01 March 2024, by Emily Proctor

A container ship struck a major bridge in Rotterdam on Friday morning. The huge container ship struck the Willemsbrug and got stuck for several hours, before eventually being freed. Experts are assessing the bridge for damage but thankfully, nobody was hurt. 

Several container ships fell off the boat into the water

Several containers are understood to have fallen off the container ship, with the Rijkwaterstaat putting the number at “at least two”. The containers onboard the ship were all empty, but the authorities are still looking to remove the fallen shipping containers from the water so that they do not pose a danger to other passing ships. 

The bridge remains closed as experts check the structure for damage, particularly relating to the pipes for gas and electricity that run over it. A spokesperson for the Safety Region has said that they aim to reopen the bridge as soon as possible. 

Not the first ship to hit the Willemsbrug in recent years

The ship is not the first to have hit the bridge in recent years. The German-flagged vessel, named Monika Deymann, is among two other ships which hit the bridge in 2022 and 2020. Containers also fell off the crashed ships in those two instances as well. 

According to the spokesperson, ships frequently encounter issues with the bridge. The bridge has a clearance, “but it is never standard, because we have to deal with the ebb and flow of the tide”. It is therefore up to ships’ skippers to determine whether it is possible to sail under the bridge.

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