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Chaos on the Don River: Russian Cargo Ship Smashes Vital Crimean Rail Bridge

Earlier this week, Russian cargo ship Zelenga struck a railway bridge on the Don River, in the city of Rostov-on-Don.

Russian authorities noted that the vessel had issues with steering and it collided with the bridge when crossing underneath it. The central part of the bridge was raised, according to photos and video. When the vessel veered off course due to the serious malfunction, it struck a section of the bridge and caused significant damage.

Thankfully, at the time of the incident, there were no trains on the bridge or scheduled to be on the bridge. So, no one was killed or injured.

The bridge is significant due to its positioning in Russia compared to Ukraine.

The bridge at Rostov-on-Don is located next to Crimea, the part of Ukraine that Russia claims is Russian territory and has been in disputed status since 2014. The bridge has been used for the transfer of supplies and weapons into Crimea. Russian soldiers occupying Crimea have used the bridge to re-supply goods throughout the war effort.

The bridge is 12-miles long and includes four lanes and two railroad tracks. Since 2014, it has been synonymous with Russian supremacy in Crimea, so the collision there is of great concern to Russia.

Who operated the vessel Zelenga?

The vessel Zelenga is currently owned by The Volga Shipping Company. The vessel, sailing with a Russian flag, was built in Germany almost 50 years ago. The ship is 269 feet long. During this voyage, the route was departure from Azov in Russia to Rostov-on-Don.

Of course, like the Baltimore bridge collapse two months ago, this latest collision involving a shipping vessel brings the topic of maritime safety and infrastructure to the forefront as 2024 progresses. Shippers are concerned about the fragility of supply chains and argue that governments and private companies must do more to safeguard maritime infrastructure.

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