Inland shipping on the Meuse in Limburg, the Netherlands, is still suspended due to the very high water levels, strong current speeds and floating debris in the river. Parts of the Rhine in Germany and Switzerland are also closed to ships. Yet, German authorities expect this ban to be lifted in the course of the week.

Since Thursday 18.00 hours, the Meuse from the southernmost part of Limburg to northern Limburg has been closed to all shipping. According to the regional coordinator for South-East Netherlands of the branch association for inland navigation, Koninklijke BLN-Schuttevaer, all inland shippers managed to find a safe place to go and there were no incidents, although some were in a hurry to get off the water in time to find moorings.

Floating debris and driftwood are a danger to the steering of inland vessels. This includes trees, bushes and branches, but caravans are also said to have ended up in the Maas. The regional coordinator thinks that it may take some time before the mess is cleared away, also because waste sinks to the bottom. In addition, waste is carried downstream by the Meuse.

Parts of the Rhine are also blocked due to the high water level. The river is closed to shipping at Spiers and Maxau in the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, near Koblenz, and at Basel in Switzerland. The German authorities have told German media they expect shipping to start up again in the course of the week, possibly on Friday.

Picture: High water levels in Venlo near the Meuse in the Netherlands (by Flickr/Jac. Janssen).

Source (in part): ANP

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