Ships in the southern Palatinate in the Rhine free again – SWR news

In the case of the two ships that ran aground on the Rhine near Germersheim and Karlsruhe, the second ship was also towed free. A section of the Rhine will remain closed on Wednesday due to dredging work.

The towed passenger ship continues to Iffezheim. The passengers should get on again there. The around 50 passengers were taken off board in the morning by the local rescue company DLRG. Around 40 crew members were probably still on board the ship afterwards.

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Ships were only 100 meters apart

The river cruiser – like a tanker – got stuck in the Rhine near Hagenbach (Germersheim district) due to low water. A spokeswoman for the Upper Rhine Waterways and Shipping Office told the SWR that both ships could be towed free in the afternoon.

Dredging work in the Rhine will probably continue all Wednesday

With these measures, however, the river bed had been significantly changed and there were deficits of up to 60 centimeters. For this reason, according to its own information, the Waterways and Shipping Office decided to completely block the route from the Iffezheim lock to the Speyer city port in order to avoid further deadlocks.

The dredging work announced for Wednesday and the associated lockdown would probably last the entire day in any case, it said. According to the shipping authority, the push convoy with the corresponding dredging equipment should arrive in Hagenbach around 9 a.m.

The first attempt at recovery failed

A first attempt to rescue the passenger ship on Monday was unsuccessful – because of the low water level. The fact that the travelers could only leave the boat on Tuesday was the safer option, said a spokesman for the waterways and shipping office. An evacuation is always a bit of a risk. Because the ships were only about 100 meters apart, the towing work was also difficult.

The tanker had previously pumped out half of the diesel load before it was towed free on Tuesday afternoon. A second tugboat had been requested for this purpose.

The cause of the accident has yet to be clarified

In the low water of the Rhine, the passenger ship ran aground in foggy conditions on Monday night. When trying to avoid the wrecked passenger ship, a tanker ran aground on Tuesday night.

The cause of the accident is still unclear, said the Upper Rhine Waterways and Shipping Office. Often the skippers did not adhere to the requirements of the office to take little cargo. At least two ships hit the tanker during the night. But there was only sheet metal damage.

Shallows and low water in the Rhine

According to experts, there are shoals in the Rhine even after the persistent flooding. The underground had been churned up. Due to the floods in summer, a lot of gravel accumulated in the fairway in many places in the Rhine. At the point – at Rhine kilometer 357,500 – is a designated bottleneck.

In addition, there is low water. The water and shipping authority Maxau said the tanker had loaded too much and was 20 centimeters too deep in the water. And even with the passenger ship, human error is the reason for getting stuck, according to the experts.

Transport minister hopes for the deepening of the Rhine soon

“The deepening of the Rhine between Mainz and St. Goar is the most important waterway project in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030,” said the Rhineland-Palatinate Transport Minister Daniela Schmitt (FDP) after the accident. Unfortunately, building maturity is still a long way off. “The main stumbling block is still the insufficient staffing of the waterways and shipping administration of the federal government.”

“In view of the horrific raw material prices, we have to keep costs as low as possible,” emphasized Schmitt. “The deepening of the Rhine would make the transport of goods on the Rhine 20 percent cheaper. It is therefore also an important contribution to safeguarding the business location Rhineland-Palatinate and its jobs.”

A passenger ship and a tanker got stuck on the Rhine near Hagenbach.


Similar incident just a week ago

Last week, a tanker ran aground in the fog at the same point on the Rhine. The ship, loaded with heating oil, could not stand up on its own, as the shipping office reported. Therefore, another tanker was initially necessary to partially transfer the loaded oil. A so-called “holding ship” was then needed for the rescue, which prevented the stuck tanker from sinking further into the gravel bed. With his help, the stranded tanker was straightened up again.


A tanker on the Rhine drove onto a sandbank in the fog.  (Photo: Police Germersheim)

The tanker that got stuck near Hagenbach in the Rhine on Sunday is now ready to go again. It ran aground on Sunday through fog and poor visibility.

In the afternoon

SWR4 Rhineland-Palatinate

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