On Wednesday, September 14, a cruise-ship passenger became the five-millionth person to pass through the locks of the dam at the Gabčíkovo hydroelectric power plant, which is administered by the Slovak Water Management Company (SVP).
"We were honoured to hand over a prize to the five-millionth passenger who passed through our locks. During their 19 years in use, 300,000 ships have passed through the locks, with 115.5 million tons of cargo," said SVP chief executive Daniel Kvocera. The locks at the dam, which was built to curb floods on the Danube River, were commissioned for use on November 12, 1992, and in the almost 19 years since they have been filled and emptied more than 71,000 times. According to Kvocera, the safety of the hydroelectric scheme is documented by the fact that during the 19 years there has never been a situation in the locks in which human lives were endangered. "Of course, there were quite often minor incidents caused by a ship's captain that damaged the lock gate, but there was nothing serious," Kvocera said.
Shipping in the area of the dam has been influenced by hydrological and climatic conditions, especially flood flows, wind, fog and ice. While fog and wind can cause traffic to halt for a few hours or up to seven days, ice can stop shipping on the Danube for up to a month, as happened in 1997. Shipping companies from Hungary, Ukraine, Germany, and Austria play a decisive role in the transport of cargo, agricultural products, fertilisers and diesel fuel via the river.
More than 300,000 people a year have sailed through Gabčíkovo this summer on sightseeing cruises or on regular passenger lines of foreign shipping companies. Passage of ships through the Gabčíkovo locks is free of charge, based on a commitment adopted by Slovakia.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
16. Sep 2011 at 10:00