A remarkable scene, yesterday afternoon right in front of the Vlissingse Badstrand on the Westerschelde estuary. Container ship Valdivia seemed to be heading straight for the beach there, but she threw the helm just in time to continue sailing close to the beach.
The scene was captured on video and the images went viral on Facebook. It is not clear what went wrong on board, but the helmsman was able to intervene just in time. It was clear that the ship had gone out of the fairway.
According to Eric Adan, who deals with shipping traffic on the Westerschelde at the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management, the ship was destined for the Steenbank to drop her pilot off there. The decision to go via the Sardijngeul passage and the Oostgat instead of Westrond was taken rather late. Because of the full ebb current this became a difficult manoeuvre in which the ship in the Sardijngeul passage came outside the buoy line and thus closer to the beach than normal. The ship was able to continue her voyage. The incident will be evaluated in the Commission Nautical Safety Scheldt Area."
The ship left the port of Antwerp at 15.49 hours and has Helsinki as final destination.
The charm of the Badstrand is that visitors get a free view of passing ships, but that sometimes causes problems. Ships sailing close to the beach can cause large waves, which can sometimes surprise bathers with large amounts of water suddenly rising onto the beach.