picture from social media
An accident occurred in the Kiel Canal lock at Kiel-Holtenau. The freighter "Wilson Goole" (88m) crashed into the gate of the north chamber on Saturday. The Kiel Canal is the busiest man-made waterway in the world.
It is not yet clear how the accident occurred. According to information from NDR Schleswig-Holstein, there was an engine failure on board the freighter "Wilson Goole". The 88-metre-long ship then crashed into the lock gate in the north chamber, coming from the sea without braking. The gate was severely damaged by the collision.
Unlike the accident last year with the freighter "Else" or more than three years ago with the "Akacia", the "Wilson Goole" did not get stuck. During the night, the ship was brought to the nearby Lindenau shipyard by two tugs. There were no casualties.
Detailed examinations of the lock gate on Monday
A video footage shows that a large hole has appeared in the gate of the north chamber. "We can say this much, that the gate is severely damaged again," says Detlef Wittmüß, head of the Kiel-Holtenau Waterways and Shipping Authority (WSA). It is not yet clear how long shipping will have to do without the chamber. According to Wittmüß, the damage assessment is currently underway. It will probably not be known until Monday, when divers have examined everything in detail
There is no replacement for the damaged gate
The dilemma is great in the first place because there is no other replacement. The last available replacement gate was installed when the freighter "Else" damaged the original last year. It has yet to be repaired. Another gate, which was damaged in an accident more than three years ago with the "Akacia", was originally supposed to be available again in the summer. According to information from NDR Schleswig-Holstein, however, it will be late summer or early autumn at the earliest.
When the freighter "Else" bumped into a gate last year, the last available replacement gate was installed. Now shipping can only use one lock chamber in Kiel for the time being. "If the busiest artificial waterway in the world only has one lock gate available, that is not only unfortunate, but a considerable impairment of shipping traffic," said Schleswig-Holstein's Transport Minister Bernd Buchholz (FDP). Long waiting times are inevitable. Presumably, many ships will now rather accept the trip around Denmark instead of using the shortcut through the Kiel Canal - according to Buchholz ecologically more difficult, as they would also consume more diesel this way.
After an accident: Long waiting times for ships on the Kiel Canal
Ships currently have to wait more than five hours for a place in the lock on the Kiel Canal - because since an accident in Kiel-Holtenau only one lock chamber is still in operation. The damage is to be assessed on Monday. At worst, a bottleneck threatens until autumn.