Bulgaria’s winter weather crisis: Danube closed to shipping because of ice floes

Bulgaria closed its section of the Danube River to shipping on January 10 after ice floes covered more than 80 per cent of the river’s surface close to the city of Rousse.

At the Bulgarian town of Silistra, the ice cover of the Danube was more than 70 per cent, while at Vidin, it was more than 80 per cent.

More than 20 vessels, mostly Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Romanian, were stuck in the area between the village of Garvan and Silistra.

Expanding ice floes pose a hazard of shipping. In 2012, shards of ice caused extensive damage to shipping on the Bulgarian stretch of the Danube, even sinking a Romanian vessel near Silistra.

The Danube has frozen over 28 times in the past 117 years, Bulgarian National Radio said. For the coming days of January 2017, the forecast is that ice cover will expand and the shipping ban is likely to be extended.

On January 10, the municipality of Smolyan in Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains declared a partial state of emergency because of heavy snowfalls.

Bulgaria’s Trakiya Motorway was closed to traffic between Karnobat and Bourgas because of low visibility, strong winds and snowdrifts on January 10. In the district of Bourgas, also closed was the Yambol – Sredets road.

The Varna – Dobrich road was closed to traffic on the afternoon of January 10 because of snowdrifts.

(Screenshot via BNT)




The Sofia Globe staff

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