‘Wadden Sea shipping route should be closed during storm’

To prevent another disaster in the Wadden Sea, the Dutch Cabinet must talk to Germany as soon as possible about an emergency ordinance with which the shipping route above the Wadden Sea can be closed off. This was said by Dutch political parties ChristenUnie and GroenLinks after another ship lost containers on this route this week.

A year ago, in stormy weather, almost 350 containers fell off the ship MSC Zoe. The clearing of the containers and their contents is still not finished. After the new incident with the OOCL Rauma, both parties feel that Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) should consult her German colleague as soon as possible ‘to ensure the safety of the coast’.

‘We must take measures that are necessary for the safety of our coast, the protection of the Wadden Sea and the prevention of another environmental disaster,’ says Stieneke van der Graaf (ChristenUnie). According to her colleague Suzanne Kröger (GroenLinks), ‘it must be prevented at all times that the vulnerable nature in the Wadden Sea is affected by containers being thrown overboard.’

Process can take years

Van Nieuwenhuizen previously informed Dutch Parliament that closing the shipping route is a matter that can take years. In the case of waves higher than 5 metres, the Coastguard already makes an urgent appeal to ships of 300 metres and longer not to use the shipping route closest to the Wadden islands. According to the Minister, the shipping industry adheres to this advice.

Source: ANP

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Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.