Germany’s Kiel Canal Shuts as Fertilizer-Hauling Ships Collide

Germany’s Kiel Canal, the world’s busiest artificial waterway, closed to shipping after two vessels hauling fertilizers collided, leaving one listing at a 45-degree angle.

The Siderfly, a 100-meter (328-foot) ship flying the flag of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and the Netherlands-registered, 116-meter Coral Ivory collided at about 3 a.m. local time today, the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies, part of Germany’s coast guard, said in a statement. Marine diesel oil leaked from the Siderfly, which is being stabilized by two tugboats after listing, it said.

Nobody was injured in the collision, according to the statement. The spill’s size is unknown for now and it’s too soon to say how long the halt will last, Central Command spokeswoman Ulrike Windhoevel in Cuxhaven, Germany, said by phone.

The canal enables ships to move between the Baltic and North seas without having to voyage around the Jutland Peninsula. Almost 35,000 vessels navigated the 100-kilometer (62-mile) link last year, according to its website. The canal is the busiest global artificial waterway, the website says.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alaric Nightingale in London at; Tino Andresen in Dusseldorf at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at

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