Diary entryDiary entry
The Szechenyi heads toward the Black Sea
Entering the busy port of Galati, Romania
Entering Ukraine waters
Ukraine's national delegation awaits the JDS2
Last km marker before the end!
Deputy_governor_Odessa oblast.jpg
Csanyi, Weller and Odessa Region Deputy Governor, Nickolai Serdiuk
Well-attended press conference in Vilkovo
Slobodnik, Weller, Liska and Csanyi (left to right)
The Argus's tired Captain assisted by Romanian pilot
Arrival at the final destination of Tulcea
Black Sea at the end of the line
Location map

Hello Ukraine and Black Sea!Hello Ukraine and Black Sea!

Location: Reni, Ukraine
Early in the morning on Sunday September 23, the JDS2 ships left Harsova, Romania with an ambitious plan to sample four sites in one day. The plan was successful with Site 88 (Giurgeni), 89 (Braila), 90 (Siret) and 91 (Prut) sampled before sunset. The last site included a short discussion with Moldovan guards onshore before sampling, and the day ended in Galati, Romania.

On the 24th, after checking out from Galati in the morning, the ships were on schedule entering Ukraine. An Ukrainian delegation led by Oleksander Deziron, JDS2 National Coordinator, welcomed the team onshore. After a three-hour border check-in, the ships filled their tanks with drinking water and gas before heading for some late sampling at Site 92 in Reni. The plan to arrive in Vilkovo, some 110 km away, started to become unrealistic until help arrived from local company ‘Delta Lodsman'. They had sent two professional pilots on a special boat which proceeded to drive the JDS2 ships through the night in waters unknown to the captains of the Szechenyi and Argus (while the JDS2 team celebrated with an on-deck party under a starry and moonlit Danube night). By 3:00 in the morning on Tuesday the 25th, they arrived near Ukraine's Bystroe channel.

Waking up at 7:00, the team sampled Site 94 at Bystroe. The Ukrainian Fish Team, led by Oleksandr Voloshkevych, Director of the Ukrainian Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, took JDS2 Fish Teal Leader Christian Wiesner on a small boat to check nets set up the evening before.

Excitement rose as everybody felt the presence of the Black Sea just a few km away. They couldn't believe that a single-digit km river sign appeared on shore. And then it came - the open sea, real waves, uncountable birds - and the journey of 2,375 km from Kelheim, Germany was completed. For many sailors of the Szechenyi, it was their first time getting to the sea, and they celebrated it with "baptisms" of poured saltwater. The biology trio of Jarmila Makovinska, Bela Csanyi and Momir Paunovic took the Argus's small boat to fulfil their ancient dream - dredging the Black Sea. And although several large waves filled up their boat and the video camera flooded, they still returned to the Argus with broad smiles.

Vilkovo press conference

In the afternoon, a press conference was held in Vilkovo, Ukraine, with the ICPDR's Philip Weller and Igor Liska, as well as JDS2 Team Leader Bela Csanyi and Technical Coordinator Jaroslav Slobodnik. Organised by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine and chaired by Oleksandr Deziron, it attracted significant media attention. The Deputy Governor of the Odessa Region, Nickolai Serdiuk, highlighted the importance of having close cooperation between Ukraine and the ICPDR in dealing with Danube environmental issues, and that Ukraine is doing its best to protect the environment in the Danube Delta including the Bystroe Canal. Water managers from key Ukrainian local and national organisations also contributed to the discussion with overviews of their activities protecting the Danube Delta. During the media discussion, the ICPDR confirmed that the survey could evaluate the impact of the oil terminal in Giurgulesti, Moldova and pollution around Tulcea on the Danube.

After the press conference, the JDS2 Core Team was invited for dinner at the open-air restaurant Pelikan in Vilkovo. By 20:30, the ships checked out from Ukraine and started the journey towards Tulcea, Romania. Again, great support was provided by the local authorities, with a pilot taking over evening duties from the captain of the Argus. By 8:00 the next morning, all three ships made it to Tulcea, even though the captains had not slept properly for two nights.

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  • Early in the morning of the 27th, the ships went through a three-hour border check before passing again back into Romania from Ukraine.
  • At 10:00, the JDS2 Core Team headed toward Tulcea's County Hall for an event dedicated to the official end of the survey, headed by Romania's Lucia Ana Varga, ICPDR President for 2007 and Stat
  • A press conference was held in Vilkovo, Ukraine on September 25. Download the Ukrainian press release, written by the Danube Biosphere Reserve, here.
  • On Saturday morning (September 1), the JDS2 had an extensive check-up by Hungarian Customs and Immigration at the Hungarian-Croatian border.
  • The official launch of JDS2 was held today with a press conference in Regensburg, Germany, and the international distribution of a press release.