Six men missing as ship sinks off Sweden

Six men are missing at sea after a Norwegian cargo ship sank off the west coast of Sweden, maritime officials said on Friday.

Six men missing as ship sinks off Sweden

The ship, named Langeland, sent out a mayday at around 6am on Friday morning after it began listing in the stormy waters off the coats near the Swedish town of Strömstad, according to a statement by the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA).

“This morning at 6am, we received a distress signal from the Langeland vessel indicating it had problems,” said Dan Nicklasson, a captain with the Swedish coastguard in Gothenburg.

The coastguard has deployed 20 personnel in the search for the missing crewmen, who are from Russia and Poland, but Nicklasson admitted that “time was running out” for them to be found alive.

“No bodies have been found as yet. We have a helicopter and aircraft searching the area now. We found life rafts and wreckage from the ship. We also found patches of oil,” added Christer Fjaellstroem, a duty officer for the Swedish coastguard.

The Langeland, which is 70 metres long and weighs 2,500 tonnes, was loaded with stone and was on en route to Moss in Norway. The sea rescue service has no further details on how much cargo the ship was carrying.

“It is probably the windy weather that is the reason behind the accident. The ship entered the Koster Fjord in search of shelter from the winds” Laila Svendsen at the service told the TT news agency.

According to the Swedish coastguard the Langeland has run into trouble off the Swedish coast on a prior occasion. In February 2007 it ran aground off Landskrona while carrying 30 cubic metres of oil.

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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.