Germany’s Kiel Canal was seriously damaged on Friday, March 20, after a cargo vessel crashed into one of its floodgates as it was entering the lock complex's north chamber in Brunsbüttel at approximately 12:20 p.m. local time.
The vessel in question is the 131-meter long Cypriot-flagged general cargo ship MV Saint George. Mostly the vessel’s bow was damaged as it was believed to have pierced completely through the gate.
GAC Shipping has reported that Brunsbüttel Lock’s Big North Lock Chamber has been completely shut down due to the incident that occurred at the No.3 lock gate. The extensive damages are possibly going to require weeks for them to be properly repaired.
The accident marks the third such incident that has occurred in the last few months at the Kiel Canal, as local media reports show. In November of 2014, a UK-flagged cargo vessel crashed into a lock gate at the Kiel Canal’s north end which resulted in the entire gate needing to be replaced.
The Kiel Canal, or Nord-Ostsee-Kanal as it is better known in Germany, is a waterway with a length of 61 miles that stretches from the North Sea at Brunsbüttel all the way to the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau. It is often credited as being the busiest artificial waterway in the world.