Police drone catches inland tanker degassing while in transit
A 73-year-old inland skipper from Gorinchem, the Netherlands, was caught degassing his cargo tanks on the Waal river near Tiel. With an upcoming European ban, and strict measures already in place in the Netherlands in anticipation of this ban, extra checks have been carried out since the autumn.
In the near future, ships will no longer be allowed to remove vapours from their holds – known as degassing – while in transit.
On Wednesday 11 November, the national police used a drone at Millingen on the Rhine to check the degassing of barges passing by on the Waal. The drone showed that tanks were opened on the ship and that a hose was connected to a ventilator. A specialist then boarded a police boat in Tiel to check the tanker. It turned out that the discharged gas concentration was far too high, which created a risk of explosion. The police made a charge sheet.
Degassing a vessel in transit is undesirable, because it releases toxic substances. These are harmful to the environment and can pose a danger to people living near the major rivers. The Netherlands has already banned the discharge of fumes from petrol, benzene and substances containing benzene. In addition, degassing is prohibited near bridges, locks and densely populated areas. Skippers have to degass to get rid of the residues of liquid cargoes of hazardous substances and there are special degassing installations along the rivers for this purpose.
Picture by the Dutch police.