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Hundreds of ships stopped on the Danube river because of low water

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Hundreds of self-propelled and non-self-propelled vessels are waiting in the Bulgarian-Romanian section of the Danube River due to the very low level. This was announced to BTA by Ivan Zhekov, director of the “River Supervision – Ruse” Directorate at the “Maritime Administration” agency.

In the Bulgarian-Romanian section there are 20 thresholds that make navigation difficult. The lowest level is in the areas of Belene and Batin islands. Ships can pass there with a draft of up to 1.30 meters.

The downtrend continues. The situation is similar in the other Danube countries, as the low water has covered the entire river.

“Cruise ships travel, if they have the opportunity, and in very few sections. In our area, this is impossible. They mainly travel lightly loaded vessels or empty vessels that have a draft of 1.20 – 1.30 meters”, explained Zhekov.

According to him, there are currently no stranded ships as the captains avoid traveling in this environment and wait for the conditions to improve. This leads to losses for ship owners and companies.

“There was a similar low water in 2003, as well as in 2018, but now the drought came too early and this will probably be the most unfavorable year from the point of view of shipping,” Zhekov said.

According to him, in the Bulgarian-Romanian section, the level of the Danube River is not expected to rise soon, which would ease the very difficult navigation.

According to data from the “Research and Maintenance of the Danube River” agency, the level at Rousse today is minus 52 cm compared to the conditional elevation of “zero”. The forecast for the next two days is that it will drop by another three centimeters.

Drought is putting severe challenges to navigation on Europe’s longest river; only some passenger cruise ships, which are running very shallow, are currently overcoming the difficulties. On Sunday, the level of the Danube in the area of ​​the village of Gomotartsi, Vidinsko, was below sea level – minus 121 cm; near Novo Selo, the Agency for the maintenance of the navigable waterway of the Danube River reported a water column of minus 10 cm. And at the 796th kilometer at “Danube Bridge 2”, the level was only 35 centimeters above sea level.

Blazing sun, clear water, birds and people can be seen in an unusual place. Sandy islands and dunes, lakes and lagoons are part of a landscape that attracts more and more admirers in the summer heat.

This unusual place is the middle of the Danube River at kilometer 796, under the nearly 30-meter high structure of “Danube Bridge 2”. It can be reached by car, bicycle and boat, and the most enthusiastic – on foot.

The thick shadow cast by the bridge is where one can hide in the cold. The feeling is strange – on one side is the Bulgarian coast, and only meters away – the Romanian coast.

The level of the Danube in the Bulgarian section remains critically low, it has been below zero in many places for almost a month now. Somewhere the river can even be crossed on foot.

Photo: BTA

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