Europe German officials work to dislodge freighter grounded by storm

German officials work to dislodge freighter grounded by storm

A woman holds an umbrella in heavy rain and strong wind in Prague, Czech Republic October 29, 2017.

Shallow waters near a North Sea island were complicating efforts to dislodge a big freighter that ran aground on Sunday, German officials said on Monday, as the country began cleaning up after a storm that killed at least six people in Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland.

Railway operator Deutsche Bahn [DBN.UL] continued to deal with “significant damage” from downed trees on some rail routes. Service would be limited in parts of northern Germany, it said, after being suspended in large parts of northern and central Germany on Sunday, stranding thousands of travelers.

In the North Sea, authorities were monitoring the “Glory Amsterdam,” a 225-metre freighter that ran aground about 2.2 km from the German island of Langeoog, for any signs of oil leaks, said Michael Friedrich, spokesman for Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies.

But plans to tow the freighter free during high tide on Monday were being revised after officials determined the waters were too shallow for the ship that would have done the towing, Friedrich said. Planning was now under way to lighten the ship’s load and to use ships with shallower draft for towing, he said.

“We’re working on a plan, but the towing will definitely not happen today,” he said. The freighter’s captain had reported all was well on board and the ship’s crew of 22 was safe, he said.

The freighter was not carrying any cargo, Friedrich said. Concern about an oil leak centered on 1,800 tonnes of heavy oil and 140 tonnes of marine diesel the ship had on board for fuel.

Elsewhere in Germany, Deutsche Bahn said rail traffic on a number of key routes – including the heavily traveled line from Hamburg to Berlin – would resume on Monday afternoon.

Thousands of travelers were stranded on Sunday, with some seeking shelter in special sleeping cars provided at stations. Trains that resumed service on Monday were crammed so full that some passengers had to disembark.

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