Benzene carrying ship crashes into bridge on Maas river; no danger for Grave area

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Composite sketch of man involved in arson at Theater Palazzo in Grave . (Composite sketch of man involved in arson at Theater Palazzo in Grave (Picture: Politie))

A ship carrying hazardous substances including benzene crashed into te John. S. Thompson Bridge over the Maas river in Grave, Noord-Brabant on Thursday night. The environment and residents of Grave are in no direct danger due to the collision, a spokesperson for the local safety office Veiligheidsregio Gelderland-Zuid said to NU.nl.

According to the police, the ship collided with a pillar of the bridge on the N324 in Grave and Nederasselt. This was likely caused by reduced visibility due to thick fog. 

Emergency services and the safety offices of Noord-Brabant and Gelderland-Zuid responded in masse to the scene of the accident. When they arrive all six members of the ship's crew were already off the ship. Measurements were taken and revealed that only small amounts of harmful benzene were released ino the air. According to the municipality, no other harmful substances were released.

Benzene is a hydrocarbon that can irritate te eyes. It is unhealthy to breathe in and prolonged exposure to high doses can cause cancer,, according to the newspaper. 

The municipality of Grave initially advised residents to keep doors and windows closed, as a precaution. This advise was removed from the municipal website by 1:30 a.m. 

According to the Dutch public works department Rijkswaterstaat, the weir in the Maas in Grave was damaged by the collision. The initial investigation also showed that six of the dam's gates were damaged, allowing water to escape between the two locks. This could result in the water level in the Maas dropping, but the Rijkswaterstaat is working to avoid this, according to NU.nl.

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