The Danube, closely monitored by authorities

A crisis cell organised at the Transport Ministry’s HQ analyses the opportunity of blowing up the Calarasi ice shelf. Government officials assure that authorities are “in control of the situation.”

The alert on the Danube continues, after a ship sank earlier this week, and others are in danger of suffering the same fate, after the melting of the ice shelf which extends from Sulina to Giurgiu. The members of the Committee for Emergency Situations, experts from the ministries of Interior, Defence, Transport, and Environment, as well as representatives of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (IGSU) met yesterday at the headquarter of the Transport Ministry (MT), in a crisis cell tasked with establishing a strategy of removing the ice that blocks the Danube. According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Administration and Interior (MAI) and quoted by Mediafax, crisis cells will be formed at the level of Danube riparian counties, similar to that organised in Bucharest.In his turn, Government spokesman Dan Suciu said that a national emergency committee and 12 counties are monitoring the situation on the Danube, while the MT crisis cell analyses the opportunity of blowing up the ice shelf at Calarasi, and things are “under control.” “Authorities are seeking the best solutions related to detonating – or not – the ice shelf. (…) They will consider whether it makes sense to detonate it, or if this will have counter-effects,” Suciu explained.MAI officials announced that a helicopter of the General Aviation Inspectorate flew over the Danube yesterday, from Bazias to the Sulina Bar, in order to evaluate the zones affected by the ice shelf. A similar flight also took place Monday, on the river section between kilometers 300 and 400, in the Calarasi County, aimed at identifying other ships in difficulty, after the ice shelf already sent down one vessel, in the Chiciu area.The prefect of Calarasi County, Emil Musat said that using dynamite to break the ice shelf on the Danube is not a valid solution now, because the layer of ice is very thick and there is the risk of blocking the river with an ice dam that will cause big problems downstream. “At this moment, the situation on the Danube has stabilised, and the ice blocks are flowing through the middle of the river, which is very well, because they do not hit the ships anchored near the banks. We are monitoring the situation, and the conclusion which resulted from the helicopter inspection along the Calarasi section of the Danube shows that an intervention by detonation would not be efficient now, because the ice shelf is more than one meter – sometimes even more than two meters – thick between Cernavoda and Oltenita, and detonating it can generate an ice dam, damaging areas downstream,” Musat said, quoted by Mediafax.Currently, 18 barge convoys with 50 barges, and about 20 vessels operated by various companies are blocked by ice on the Danube, between kilometers 300 and 400.

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