Video: Inland Cargo Ship Loses Containers After Hitting Rotterdam Bridge

Barge stuck under bridge
The barge misjudged clearances and became wedged under the bridge (MediaTV/YouTube)

Published Mar 1, 2024 11:33 AM by The Maritime Executive

It made for a spectacular “loud bang” and the sounds of “scraping metal” according to residents when a German inland container vessel misjudged clearances in the center of Rotterdam. The vessel became wedged under the Willemsbrug bridge crossing the Nieuwe Maas and lost at least two containers into the waterway on Friday morning.

The Rotterdam-Rijnmond Safety Region responded to reports of the accident around 7:30 am local time and found the 450 foot (137 meter) self-propelled barge Monika Deymann, registered in German, stuck under the bridge. The vessel lost at least two containers overboard while others were pushed horizontally causing damage to the bridge.

The bridge and waterway were closed while the local fire department and police responded. Divers were able to locate the two containers which had drifted in the river current. 



The Safety Authority reported after about two hours, “The water has receded, causing the ship to become loose under the bridge. The ship is now on shore where it is being examined whether and how the ship can continue. Due to the collision, the Willemsbrug is being inspected for stability and damage to pipework.”

The inspection showed damage to some currently unused pipes under the bridge that carry gas and water as well as damage to some decorative lighting on the bridge. The authorities said it was mostly scraped paintwork and permitted the bridge to reopen at midday.



The authorities blamed the incident on the vessel attempting to move from the city center to the Waalhaven Port at high tide on the river. They noted a strong fluctuation in the river level saying it is the responsibility of the vessel to determine clearances. 

It is not the first time inland vessels have contacted the bridge. In 2020 another German inland vessel struck the bridge losing containers and there were accusations that the vessel was overloaded. It happened again in 2022.