Dutch safety agency expresses concerns over main Rotterdam waterway

Dutch safety agency expresses concerns over main Rotterdam waterway

The Dutch Safety Board (OVV) has determined that the Nieuwe Maas in the centre of Rotterdam is overcrowded and requires better management. The findings came as part of a report into a collision between two boats in July 2022. 

Skippers often don’t follow the rules, says the safety board

In a scathing review, the safety board detailed a litany of issues with the management of Rotterdam’s waterways and made a series of recommendations to prevent future accidents. The safety board said that the busiest central stretch of the Nieuwe Maas is too crowded, chaotic and must be better managed.

The report also condemned the professionalism of those in charge of managing the waterway and stated that skippers often ignore the rules. The safety board also noted that there is no clear legal framework to help them enforce the rules so skippers often get away with violating maritime regulations. 

Report came about after a review of 2022 boat crash

The damning findings came out as part of a review into what happened when a tour boat collided with a water taxi on the Nieuwe Maas in 2022. Five passengers and the skipper of the water taxi were left stuck in an air bubble underneath the capsized vessel in July 2022 until they were rescued nine minutes later. One of the passengers suffered broken bones, and thankfully nobody died. 

“Many passengers are transported on the Nieuwe Maas in the heart of Rotterdam every day. They must be able to trust that this happens safely,” Erica Bakkum of the OVV said. “There are all kinds of rules and procedures, but the skippers’ sailing behaviour regularly deviates from them.” Many residents of the city use water taxis to travel to and from work, as well as when visiting family and friends.

Footage showing the moment the tour boat hit the water taxi in 2022.

Thumb image credit: hans engbers /

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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