Web Date: January 13, 2011
Vessel Laden With Sulfuric Acid Sinks in Germany
A boat carrying 2,400 tons of sulfuric acid from the chemical company BASF capsized in Germany's Rhine River at 5 a.m. today, Jan. 13. Rescuers are searching the river for two missing men who are part of the ship's four-man crew.
At this point, "to our knowledge no acid leaked into the river," from the stainless steel double-hulled tanker called the Waldorf, Robert Baack, the chief operating officer for Lehnkering, the company managing the shipping, said in a statement.
The capsize happened, "for as yet unexplained reasons," he noted.
River levels are higher than normal due to recent melting of large quantities of snow that fell over the past month, and the accident occurred at a narrow point in the river which is known to have strong currents, according to AFP, the French press agency.
The boat was carrying the sulfuric acid from Ludwigshafen, in southern Germany to Antwerp, Belgium, says Ursula von Stetten, a BASF spokeswoman.
Sulfuric acid is widely used in the chemical industry, for example, in making plastics, von Stetten adds.
According to AFP, the accident occurred near the Lorelei rock, which is named after a mythical mermaid whose extraordinary singing would lure fishermen to their deaths.
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