GORINCHEM - About 220 barges have at the height of Gorinchem Woudrichem blocked and a part of the Merwede. The skippers try to stop grain ships Granaria. The police does not intervene, as long as the other ship traffic is not affected by the blockade.

The pilots want to avoid the two pushers and Robert Duo can sail. On that ships fifty riot police present. Also sailing boats around four police.

According to the skippers, the size of the blockade is a sign that the willingness to take action is great. In total there are now about twenty rows of ten to fifteen ships on the river near Gorinchem and Woudrichem.

One of the spokesmen of the skippers had the media for word from the Rotterdam barge White Swan.

"All items will sail to Woudrichem. We hope that sometimes can be meaningful negotiations on the issue "

(The truth, 14-06-1988)

Police meanwhile have their hands full with the action. Not only must the shipping safely along the block are guided. Also stand along side many people who want to see the action up close.


The Rotterdam corn- and feed business Granaria transports feed to the skipper scholarship. Minister Smit-Kroes, the company given permission to take the next five years the shipment in-house. The company employs itself in the ships and personnel.

The skippers are furious about it, because the skipper sidelined exhibition is put. That body is responsible for ensuring that the load is evenly distributed across all boaters. That is, according to the necessary skippers, because there is an overcapacity.


The news hit last year when a bomb inland. Immediately after it became clear that Smit-Kroes had given permission, skippers threw the stock exchanges of Amsterdam and Rotterdam flat. In the Open Havendagen the Nieuwe Maas was blocked.

Two months ago, leaving the first Granaria transport from the Europoort. But once it went wrong. In Rozenburg was stopped by an action-boat skippers. The captain of the barge then dared not sail on.

The transport was stopped a day later. Eighty sailors then boarded. The next day the police did come to an end with hard hand. They were driven by a water cannon ship.

Also in May came to a clash between sailors and the ME. Pusher Robert was on his way to Enschede, when it was stopped at the Nieuwe Maas.

The state police in the water trying to force a passage for the pusher.

"Both the pusher when the ME come under a hail of flying wood, iron pipes, lie paint bags and other projectiles. No one is spared by wiping the barges. "

(reporter Jack Kerklaan, Radio Rijnmond, 11-05-1988)

The blockade of the river can be seen in Gorinchem as a climax to the conflict between Federal Minister Smit-Kroes and skippers. But for now, the captains are this time in the majority, in contrast to the previous times.

Hoe ging het verder?

The action was successful. Minister Smit-Kroes went with the captains to the table and a few days later, the "Agreement of Gorinchem 'a reality.

Granaria decided, at the insistence of the Minister, about a 1 September will not longer own barges to provide their own transportation. In return, the company received compensation from 9,4 miljoen gulden.

That was a bitter pill for Minister Smit-Kroes, as said called shortly after the conclusion of the "peace agreement" with the skippers that the amount would probably not be higher than half a million guilders.

Granaria sells short time later the grain activities and focuses more on nuts and dried fruits.

The skipper grants system disappears late 90s.


Het Vrije Volk – 21-04-1988 – ME stores skipper action down

The truth – 14-06-1988 – Hundreds of ships keep on convoy Granaria

Het Vrije Volk – 14-06-1988 – Granaria blockade grows to over 220 ships

Het Vrije Volk – 04-07-1989 – Of vigor Smit-Kroes has little in Granaria case over

RTV Rijnmond – Vergeten Verhalen – "They think we are criminals’

Author: Dave Datema

published: 01-10-2018

story number: 231

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