Antwerp Arrival


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On our final day of travel from Amsterdam to Antwerp, we passed through two locks and one bridge on a 30-mile, 7.5-hour run through the river Scheldt. Antwerp is the second largest commercial port in Europe after Rotterdam and commercial traffic was heavy in the river.

Most of the Port of Antwerp is behind the port’s many locks. These include the three largest sealocks in the world, the biggest measuring 1,600ft (500 m) long, 223ft (68m) wide and 58ft (17.8m) deep. We passed through a much smaller lock with five other commercial boats to reach the interior docks and spend our first night at Antwerp.

Below are trip highlights from February 26th, 2020. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

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Hansweert Lock
Entering the lock at Hansweert behind three commercial vessels. Unlike the past two locks we’ve been through, this one has no basin specifically for recreational boats, likely because there is less recreational boat traffic here. The more common Standing Mast route joins the river Scheldt at the mouth near Vlissingen. Because we’re heading east to Antwerp, we decided to take the shorter route through the Zuid-Beveland Canal.
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Wash
Damian, a large commercial barge, entered the Hansweert lock beside us after we were inside. You can see the wash from their bow thruster and from the barge Dingenis Maria directly in front of us. Unlike the tug wash we encountered in the Kiel Canal a year ago, this one didn’t push us around much.
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Door Closing
The Hansweert lock door closing behind us.
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Exiting Lock
The commercial boats exiting the lock in front of us. The skipper of Damian, the boat that had come in after us, offered to let us go first, but we’re not on the clock and opted to let them exit first. We don’t mind being in close quarters with these boats because the crews are amazingly precise and careful with their boats.
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Thruster
That’s a thruster pouring water out in the middle of this massive double barge moored just outside the Hansweert lock. Because this boat is operating light, the thruster is partly above the water.
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4 knots
The timing of our run to Antwerp meant we’d be running against a strong negative tide in the river Scheldt for the first part of the trip. Here we’re doing only 4 knots where at 1939 RPM we’d do around 8.5 knots in calm water.
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Stolt Confidence
Antwerp is the second largest commercial port in Europe after Rotterdam and commercial traffic is heavy in the river Scheldt. This is the 589ft (176m) chemical tanker Stolt Confidence passing us en route to Antwerp.
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Nordstraum
The Norwegian-flagged chemical tanker Nordstraum overtaking us en route to Antwerp.
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Cooling Towers
The cooling towers of the Doel Nuclear Power Station are prominent in the distance as we look towards Antwerp.
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Traffic
Commercial traffic is increasing as we near Antwerp with many vessels visible ahead.
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Berendrecht Lock
Lock signals for the Berendrecht Lock and Zandvliet locks at the Port of Antwerp. The Zandvliet lock is 1,600ft (500 m) long, 187 ft (57m) wide and 44 ft (13.5 m) deep measures and was the largest lock in the world when opened in 1967. It was superseded by the adjacent Berendrecht lock in 1988, that is 36ft (11m) wider. The Berendrecht lock was in turn superseded in 2016 by the Kieldrecht Lock on the opposite side of the river that is 14ft (4.3m) deeper and currently the largest lock in the world.
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Pallieter
The 320ft (97.5m) hopper dredger Pallieter working the river Scheldt.
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Ganzestad
Very low free board on the commercial barge Ganzestad. If you look carefully, you can see that the deck is below the waterline.
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Doel Nuclear Power Station
The Doel Nuclear Power Station is on the banks of the river Scheldt and traffic passes surprisingly close by. The four-reactor plant has a capacity of 2,923 MW.
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Kieldrecht Lock
Looking down an arm of the Port of Antwerp on the south bank of the river. Barely visible in the distance is the Kieldrecht Lock, currently the largest lock in the world measuring 1,600ft (500 m) long, 223ft (68m) wide and 58ft (17.8m) deep.
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Total Antwerp
Total huge refinery and petrochemical platform in Antwerp is the 3rd-largest in Europe and recently underwent a $1 billion upgrade. The refinery produces 338,000 barrels per day and a new steam cracker can process 1.1 million tonnes.
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Kallo Lock
The Kallo Lock to our south was built in 1979 and is 1,181 ft (360m) long, 164ft (50m) wide and 37 (11.4m) deep.
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Underway
Blog readers Rudi Van Gelder and Diane Seerden sent us this photo taken from their apartment of Dirona on the river Scheldt (position approximate). Jennifer is visible on deck in yellow getting the lines and fenders ready for us to lock through at Antwerp.
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Small Lock
Another lock, this one much smaller then the previous, leading to a small basin. The satellite imagery shows a couple of ships inside, so presumably the lock still operates.
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De Waterbus
De Waterbus vessels were criss-crossing the river as we neared Antwerp.
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Fina Antwerp Olefins
Fina Antwerp Olefins monomer plant owned by Total, processes naphtha, butane, and propane.
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Port Authority Building
The dramatic Antwerp Port Authority Building viewed from the river Scheldt.
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Antwerp
The skyline of Antwerp, viewed from just outside the Royerssluis between the river Scheldt and the interior canals.
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Low Tide
We’ve arrived into Antwerp near low tide.
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Waiting for Lock
Here we are with our bow to the current waiting for six commercial vessels to exit the Royerssluis so we can enter to be locked up.
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Royerssluis
Packed inside the Royerssluis with five commercial barges. For this lock, we handed two looped line up to the lock tender, who secured them to a bollard. Then we tended the lines as the water level increased.
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Gooze
The first of many fabulous street art displays that we’ll see in Antwerp, this one above the Royerssluis by artist Gooze.
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Bridge Lifting
Bridge lifting for us to exit the Royerssluis.
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Siberia Bridge
The Siberia Bridge opening for us to enter Kattendijkdok.
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Underneath Port Authority Building
Passing underneath the Antwerp Port Authority building in Kattendijkdok.
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Basel River Boats
Two river cruise boats from Basel, Switzerland where we embarked on our Rhine River Cruise.
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Kattendijkdok
Moored at Kattendijkdok for the night. Our ultimate destination is Willemdok, but the London Bridge is closed for emergency maintenance, so we’ll wait here for the 6am opening tomorrow.
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London Bridge
A big crew working on the London Bridge. Road and tram traffic was stopped for most of the day. The bridge will be open later this evening, but we’ll not move into our final slip in Willemdok until tomorrow morning.
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Basje
On our first walk around Antwerp we passed more beautiful street art, this one by artist Djoels.
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Think of One
East German Barca van mounted on a shipping container. The van and container is part of the mobile stage for Belgian world music group Think of One.
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Den Tros
Enjoying a light lunch at Den Tros overlooking Willemdok. We’ve both been to Belgium before on business trips, but the is the first time here together.
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MAS
The striking MAS (Museum aan de Stroom) focuses on Antwerp and its connections to the world.
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Whisperer
The Whisperer is a collection of five large statues along the Antwerp waterfront. A figure standing on top of a waterfront building “whispers” messages that are received and repeated by another at dock level, while three other figures climb the building. Personal messages can be delivered through an app. Every day as we get close to the boat, we enjoy hearing the familiar sound of the whisperer as we approach.
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Our Berth
Looking towards our berth in Willemdok where we’ll be tomorrow.
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Happy in Antwerp
A happy Jennifer enjoying Antwerp with London Bridge and Dirona in the background.
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Cranes
Twelve historic cranes along the Antwerp waterfront are part of the MAS’s collection of 18.
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Darling
This creative street art spells “Darling” with automotive rear-view mirrors.
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Smok
Street art mural by artist Smok.
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StAck Antwerpen
StAck Antwerpen by creative company STRAY, who focus on temporary occupations to prevent vacancy risks and also to “create a social leverage for the building and its surroundings”.
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Ceepil & K.Shit
More wonderful street art, this by artists Ceepil & K.Shit.
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Otomat
A delicious pizza with Belgian beer at the extremely popular Otomat. We arrived a little on the early side and the place filled up shortly after and remained packed the rest of the evening.
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Port Authority at Night
The Antwerp Port Authority building lit up at night and reflecting into the Kattendijkdok.
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Dirona
Dirona moored in the Kattendijkdok at Antwerp for the night while the London Bridge, visible in the background, undergoes repairs.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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