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RHINE CLEARING





A tanker carrying 2,400 tonnes of concentrated sulphuric acid from Ludwigshafen, Germany to Antwerp, Belgium capsized and sank in the Rhine River near the famous infamous Lorelei Rock near the town of St. Goarshausen, south of Koblenz, on January 13, 2011. Named MT Waldhof she is a 330 foot tanker with 4 crew of which two, a Czech and a German, are missing the other two crewmembers were rescued. There is no indication why the vessel capsized but the tanker is double hulled of stainless steel, has remained intact so spillage is not a great concern.

The game plan is to pump the acid from the tanks however it seems that holes will have to be drilled to accomplish this. Also heavy lift barge cranes, three at present, are on site to lift the tanker barge once she is pumped out. This is a long process and throughout the last three weeks the Rhine traffic has been closed, there are now hundreds of barges trapped. The Rhine river which forms in Switzerland and flows north to outlet into the North Sea as the Maas and Rhine, is a premier transit path for cargo so this is an enormous economic disaster for all of mainland Europe. Due to snowmelt the Rhine has been flooding and river levels are high. Some three weeks later work is still going on and the river traffic in the area delayed.
As a point of interest in the third photo there is a cylinder painted yellow with white and black bands on each end. This is tug signal and when hoisted up the forward signal mast indicates a tug leading a train of vessels. In this down position she is working on her own. The Rhine River signals can be found at the Rhine Navigation Commission website in our Link List. There is a KEVAG-Telecom webcam transmitting video available in addition to YouTube posted videos.

Good Watch.

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