Engine fire forces Baltic ferry evacuation

Engine fire forces Baltic ferry evacuation
Eleven passengers were evacuated from the Sea Wind ferry early on Tuesday morning after a fire broke out in the boat’s main engine as it sailed near the Åland islands in the middle of the Baltic Sea.

The ferry, which was on its way to Stockholm from the Finnish town of Åbo, sent out a distress call at 1.37am Swedish time that a fire had broken out on board.

The main engine was burning, but the boat was maneuverable as it passed by the Nyhamn lighthouse, around 18 kilometres south of Åland’s main port of Mariehamn.

“According to the information I’ve received, the fire was caused by a broken fuel line,” said the coast guard’s Gunnar Silander to Finnish news service FNB.

Coast guard boats from Mariehamn and Storklubb were called to help the troubled ferry. Other emergency boats and fire fighters from Mariehamn, as well as three helicopters also participated in the rescue mission.

When rescuers reached the ferry at about 3:00am, the crew had managed to extinguish the blaze.

On board the ship were 28 crew members and 11 passengers, none of whom had been injured.

The passengers, which included five Finns, five Estonians, and one person from Russia, were evacuated via helicopter to Mariehamn.

The crew remained onboard the ferry in order to help meet a tugboat which will tow the Sea Wind to an emergency harbour southeast of Mariehamn.

There the boat will await several other tugboats which will help bring the ferry back to Åbo.

The ferry, which is operated by a subsidiary of AS Tallink Group, was launched in 1972. It is 153 metres long, 22 metres wide, and can carry up to 120 passengers.