In a dense fog, a tanker barge carrying 2,000 tonnes of benzene collided with a closed weir near Grave on Thursday 29 December 2016. No one was injured during this incident. However, the deck of the vessel sustained heavy damage and a small amount of the toxic substance benzene was released. The weir was severely damaged as well, causing a three-metre drop in the water level between Grave and Sambeek. This drop had major consequences for both inland vessels and houseboats in the surrounding area. Owing in part to the thick fog, emergency services had great difficulty in assessing the full scope of the incident. The site of the accident is located precisely on the border between two municipalities and three safety regions. As a result, the various parties involved were unable to form a shared view of the incident and coordinate their actions.
Inland skipper who transport hazardous substances must take additional measures to ensure safety in dense fog. Such measures might entail curtailing the working hours or relieving the skipper on duty sooner. In addition, Rijkswaterstaat must be given authority to halt local shipping traffic in extreme weather conditions. It is also vital that crisis management and emergency services in areas along the borders of various regions are coordinated more effectively.