Ostfriesland: New cruise giant is said to have destroyed thousands of bird eggs

Transfer to the North Sea: New cruise giant is said to have destroyed thousands of bird eggs

The “Disney Wish” on the Ems

© Lars Klemmer / DPA

The Ems had to be dammed so that the cruise ship “Disney Wish” could be transferred to the North Sea. Thousands of waterfowl eggs were washed away as a result, criticized the nature conservation association.

The “Disney Wish” is 341 meters long and 4,000 passengers are to be accommodated on the new cruise ship from the Meyer shipyard. The maiden voyage is planned for mid-July, but before that the colossus had to be transferred from the shipyard in Papenburg to Eemshaven in the Netherlands at the end of March. “Everything went well and without any problems,” summed up a shipyard spokesman after the 40-kilometer transfer journey.

Conservationists, however, see it completely differently. In order to be able to transfer the newly built ship, the Ems had to be dammed. Apparently, this had far-reaching consequences for some birds that breed on the Ems island of Hatzumer Sand. Since the island was under water due to the damming of the river, around 10,000 eggs of greylag goose pairs were washed away there, according to the Nature Conservation Union (Nabu) Ostfriesland.

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Alone on a ten-meter-long section of the Emsufer, 200 eggs were washed up, Nabu said. “With around 1,300 known goose nests between Weener and Emssperre, we have to reckon with thousands of drowned clutches,” said Ihno Völker vom Nabu Leer. The conservationists accuse the Lower Saxony state agency for water management, coastal protection and nature conservation of not having taken any consideration for the breeding waterfowl. In this context, Nabu refers to the ban on killing wild animals, which is laid down in the Federal Nature Conservation Act.

A winter traffic jam on the Ems is legally permitted until the end of March – the transfer of the “Disney Wish” took place on March 30th. The ship, which was built for the Disney Cruise Line shipping company, was finished in Eemshaven. In 2024 and 2025, the Meyer shipyard wants to deliver two more cruise ships of the so-called Triton class.

Sources: NDR / Meyer shipyard / DPA

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