Ship capsizes with acid cargo, German Rhine shut
Updated: 2011-01-14 06:47
Vessel carrying 2,400 tonnes of sulphuric acid; Acid has not escaped into river
HAMBURG - A vessel carrying 2,400 tonnes of sulphuric acid has capsized on the Rhine, prompting the closure of the river in Germany to shipping, but none of the freight had spilled, German authorities said on Thursday.
"The hull of the vessel is still intact and the freight has not escaped into the river," said a spokeswoman for the Rheinland-Pfalz state environment ministry.
Two people are missing and two have been rescued after the accident at Lorely, near Wiesbaden, a spokesman for the German inland navigation authority said. It is believed one of the crew members could still be on board and alive.
The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grain, minerals, coal and oil products, including heating oil. It is a major route for Switzerland's commodity imports.
The navigation authority spokesman said it was uncertain when the river would be reopened, adding that the ship had been secured, salvage experts had arrived and a decision about how to remove the vessel would be made soon.
But water levels are rising rapidly, and could mean the river would have to be closed for a longer period to all shipping, possibly from Friday, regardless of the salvage operation, he said.
The river was closed earlier this week as melting show had increased water levels, but was later reopened.
The ship was carrying acid for German chemicals company BASF from its works in Ludwigshafen in Germany to the Belgian port of Antwerp, a BASF spokesman said. Specialists from the company were at the scene.
China and the world set to embrace the merciful, peaceful year of rabbit
Historical records and Caucasian features of locals suggest link with Roman Empire.
Coastal Yantai banks on little things that matter to grow
The State Council launched a new round of measures to rein in property prices.