The 6,000 tonne Seagrand collided with the side of the Gwangan Bridge in Busan as rush hour traffic travelled along the busy highway.
Video footage caught the moment the ship left a gaping five-metre wide hole in the lower part of the two-decked bridge.
According to reports from Russia the coastguard questioned the crew on board and discovered the ship’s captain was over the limit.
While it is not illegal for a person to down booze on board a merchant ship they cannot be in charge of the controls at the same time.
The coastguard said it is not yet clear if the captain had been at the helm when the huge vessel smashed into the bridge.
KCG officials said the captain's blood alcohol level was 0.086 per cent – almost three times the legal limit of 0.03 per cent.
According to local news agency Yonhap, the mighty Seagrand also hit a moored cruise ship just 40 minutes before the bridge smash.
The ship is believed to have arrived in Busan, South Korea’s largest port, at about 9am on Wednesday and unloaded 1,495 tons of iron pipes.
It crashed as it set sail for Vladivostok, in Russia, the following day with a load of steel coils.
No injuries were reported following the collision, but a section of the bridge was closed off for a safety inspection.
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