The new cleaning boat named Damona is the first electric and zero-emission boat acquired by the Port of Brussels. It joins the Castor (2006) and the Botia (2019), the two other cleaning boats that have been active in the port for several years.
The boat was launched on June 2 by the Port of Brussels, in the presence of Alain Maron, Brussels Minister in charge of the environment and Gert Van der Eeken, the new director general of the Port of Brussels.
The name Damona was chosen by the teams from the Port of Brussels harbor master’s office, who will use the boat on a daily basis. The name is an homage to the Gallic goddess of springs and rivers. It was built by the British company “Water Witch Ltd. », based in Liverpool, after a call for tenders launched by the Port of Brussels in 2021. The cost was €79,927.
This new boat reinforces the material means of the Port of Brussels to improve the cleanliness of the 80 ha of water surface in the 14 km of the canal in the Brussels-Capital Region. At present, the cleaner boats go out almost every day, depending on the available personnel, unless the weather conditions do not allow it. The Port is also in the process of finalizing the procedure for hiring two sailors who will soon come to reinforce the team and will therefore allow a greater number of outings on the canal.
Each year, between 200 and 250 m3 of waste are collected in this way (not counting what is collected separately such as mattresses, bicycles picked up using a magnet and abandoned on the banks, etc.) The harbor master’s teams also regularly maintain the banks and quay walls using high-pressure cleaners. Thus, the entire quay wall along the royal estate was refurbished in 2018 and 2019.
Alain Maron, Brussels Minister for the Environment emphasised the efforts of the Brussels Region on improving the situation with the waste in the canal – “Cleanliness is a common good. It is essential for our quality of life and the quality of our environment. Since canal is the lowest point in our Region and also a gigantic basin storm, it collects a good part of the waste generated by urban life, which must be collected regularly so that it does not flow into the sea. At the same time, I also want to act upstream, with all the stakeholders of the public cleanliness to prevent waste from ending up on the ground or in the canal. This is the objective of the first regional strategy for urban cleanliness, on which we are currently working with the municipalities and all the players concerned to combat effectively against uncleanliness by acting on all fronts: waste reduction, awareness, prevention, adequate planning of the city, etc.”
Special efforts are also made for inland shipping, which has a specific waste park at the Molenbeek lock. Boatmen can drop off paper and cardboard, PMD, glass and non-recyclable residual waste there. Additionally, a collection service for oily and greasy waste and small hazardous waste will be introduced soon. There is also a joint service between the Port of Brussels and De Vlaamse Waterweg for the collection of engine oils and bilge water.
On the occasion of the launch of the Damona cleaning boat, the Port of Brussels also announced the forthcoming development of a “Port Sud” cleaning center at the Anderlecht lock. One of the three cleaning boats will be permanently based there. This investment also represents a significant time saving since the cleaning boats will no longer have to come from the outer port to carry out cleaning missions in the south of the region. They will thus be able to carry out more frequent cleaning missions, also in the south.
More info about the new cleaning boat on the Port of Brussels website.
Photos: Port of Brussels