Rising waters and extensive flooding has caused the Rhine river in Germany to close off all shipping activity until further notice, according to the German Inland Navigation Authority.
The Authority has reported the river has been closed between the German cities of Duisburg and Koblenz, which will prevent sailings to and from Switzerland.
A spokesman for the water police told news website The Local: “As soon as the water level climbs over 8.3 metres, that happens.”
Persistent rainfall and melting snow have led to a gradual rise in river levels in western Germany in recent days.
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Around Cologne, water levels have been far above the critical height of 8.3 metres since Sunday evening.
In Düsseldorf, where the Rhine is wider, flood levels rose from 8.06 metres to 8.25 metres.
The high water means vessels would not have enough space to sail under bridges that cross the waterway.
The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including minerals, coal and oil products, as well as grains and animal feed.
The river is expected to crest to its highest point today or Tuesday, the Authority said.
Drier weather is expected to cause water levels to fall later in the week.
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