After the oil spill in the port of Brunsbüttel at the western entrance to the Kiel Canal, the oil that spilled there is still being sucked out. As a spokesman for the Havariekommandos said, the multi-purpose ship Neuwerk was replaced by an oil spill response unit, which now supports the two remaining ships Scharhörn and Knechtsand in picking up oil. With a view to the stormy seas expected over Christmas, the Neuwerk should be kept on standby as an emergency tug for any accidents on the North Sea. After the hull has been cleaned, the ship is released and left the canal.
The busy Kiel Canal was closed on Wednesday after large quantities of oil spilled due to a leak in a pipeline. The work to eliminate the consequences of the accident is taking longer than expected. The release of the waterway, initially planned for Saturday, was postponed until after Christmas. According to the information, the responsible waterway and shipping office assumes that the blocking of the canal can be lifted on Wednesday at the earliest.
Over the holidays, however, the oil fight continues, as the spokesman for the emergency command emphasized. However, the volunteers and ship crews were given the opportunity to be with their families on Christmas Eve. As darkness set in, the work was interrupted in the late afternoon. "On the morning of December 25, oil spill response will resume," the CCME said in a statement.
Among the approximately 150 forces working on the banks of the canal and on the water are numerous members of local fire brigades and the Technical Relief Agency (THW) from Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Bundeswehr naval pilots, who fly the CCME's DO228 sensor aircraft, are also involved.
The head of the emergency command, Robby Renner, addressed the emergency services in an audio message. "I would like to thank you for your active commitment and cannot appreciate your achievement enough," it says. The women and men involved would put private interests aside during the holidays to help.
Since the Kiel Canal will remain closed until next week, ships that had been waiting for the reopening in the Elbe estuary, among other places, have changed course. They would now circumnavigate Denmark and head for the Baltic Sea via the Kattegat or leave it this way, the spokesman said. On Saturday afternoon, only one ship was waiting off Kiel to be admitted to the canal, two had had to abort their passage in the canal and were stuck there. Immediately after the closure, up to 20 ships were waiting in parallel on both sides of the canal for transit.
The canal between Kiel on the Baltic Sea and Brunsbüttel (Dithmarschen district) at the mouth of the Elbe in the North Sea is the world's busiest artificial sea waterway.