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Articles in category "National"

New shipping routes along Belgian - Dutch (south) North Sea coast

As of 01 June 2017 00:00hrs UTC new shipping routes along the Belgian and Dutch (south) coast will apply. The North Sea is one of the busiest seas in the world (fishery, marine aggregate mining, oil & gas, renewable energy (wind/tidal), tourism etc) and to improve safety and flow of marine traffic, Belgian and Dutch authorities have together decided to adjust the shipping routes.

Smooth and safe passage for ships, taking into account both economic and ecological interests are priorities and current routing falls short.

The proposed routes include a new Traffic Separation Scheme, modifications of recommended routes and precautionary areas, changes to anchorages and reorganizing areas around existing wind farms.

The new routes will lead to safer and easier navigation reducing the risk for accidents and pollution.

Dutch and Belgian authorities have started a media campaign to inform all users, both international and national, commercial and recreational of the new routes. New maps are expected to become available April 2017.


Belgian ports hit by 24-hour general strike

‎All Belgian ports are suffering serious delays due to a general 24-hour strike. The ports of Ostend, Zeebrugge, Ghent and Antwerpen are all being affected by the nationwide strike with knock-on effects likely all week.

The Berendrecht and Zandvliet locks have been blocked by unions since Sunday evening. Three vessels are now stuck in the Berendrecht lock. Reportedly, the Royers, Van Cauwelaert and Kallo locks are back in operation. The Boudewijn lock remains unmanned.
There are less port tugs available and pilots are currenlty unable to board vessels.


As of 0600hrs today workers in the port of Zeebrugge have stopped all their activities. Ships are no longer loaded/discharged.

The Zelzate bridge has been partly raised preventing ships to enter the port of Ghent.

The "Pagaddertoren"

The Belgian word "Pagaddertoren" refers to a small watchtower used by shipowners in the 16th century (Antwerp. Ghent, Bruges).

Days before the anticpated arrival the owner would camp at the top of the tower scanning the horizon waiting for his ship (usually loaded with spices)  to appear.

The name "Pagadder" is derived from the Spanish word "pagadores". Pagadores were responsible for paying the wages to the Spaniards garrisoned in Antwerp. Beause they were of short stature they were not allowed to participate in the actual fighting.

At present the habit of nicknaming small children "Pagadders" is still in use.

It must be said that different interpretations have been given for the origin of the name "Pagadder". We have highlighted only one.

Pictured above is the Pagaddertoren situated at the courtyard of house 'den Rhyn' in Antwerp, a former exchange for spices.