Drought affects shipping on Romanian stretch of Danube, but ships still managing to travel

Romanian authorities say a severe drought is affecting shipping on the River Danube but ships are still managing to navigate along Europe's second longest waterway.

Florin Boboc, a port captain in the southern city of Giurgiu told The Associated Press Friday that vessels are loading less because the water is shallower. The river fell to 90 centimeters (35 inches) Friday in Galati, the largest Danube port, almost 5 meters (16.4 feet) below warning levels.

"There are some areas where you can't sail," Boboc said. "Water levels have fallen, but ships are sailing; they're being careful."

He said the most affected areas are about halfway along the 1,075 kilometer (670-mile) Romanian stretch of the river.

Ships transport goods including liquid gas, metal ores and unrefined sugar, as well as passengers.