The Eurogeul is a so-called deep water route in the Traffic Separation Schemes of the Southern part of the North Sea and the English Channel. Ships with a draft between 14 and 20 meters only need to use the last part of the Eurogeul: the Maasgeul. Ships with a depth of 20 meters or more need to use the entire length of the Eurogeul and will get a pilot on board before entering the Eurogeul. The smaller ships will normally receive their pilot near the pilot station Maascenter buoy.
The Eurogeul allows deep-water sea access to the Port of Rotterdam. At high tide it allows large container-ships and large ore carriers like the MS Berge Stahl or MV Vale Rio de Janeiro to enter Rotterdam. The VLOC Berge Stahl operates a frequent service between Brasil and Rotterdam to supply iron-ore for the German steel industry.
The last 14 km of the Eurogeul are called the Maasgeul. Seagoing vessels with a draft of over 20 meters must necessarily take the Eurogeul. Other ships can take the Maasgeul directly. The navigation is strictly regulated. Attendance is about one ship per day (357 for the latest year available). The channel must be dredged and maintained; every year 5 to 7 million tons of sand are recovered. In 2008 the Eurogeul was expanded to an overall width of 600 meters.
In February 2012, the Dutch government began widening the Maasgeul to a width of 830 meters to accommodate larger ships. The work will be completed before the summer of 2012, well in time for the opening of the new Maasvlakte, the Maasvlakte 2.
Sources and references
- Natural History Museum Rotterdam article:Eurogeul: Dredging and fishing for fossils, visited: 24 April 2012
- UK Hydographic Office 17. TRAFFIC SEPARATION SCHEMES, table 2: British Isles. Retrieved: 24 April 2012
- YouTube video MV Vale RdJ arrives in Rotterdam, watched: 14 April 2012
- Website Ecomare: Shipping-routes, visited: 24 April 2012
- Schuutevaer Maasgeul to a width of 830 meter, 25 February 2012. Visited: 24 April 2012.
- Dredging Today: Dutch ministry expands Maasgeul, 18 February 2012. Visited: 24 April 2012.