. on Saturday, the city lifted its ban on cars crossing the bridge that went into effect immediately after the accident.

The Seagrand, which departed from Busan’s Yonghoman Bay, smashed into Gwangan Bridge’s lower deck around 4:20 p.m. on Thursday. When it left the bay, the freighter also smashed into two yachts and one barge, injuring three people on the ships.

The Coast Guard requested a warrant on Saturday for the arrest of the Russian captain on charges of Maritime Safety Law violations and injuring others with negligence. The Coast Guard said the captain may face drunk sailing charges, despite the fact that a helmsman was steering the vessel at the time of the accident.

The captain, who was arrested after the accident, had a blood alcohol level of 0.086 percent. The legal limit is 0.03 percent.

The Coast Guard reported that the captain insists that he drank after the crash and does not know why the collision occurred. A warrant hearing took place at Busan District Court on Sunday, but a result was not released as of press time.

BY HWANG SEON-YOON, JUNG MYUNG-SUK [jung.myungsuk@joongang.co.kr]

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