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ACCIDENT

Göta Canal passenger boat runs aground

Passengers from 40 different countries were evacuated to safety on Monday morning after a vessel plying the trans-Sweden Göta Canal ran aground near Oxelösund in eastern Sweden.

Göta Canal passenger boat runs aground

The 53 passengers on board the Diana were woken with a start when the mayday was sounded.

“The boat was listing badly and a large number of people were unable to stand on the deck due to the boat’s gradient,” Göran Johansson at the Swedish sea rescue service said to news agency TT.

Four boats and a helicopter participated in the rescue. All 53 passengers were evacuated to safety and were taken to an assembly point in Oxelösund.

Johansson described the atmosphere as positive, considering the circumstances.

“There was no one that was overly distraught, sure it was a little bewildering and shocking but they were in good spirits.”

According to the shipping company the circumstances surrounding the accident remained unclear. A salvage operation is due to commence on Monday afternoon.

“There is no water leaking in but we do not yet know the extent of the damage. We will send down divers before we move her,” Martin Hultman at Strömma Göteborg said.

The passengers, many from Canada and Norway, were on board for a four day cruise from Gothenburg to Stockholm and will be compensated, Hultman confirmed.

The Diana was built in 1931 and is the youngest of the Göta Canal shipping firm’s three vessels. The boat can accommodate up to 55 passengers and has 28 cabins split over three decks.

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ACCIDENT

Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port

UPDATE: A ferry that ran aground next to islands between Finland and Sweden with nearly 430 crew and passengers on board, was refloated and heading for port, its owners said Sunday.

Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port
The Viking Line ship Grace hit rocks in in the Aland archipelago. Photo AFP

The Viking Line's “Grace” hit rocks on Saturday afternoon while sailing between the Finnish port of Turku and the Swedish capital Stockholm, shortly before a stopover in Mariehamn, in the Aland archipelago, Finland's coast guard said.

The passengers had to spend the night on board, though there was no immediate danger as it was not taking on water. No one was hurt in the incident.

A tug boat helped refloat the ferry in the small hours of Sunday morning, the coast guard said on Twitter.

After disembarking around 260 passengers at Mariehamn, it went on to its home port of Turku in Finland, a Viking Line spokeswoman told AFP Sunday. It would undergo repairs in the coming days, she added.

Although the cause of the accident has yet to be established, the coast guard said there were strong winds in the area at the time.

The company cancelled its Saturday ferry service, which was to have been taken by a smaller vessel, because of a storm warning.

In September, another Viking Line ferry, the Amorella, ran aground on the same Aaland Island and the passengers had to be evacuated.

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