07 November 2013 12:33 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Germany's Kiel Canal reopened fully to marine traffic late Wednesday, ten days after being closed because of a late-night collision between two fertilizer carriers that left one partially sunk, local officials confirmed on Thursday.
Temporary restrictions on the size of vessels allowed to use the artificial waterway between the North and Baltic Seas were lifted at 6pm local time yesterday after tugs towed the urea carrier Siderfly the short distance to the port of Brunsbuettel.
Only vessels up to 140 metres in length were allowed to use the world's busiest artificial waterway between 31 October and 6 November as salvage experts and divers examined two gaping holes in the hull of the St Vincent and the Grenadines-flagged cargo ship.
Up to 60 people from different agencies and companies were involved in an operation that involved barges, pumps, oil booms, floating pontoons and several bulldozers which scooped around 3,600 tonnes of the granular fertilizer – worth around $1m (€740,000) from the listing vessel – before the ship was stabilised and prepared for removal.
The Siderfly was en route to Antwerp, Belgium, when she collided with the Coral Ivory – a 116m-long ammonia carrier that sustained no major damage and continued to Uusikaupunki, Finland, with a few thousand tonnes of the nitrogen fertilizer.
A spokesman for Germany's Central Command for Maritime Emergencies (Havariekommando) said on Thursday that the local waterway and shipping authority in Brunsbuettel would take charge of the investigation into the 28 October accident in which no-one was injured.Opened in 1895, the Kiel Canal slices through the base of the Jutland Peninsula and handles around 35,000 vessels a year.
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