30 January 2019, 16:11

Shredded twice. Kerch approach channel threatens maritime traffic

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In less than four years, the Kerch approach channel shredded twice due to the construction of a bridge from Russia to the illegally annexed Crimea.

The fact is confirmed by information received from the Administration of the Kerch Port, as cited by Kerch.FM.

Thus, in the fall of 2015, the Kerch approach channel allowed passage of vessels with a draught of up to 8 meters to a commercial port, and in January 2019, the draught was limited to 4.9 meters.

In the specified period of time, the port’s administration adjusted the navigable draught of vessels several times but only decreasingly.

According to the publication, the rapid shallowing of the channel is a threat to shipping. Although the channel silting is a natural process, Kerch FM sources note, however, after the start of construction of the Kerch bridge at the end of 2015, silting began to increase.

Dockers say that this is due to the changed hydrodynamics in the Kerch Strait. The flow of water from the Sea of Azov washes away sand and silt, which cannot completely pass by the supports of the bridge. It creates the effect of “comb”. The flow of water tends to go around the bridge and silt is brought into the water area of the Kerch Bay, which is shallowing.

According to a specialist who has worked in the ports of Kerch for almost two decades, in recent years several ships have stranded in the fairway of the Kerch Strait from the Caucasian side in those places where they had passed freely earlier.

The fact that the silting of approach channels to the port of Kerch was caused by the construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait was also reported by the Director General of the State Unitary Enterprise Crimean Sea Ports Aleksey Volkov.

According to him, the construction of the Kerch Bridge caused the bottom rising by three meters in the main shipping canal, so it must be deepened again.