Baltic Sea ferry runs aground in Finnish waters

Updated 22 Nov 2020

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People gather after Viking Line cruise ferry Viking Grace ran aground with some 300 passengers in south of Mariehamn, autonomous Aland Islands territory, Finland. — Reuters
People gather after Viking Line cruise ferry Viking Grace ran aground with some 300 passengers in south of Mariehamn, autonomous Aland Islands territory, Finland. — Reuters

HELSINKI: A Baltic Sea ferry with 331 passengers and a crew of 98 has run aground in the Aland Islands archipelago between Finland and Sweden.

Finnish authorities say there are no lives in immediate danger and the vessel isn’t leaking.

The Finnish coast guard tweeted on Saturday afternoon that the Viking Line ferry that runs between the Finnish port city of Turku and Swedish capital Stockholm hit ground just off the port of Mariehamn, the capital of the Aland Islands.

The coast guard tweeted a photo showing the M/S Viking Grace stuck just off shore.

Viking Grace has ran aground in front of Mariehamn. Firmly grounded, no leaks....The first rescue units are on site, the tweet said.

The vessel was en route from Stockholm to Turku with a scheduled stop at Mariehamn. Strong storm winds prevailed in the area at the time. Ferry operator Viking Line confirmed the incident and said it was investigating.

Coast guard officials told Finnish media that the Viking Grace, a large vessel capable of carrying up to 2,800 passengers, was near the shore when for some reason it seemed to have floated towards land.

In September, Viking Lines M/S Amorella passenger ferry also ran aground in the Aland Islands, an autonomous Finnish territory that consists of thousands of named and unnamed islands. Its shallow waters and narrow passages are particularly tricky to navigate for large ships. No one was injured in the Sept incident.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2020