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LOUISVILLE, KY. (AP/WDRB) -- The owners of the cargo ship that struck a Kentucky Lake bridge, bringing down part of it, say they are not responsible for the nighttime collision that took out part of the span because some of the bridge's lights were not working.
Foss Maritime, which owns the Delta Mariner, made the claim in a federal lawsuit seeking to exonerate itself from any liability from the Jan. 26 collision which collapsed a 322-foot section of the bridge onto the vessel's deck and into the lake. The missing span halted traffic on U.S. 68 between the western shore of the lake and the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Coast Guard in Paducah, Lt. Jennifer Jessee, says all aspects of the wreck are being reviewed and no cause has been determined.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear got a look at the bridge on Wednesday and said getting traffic restored across Kentucky Lake is among his highest priorities. "We are keenly aware of the inconvenience for travelers and the economic hardship that has been created for many business owners because of the sudden loss of this route across Kentucky Lake," Gov. Beshear said. "Our engineers are working non-stop on plans to get traffic safely restored."
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said Tuesday the Delta Mariner had arrived at the James Marine drydock in Paducah, where it will be repaired. The shipyard is on the Tennessee River, just upstream from the Ohio River.
The ship struck the Eggner's Ferry Bridge on Jan. 26, Most of the visible damage to the ship was to handrails and deck machinery. A U.S Coast Guard spokeswoman said it must pass inspection after repairs before resuming a trip to Cape Canaveral, Fla., with rocket parts for NASA and the U.S. Air Force.
Foss Maritime put the value of the boat at $13 million.