January 2017 - in video, chunks of ice floating down the Danube river in Budapest.*
Serbia - the ice on the Danube reached four meters in thickness, and two Hungarian icebreakers were sent to join forces with the Serbian ones in a bid to reopen the navigation on Danube.
Hungary and Bulgaria banned shipping on the Danube, as the floating ice and shallow water made the river traffic too dangerous.
Romania - 80 vessels blocked by ice on Danube, 2 cargo transport barges hold up in the same place for two weeks, and each day counted thousands of Euros financial losses.
The people in Sfantu Gheorghe, the main village on one of the Danube’s branch towards Black Sea, were isolated for more than a month, due to ice blockage on Sfantu Gheorghe channel.**
River Danube icebound is a common phenomena, as winters with very low temperatures is specific to the climate in this part of the Europe.
Historically, the Danube and some of its tributaries have formed important trade routes across Europe, and navigation is critical in the economies of the riverside countries.
87% of the total river length is navigable, and ships can call in at 78 harbours located along the Danube, up to the Black Sea. However, winter navigation can rise significant business related issues and real life challenges for people depending on the Danube river routes.
The level of shipping and offshore activities could benefit if weather-related information used in the fluvial navigation mirror the advanced possibilities offered by today’s Earth Observation technologies.
Ice-prone waters like the Danube river is a natural phenomena that cannot be avoided, but mitigated.
The Danube river basin and the Black Sea information services are among the topics addressed by the Pathfinder Exploitation Platform, and ice coverage monitoring is one of the use cases developed.