Nearly 20 Vessels Stuck Along Rhine After Engine Failure In One Of The Ships Blocked The Waterway

Nearly 20 vessels were stuck in traffic along the Rhine River in Germany after a vessel’s sudden engine failure temporarily blocked a portion of the waterway.

A ship with a 1,660-ton load was compelled to drop the anchor owing to an unforeseen engine failure, closing the traffic between Oberwesel and Sankt Goar, the river police mentioned.

It is backing up, a spokesperson associated with the federal waterways and shipping administration reported. The berths are full up to Mainz. Mainz is located about 31 miles southeast of Oberwesel.

At around 1 pm CET, the upstream traffic resumed, the spokesperson mentioned, adding that it could take a couple of hours before the downstream traffic was freed.

Ship Traffic
Image for representation purpose only

In March 2021, a gigantic cargo vessel got stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week, disrupting worldwide shipping traffic. The backlog and chaos signalled that the journeys of hundreds of ships were delayed. Some of these were compelled to take much longer routes around Africa’s southern tip.

The authorities stressed that the observed buildup on the Rhine on Wednesday was not brought about by lower water levels, which have touched record lows at specific points owing to a lack of rain.

Weeks of scant rainfall and baking temperatures have drained the water levels in the river, which is Germany’s commercial artery. This has caused delays in shipping and also pushed up the freight costs. The disruption could well knock half a percentage off Europe’s biggest economy’s economic growth in 2022, say, economists.

The relevant Rhine shipping authorities mentioned that they expected the situation to improve in the coming days as rain is expected in the region. The water levels could rise 50cm or exceed this level by the end of the following week.

Water levels observed at the Kaub reference point were 34cm on Wednesday. Levels in the 30-35cm range are acceptable for shipping – if expensive and with significant losses in loadable cargo, so as not to weigh down the vessels way too much.

References: The Guardian, Winnick

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