Finnish ferry runs aground near archipelago [updated]

A Finnish ferry carrying some 280 people ran aground on Sunday 20 September. This happened near the Åland Islands between Finland and Sweden. With the help of the authorities, all passengers were evacuated from the ship and transported to the mainland of Åland.

Shipping company Viking Line Scandinavia reports that were no injuries and that the situation on board was ‘stable’. The 169-metre-long ship Amorella carried passengers from Turku in Finland to the Swedish capital, Stockholm. Due to the corona crisis, there were far fewer people on board than usual. The ship normally carries between 1800 and 2000 passengers, says a member of the shipping company’s staff.

According to the shipping company, the vessel had ground contact at Hjulgrund in the Åland archipelago at 12.50 Finnish time and is currently in Järsö in the Åland archipelago. Local media report that the captain allegedly deliberately grounded the ship because of problems on board. It is still unclear what exactly happened. Evacuation of the passengers started at 15.50 and was completed at 17.40.

In a statement, the company says it is currently investigating the extent of the damage. Divers have already examined the ship on Sunday evening. Some damage has been found at the bottom, but is being investigated further. The goal is to transport Amorella to the shipyard. Before that, it is evaluated whether the vessel can be towed. The work schedule has not yet been confirmed and the investigation is expected to take a few days. Viking Line says it will decide with the relevant authorities what measures will be taken.

Until further notice, the ferry Gabriella will take over the ferry service of the Amorella.

Update 22 September: Today the preparatory work is taking place with the aim of being able to move the ship from Järsö to the port of Långnäs, Åland on 23 September. The Amorella will then be repaired at the repair yard in Naantali, Finland. The exact timetable has not yet been determined.

Picture by Martin Falbisoner.

Based in part on information by ANP.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.