Suspected murder on Finland-Sweden ferry

A 39-year-old Finnish man is being held by Swedish police on suspicion of murder after a witness reports seeing him throw a fellow passenger overboard.

Suspected murder on Finland-Sweden ferry

The usual party atmosphere onboard the Viking Line ferry Mariella was doused in the early hours of Monday morning following the incident.

The Maritime Rescue Centre (Sjöräddningscentralen) was alerted when a man was reported to have fallen overboard as the vessel sailed south of the island of Utö in the Baltic Sea.

The ferry was on its way to Stockholm and continued its voyage as rescue attempts were made. A sea helicopter was dispatched to the scene but failed to recover anyone from the water.

Swedish police were at the harbour when the ferry docked at the Stockholm terminal on Tuesday evening.

”We assume it was murder,” police commissioner Bengt Carlsson told newsagency TT. ”The man is suspected on reasonable grounds.”

A male witness told police he saw the man being thrown overboard by a fellow passenger.

”He saw two men talking out on the deck which seemed harmless enough but then suddenly this happened,” Carlsson added.

The witness and two men were questioned and the 39-year-old was taken into custody at around 18.40 on Tuesday. The second man is not believed to be a suspect at this stage.

Police have conducted a forensic investigation of the ferry and lengthy video footage from security cameras is being reviewed.

They are now appealing to passengers who could have witnessed the incident and are liaising with Finnish police over the matter.

As the incident took place in Finnish territory the man could be handed over to Finnish authorities who could lead the the ongoing investigation.

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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.