Rhine shipping disrupted at least until 17 January

14 January 2011 09:22  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The section of the Rhine between Koblenz and Bingen in Germany will be closed for traffic at least until 17 January because of high water levels and the continuing investigation and rescue efforts after a ship carrying 2,378 tonnes of sulphuric acid capsized, an official said on Friday.

Florian Krekel, spokesman for shipping authority Wasser- und Schifffahrtsamt Bingen, said experts arrived at the scene of the accident late on Thursday, and would decide on which measures to take this morning.

He said high water levels, which were caused by a sudden drop in temperature, were expected to fall again over the weekend and that a decision would be taken then on whether to open up the section of the river for shipping again.

A team was now in the process of trying to anchor the ship, which capsized at around 05:00 local time (04:00 GMT) on Thursday.

Two of the ship’s crew of four people remained missing, despite divers searching the waters and the vessel, he said.

The two workers who were rescued were hospitalised with hypothermia.

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

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.

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By: Hilde Ovrebekk
+44 20 8652 3214

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