05 January 2024

Environmental fears as vessel loaded with fertiliser sinks in Danube

05 January 2024

A cargo vessel loaded with fertiliser sank after hitting a bridge on the Danube River border between Serbia and Croatia, prompting fears of serious environmental damage, authorities have said.

Serbia’s environment ministry said the barge that sank some 40 minutes after midnight was carrying 1,000 tonnes of nitrogen fertiliser.

It added that the Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring the situation on the Danube.

Croatian authorities closed the bridge and a border crossing with Serbia while they inspected damage to one of the bridge pillars that was struck by the vessel.

There were no reported injuries in the accident.

The German-registered ship was traveling from Austria to a Serbian Danube port north of Serbia’s capital, Belgrade.

“The sinking of a barge with 1,000 tonnes of fertiliser will certainly have a negative impact on the river flora and fauna, and indirectly, on us,” environmental expert Dusan Blagojevic told N1 television.

Excessive and inefficient use of the fertiliser could harm crop production and result in atmospheric pollution.

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