Arctic Sea sister ship runs aground off Sweden

A freighter belonging to the owners of the hijacked cargo vessel Arctic Sea has run aground off Sweden, a Swedish coastguard official said on Saturday.

The Liberian-flagged Arctic Sky will now head for Riga, Latvia for repairs.

The Arctic Sky was carrying wood from Finland to Egypt when it ran aground outside of Singö near Norrtälje, north of Stockholm.

“The vessel has passed by the wrong side of the Understen lighthouse and you can’t get through there by ship,” Kenneth Neijnes, at the Swedish coastguard said.

Neijnes said there had been no oil leak and the ship had not been in danger of sinking, while media reports said it had hit rocks. Divers found it was only slightly damaged.

The Arctic Sea, owned by the Finnish Solchart Management company, was allegedly seized by pirates in the Baltic in July and then recaptured by the Russian navy in August off west Africa.

There remains a cloud of mystery surrounding the Arctic Sea amid speculation has raged that the ship might have been carrying a clandestine cargo.

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‘Phantom’ ship drama caused by overloading

Too much load on the deck, inappropriate ballast to stabilize the ship, and poor manuals and guidelines for securing the load are the reasons behind drama at sea involving the Gibraltar-flagged Phantom outside of Öland in 2012.

'Phantom' ship drama caused by overloading

The report on the incident has been compiled by the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority (Statens Haverikommission) and published on Thursday.

Helicopters dashed to the rescue of the six-man crew of the merchant ship in February 2012 after it began listing heavily in the Baltic Sea.

The crew were winched to safety in darkness after the 80-metre vessel “Phantom” developed a heavy list late Wednesday shortly after leaving Oskarshamn in southern Sweden.

“It all went very quickly. We had to really rush there with helicopters, and the crew were chilled and had not even managed to get on their rescue suits. It was very worrying,” coastguard spokesman Jonas Andersson told AFP at the time.

The Gibraltar-flagged vessel had loaded sawn timber in Oskarshamn and was heading for Casablanca in Morocco.

The mainly-Russia crew were flown to hospital in Kalmar and the vessel was towed back into port in Oskarshamn after a battle involving several coastguard vessels.

There was a real risk of the ship sinking and shedding its cargo and fuel in the Baltic Sea but disaster was ultimately avoided after an extensive and dramatic operation.

TT/AFP/The Local

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