Cape Cod bridge grazed by cruise ship

The US Army Corps of Engineers visually inspected the three bridges on the Cape Cod Canal Friday morning after a cruise ship scraped one of the structures on Wednesday night.

At 7:08 p.m. Wednesday, an aluminum light pole on the Viking Star, a cruise ship traveling south, scraped the bottom of the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge near Buzzards Bay, said Tim Dugan, spokesman for the US Army Corps of Engineers New England District.

Dugan said the bridges have a clearance of 135 feet and the cruise ship’s highest point is listed at 131 feet.


Dugan said it appeared the ship had approached the bridge close to peak high tide at 6:32 p.m., but that had little effect on the bridge clearance.

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The Corps of Engineers is investigating the incident, Dugan said.

Dugan said one possible explanation is that the light pole may be taller than the listed height of the ship. He added that the situation could have been avoided if the pole had been folded down as it is designed to be.

There were no noticeable issues or damage Wednesday night, except some paint that had been scraped off, Dugan said.

The bridge, a vertical lift bridge in which a span rises to let ships through while remaining horizontal, is fully operational.


Canal staff also inspected the bridge Thursday morning and did not find any problems, Dugan said.

Dugan said the Corps inspected the Bourne and Sagamore bridges and found no damage Friday.

An additional inspection is expected in the coming days to make sure nothing was missed Friday, Dugan said.

Olivia Quintana can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @oliviasquintana.