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Port of Antwerp, Belgium

The Port of Antwerp is a famous cargo handling port but is also only 300m from the historic city center, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The Port needed to keep their waters clear of unsightly llitter and debris.

Also, as a developing cruise port it handles 14,000 sailings per year to over 800 overseas destinations, and floating debris was causing a risk to navigation.

Over 130 million tonnes of cargo a year pass through the Port, making it the second largest in Europe and the fourth in the world. An effective solution was needed to remove all types/sizes of floating debris, man-made waste, litter, and other pollutants.

The workboat also had to be able to navigate the tidal River Scheldt, so really had to offer suitable performance, speed and seaworthiness.

Water Witch provided a successful solution to all these problems with a single multi-purpose vessel and efficient barge system.


  • Regeneration of docks around the Port into commercial, retail and leisure zones - clean up and maintenance of waterways
  • Keep the Port clear of floating natural/man-made debris, aquatic vegetation, waste, garbage, and other pollutants
  • A seaworthy, powerful workboat to navigate the tidal River Scheldt
  • High performance - approx. 2,103 ha work area to patrol and maintain
  • Excellent cabin facilities - crew working a 8 hour shift required toilet, kitchen, mess area
  • Work platform


Equipment provided by Water Witch included:

  • One special-build Mark 3 (the 68th to be built)
  • Fitted with a re-designed standard cabin arrangement incorporating cooking and mess facilities
  • A Panda 240 AC 7.1 KVA Generator unit, providing a 240v electrical system
  • A Work Platform for personnel access
  • A Hydrainer 51 litre per second submersible water pump, driven off the boats own hydraulic system for fire, salvage and wash down duties
  • 3 Waste Transfer barges offering a flexible storage capacity of up to 36 cubic meters.


  • The Water Witch was able to push Skipper Barge units at full speed (8.5 knots), even when fully loaded with debris at a weight of 20 tonnes
  • By removing the problem of unsightly floating debris before reaching the foreshore or high profile tourist areas, the successful results could be seen immediately
  • Investment in the pollution control workboat demonstrated the port's continued commitment to the environment. It also raised environmental awareness throughout the local authority and the wider port community
  • The Port of Antwerp uses specialist contractors to deal with both small/major oil spill incidents. So while it did not have a requirement for our additional oil spill response equipment or attachments, the Water Witch provides an ideal platform for assisting in any incidents if needed.