About 0730 on February 10, 2007, the Bahamas-registered tankship M/V Kition, carrying a load of carbon black (a petroleum product), moved away from its berth at the Apex Oil terminal on the right descending (west) bank of the Mississippi River just upriver of the Interstate Highway 10 bridge at Baton Rouge. A Louisiana state pilot was navigating. The pilot used three tugs, one pulling on the bow and two pushing on the stern, to turn the vessel from the dock for a planned trip downriver.
When the nearly 800-foot-long vessel was approximately parallel to the bridge, the second officer on the bow warned that the bow appeared about to hit the bridge pier. The master and pilot both ordered the engine to full astern, but about 3 minutes later, the Kition’s underwater hull (bulbous bow) struck the fender system around the pier. The fender system began to collapse, and the tug at the bow let go of its line and backed clear. Moments later, the bulwark on the starboard bow of the Kition struck the bridge pier, knocking out a 2- to 3-foot section of concrete. The accident caused an estimated $8 million in damage to the bridge. The Kition sustained hull damage estimated at $726,500. No one was injured and there was no pollution.