On 25th October, the European coordinator for the Rhine-Danube Corridor Karla Peijs baptized the first surveying vessel within the EU-project FAIRway Danube in presence of Oleg Butković, Croatian Minister for Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure. The vessel was named “Connecting Europe 1” and provides up-to-date recordings of the riverbed, which is of high value for fleet operators and shippers.

VIPs in front of surveying vessel

Marijana Cindrić (Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure), Désirée Oen (European Commission), Dirk Beckers (Director of the Executive Agency for Innovation and Networks, INEA), Lidija Hubalek (Agency for Inland Waterways) Karla Peijs (European Coordinator for the TEN-T Rhine-Danube Corridor), Andreas Bäck (viadonau), Miroslav Ištuk (Director of the Agency for Inland Waterways, Croatia), Photo: © viadonau

The Croatian surveying vessel is the first of a total of nine specialized vessels put into service within the FAIRway Danube Project in order to help the issue of navigation safety on the Danube River. The vessel is financed under the Connecting Europe Facility, the 27 Billion Euro investment programme of the European Union.

The focus of FAIRway Danube is to provide current and harmonized information on shallow sections, water levels and water level forecasts. Available depths shall be used optimally by adapting the location of the waterway to the current riverbed conditions. This way, FAIRway Danube is aiming at the improvement of the fairway conditions of the Danube and its navigable tributaries.

The ship's godmother Karla Peijs emphasized that putting into service of "Connecting Europe 1" is of high symbolic importance for the broader development of the European project. The vessel will provide an invaluable service to the whole inland waterway community for many years to come. The Transport Minister of Croatia Oleg Butković also stressed the potential of waterway and added that the investments in the Danube and in the Sava are essential elements to improve the competitiveness of industry and tourism.

Details on FAIRway Danube: The project FAIRway Danube is the first implementation phase of the "Fairway Rehabilitation and Maintenance Master Plan for the Danube and its navigable tributaries" which has been developed in the framework of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR).

The Master Plan was endorsed by the Danube Ministers of Transport in December 2014. It aims at reaching and ensuring good navigation conditions throughout the year by providing a minimum level of service. FAIRway Danube is carried out jointly in 6 countries: Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania. The actions are co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility programme of the European Union.

During the project term (July 2015 - June 2020), FAIRway Danube will significantly increase the knowledge on shallow sections of the Danube waterway, so that the fairway routing can be optimized and national rehabilitation measures drafted. Furthermore, FAIRway Danube prepares for the full deployment of the Master Plan by providing the foundation for supplementary and additional projects.

Further information about the Fairway Danube project can be found in the project database and on the project website.