Chemical accident on Rhine river continues to block shipping

13 January 2011 17:36  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--German authorities continue to block shipments of chemicals and other commodities on the Rhine river near Koblenz, northwest of Wiesbaden, after a ship carrying 2,378 tonnes of sulphuric acid capsized early on Thursday, an official said.

Florian Krekel, spokesman for shipping authority Wasser- und Schifffahrtsamt Bingen, told ICIS it remained unclear when shipping could be resumed, as the severity of the accident and high water levels on the river made salvage efforts difficult.

He added that regardless of the accident, the shipping authority expected to block the Rhine from 15 January for all shipping near Koblenz due to rising water levels.

Two of the ship’s crew of four people remained missing, and the probability of finding them alive was now “near zero”, he said. The accident occurred at around 05:00 local time (04:00 GMT).

The two workers who were rescued had been hospitalised with hypothermia, Krekel said.

The ship, which was en route from BASF’s chemicals production hub in Ludwigshafen to Antwerp, Belgium, was not leaking any sulphuric acid, he said.

The cause of the accident was not yet known.

The Rhine is an important European shipping route for chemicals and other commodities, including minerals, coal and oil products.

For more on BASF visit ICIS company intelligence
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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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