A curious incident involving ships occurred on the Rhine near Koblenz. An 80-year-old skipper mistakenly drove a 180-meter-long pusher unit into a branch of the current off the fairway on Saturday night, as the water police announced on Sunday.

The cargo ship coupled with a motorless lighter ran aground in the Vallendar arm of the river next to the Rhine island of Niederwerth.

Another cargo motor vessel towed the grounded cargo ship, which had meanwhile been uncoupled from its lighter, free. When the helping ship also wanted to free the lighter, it got stuck on the southern tip of the island of Niederwerth. It was then towed free by the original distressed vessel.

“So they could help each other. I’ve never experienced anything like this in my career – and I’ve been there for more than 20 years,” said a Koblenz water protection police officer. Neither the pushed convoy with loaded gravel nor the second ship without cargo were damaged by the sandy-gravelly river bed After the technical check, both Dutch ships were able to continue their journey down the Rhine.

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