Inland shipping


Terms and conditions of access, navigation and berthing in the Port of Dunkirk.

Principale applicable regulations.

Inland vessels may navigate in the port’s maritime waters only if they are in possession of one of the following valid documents:

  • an EU community vessel certificate
  • a special navigation certificate for the Seine Maritime
  • an RVBR Rhine Vessel Inspection Certificate.

These documents must be accompanied by the vessel’s last dry dock inspection certificate.

Side-by-side towing and pushed convoy navigation is authorised only if the relevant type of navigation is specified on the navigation certificate.

Reduced-visibility navigation is authorised only if the boat is fitted with a radar with a speed of rotation indicator.

Vessels carrying bulk liquids to a special berth may enter only following authorisation by the terminal operator.

Prior to entering the port, any vessel carrying hazardous goods must declare the nature of these to DUNKERQUE VTS VHF radio channel 73.

 Passenger vessels are admitted only following authorisation issued by the Harbour Master.

 Navigation in the Eastern Port

  •  Access to the Port of Dunkirk is authorised only following authorisation by the Mardyck lock operator. Requests for access to the Mardyck lock should be made by VHF radio, channel 18.
  • River tankers must contact this lock before approaching the Mardyck river port (Contact radio VHF, channel 18 or phone: +33(0)3 28 28 76 95).
  • Before leaving a river lock or berth, boatmen must call "Dunkerque VTS" on VHF channel 73; they will receive instructions and must remain on VHF standby, channel 73, throughout port transit.
  • Navigation must take place along the edge of channels and docks on the right hand side; warning must be given of manoeuvres at bridges and navigation openings and entry to basins by sounding the required signals.
  • A minimum crew of two is required for navigation within the Port of Dunkirk.

 Mooring in the Eastern Port

  • Vessels may be moored in the port only for commercial operations.
    They must then either leave or moor alongside Freycinet 2.
  • Vessels which have not completed their operations by the evening or which will be working from 6am onwards the following morning may be authorised to moor close to their place of work, but only following permission from "Dunkerque VTS" VHF, channel 73.

 Navigation in the Western Port

  • Before leaving the Dunes lock for the Western Port or before leaving their berth, boatmen must call "Dunkerque VTS" on VHF channel 73 to receive instructions.
  • The attention of boatmen is drawn to the rapid manoeuvres of cross-channel ferries and the ensuing wash. Great care must be taken when navigating in the Western Port docks.

 Mooring in the Western Port

  • Mooring rules are the same as those applicable in the Eastern Port.
  • The attention of boatmen is drawn to the fact that the Western Port is a tidal port with a large tidal range of up to 7 metres. Crews must remain on board throughout the vessel’s stay in the Western Port.

 Speed limits

The speed limits are as follows:

  • 8 knots (15 kph) within the Eastern Port
  • 10 knots (18 kph) within the Western Port
  • 6 knots (11 kph) in the Dunes canal

Full regulations (prefectoral order of January 28, 2004) governing the conditions of access and mooring of river vessels in the Port of Dunkirk :

Full regulations - PDF (134.36 Kb)