Article

Kiel Canal, Germany : Freighter rams Kiel lock gate on Sun 14th Mar 2021


by Frank Diegel - published on 14 March 2021 1265

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.
Maritime software and hardware development, digitalisation

Frank Diegel is the CEO and founder of Marine-Pilots.com and the CEO of the IT company TRENZ too. His companies are located in the two german harbour cities Bremen and Hamburg. He has studied computer science. For almost 10 years he has been developing hard- and software especially for pilots. The topic of digitalisation in shipping is his great passion.

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MR
Merv Rowlinson United Kingdom
on 22 March 2021, 17:11 UTC

René: seems like a run of bad luck on the Kiel Canal. Ricardo states that engine failures should not occur these days. Of course he is right but the reality of our business is that cost savings = poor training and maintenance which will lead to such catastrophic events..
Just as well that you have a powerful fleet of tugs operating in the Panama Canal. Hopefully "runaway" ships can be halted.by the stern tug?
Regards
Dr. Merv Rowlinson
Southampton
[show more]
0

RH
René Hartung Lotsenbrüderschaft NOK II Kiel / Lübeck / Flensburg, Germany
on 15 March 2021, 05:52 UTC

There are two spare gates: one is damaged and untouched since 7 month (vessel tried to enter the canal without picking up a Pilot by entering a closed lock) and spare gate number two was destroyed when a container vessel („Akacia“) had a malfunction in their CPP-system and hit the gate with high speed. That was three years ago and our authorities are not even ashamed when making up „reasons“ for why that gate could not be repaired since then.
In a private business someone would have lost his/her job for that kind of mismanagement and negligence
1

RC
Ricardo Caballero Vega Panama Canal Pilots Association, Panama
on 14 March 2021, 20:36 UTC

Engine failure could be the cause. However, engine failures should not occur these days. I could only think of poor or deficient maintaining, if indeed the cause was an engine failure.
1

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