• Germany's news in English
Rhine river's low water levels causing ships to run aground
The Rhine river, near Neuss. Photo: DPA.

Rhine river's low water levels causing ships to run aground

DPA/The Local · 13 Oct 2016, 14:52

Published: 13 Oct 2016 14:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Oct 2016 14:52 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Rhine’s water level between Bonn and Duisburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, measured this week at 2.14 metres - less than half of its normal depth of 4.33.

Dozens of ships have gotten stuck trying to navigate along the low waters of the Rhine within the past two weeks, according to Duisburg water protection police.

“That is significantly more than during normal water levels,” a water protection police spokesman said on Thursday.

The low water levels make the waterway narrower, which in turn means river vessels have less space. Some end up inadvertently navigating too far and getting stuck, according to police.

And sometimes low levels force ship captains to unload and leave behind some of their cargo because navigating with a full load would not be possible. This means that other ships must then later transport the discharged goods.

“Low water levels mean more work for water protection police,” police spokesman Ramon van der Maat told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ).

And while September, October and November are generally particularly low-water months for the river, “when you compare the current level with those of the last 20 to 30 years, this is a very low water level,” explained hydrologist Jan Böhme of the Duisburg-Rhein Waterway and Shipping Agency (WSA).

Since July, Böhme said that the river’s levels have continued to decrease, and this weekend the situation could get even worse: Böhme told WAZ that by Sunday, it could sink below the two-metre mark.

The lowest level the Rhine has reached in Duisburg was 1.74 metres in 2003.

Story continues below…

But even then, Böhme said the Rhine was not officially closed for transport.

"Ship captains must always take responsibility for themselves and decide whether they can navigate it or not."

In June, the Rhine’s water levels became too high for shipping after heavy rain, leading officials to close the waterway, according to Reuters.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd