Poland opened a channel this weekend that will ensure that shipping from the country no longer has to pass through Russian waters. The new channel will allow ships from the port of Elblag to reach the Baltic Sea without Russia’s permission.
The pass through Poland’s Vistula Spit Peninsula officially opened last weekend, announced the Belgian construction group Besix, which dug the canal in alliance with the Polish National Democratic Institute.
She added that the canal will reduce the distance between the port of Elblag and the Baltic Sea, and boats that wish to dock in the port will no longer have to use Russian waters. The waterway is 1.3 kilometers long and should be able to accommodate cargo ships with a depth of up to 4.5 meters, a length of up to 100 meters and a width of up to 20 meters. Inland ships up to 180 meters in height can also use the canal.
The Vistula Spit Peninsula is a narrow patch of land between Gdask in Poland and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Until recently, ships always had to ask permission from the Russian authorities to sail to the port of Elblag. With the new corridor, they can now go directly from the Baltic Sea to the port, which means that the route is also shorter.
“We wanted to build this corridor so that we don’t have to ask permission from a country that is not our friend,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said at the opening ceremony.
Environmentalists criticize the Polish project because it will affect the salinity of the water of Wassalaf, behind Spit Vistula. This could be dangerous to the animals and plants in the area. Some people also believed that the construction was unnecessary and cost a lot of money (about 420 million euros).
Marine life was also taken into account during construction, Besix points out. For example, an artificial island of 180 hectares was created to provide a protected environment for birds and houses for birds and bats were installed.
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