Baltic Sea passenger ferry runs aground off Finnish islands with over 400 people on board

Viking Line cruise ship Viking Grace, run aground with passengers on board, south of Mariehamn, Finland, Saturday, November 21, 2020.
Viking Line cruise ship Viking Grace, run aground with passengers on board, south of Mariehamn, Finland, Saturday, November 21, 2020. Copyright Niclas Nordlund/Lehtikuva via AP
Copyright Niclas Nordlund/Lehtikuva via AP
By Associated Press
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The incident is the second of its kind in two months after another vessel from the same ferry company ran aground off the same archipelago in September.


A Baltic Sea ferry with 331 passengers and a crew of 98 on board ran aground on Saturday in the Åland Islands archipelago between Finland and Sweden.

Tug boats managed to pull the vessel free early on Sunday morning and tow it to nearby the port at nearby Mariehamn where passengers were able to disembark.

Following the grounding, Finnish authorities confirmed that there are "no lives in immediate danger" and the vessel isn't taking on sea water or leaking fuel.

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

The coastguard tweeted a photo showing the M/S Viking Grace stuck just offshore.

"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.

Coastguard officials told Finnish media on Saturday 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 toward land.

In September, Viking Line’s M/S Amorella passenger ferry also ran aground in the Åland 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.

The Amorella struck the sea floor in a different location on the eastern side of the archipelago, just south of the port of Långnäs.

All passengers and crew were evacuated from the vessel. No one was injured in the September incident either.

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