Three Baltic ferries stuck in the ice

Three ferries got themselves stuck in ice in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday forcing almost 500 passengers to return to the Finnish island of Åland.

Three Baltic ferries stuck in the ice

The ferries – Ånedin Lines’ Birger Jarl, Viking Lines’ Amorella and Tallink’s Sea Wind – managed to break free from thick ice at around 7pm on Tuesday evening.

The Birger Jarl, with 247 passengers on board, had been stuck for over six hours.

The vessel was en route to Stockholm at around lunchtime on Tuesday when she got stuck just north of Norrtälje. The Vidar Viking ice-breaker managed to drag the Birger Jarl free, which then returned to Mariehamn on Åland.

News agency TT asked Ånedin Line why the ship had set sail when there was so much ice in the Baltic.

“Who the hell would have known that so much ice had blown in?” Wolfgang Kukol at the ferry operator said.

The firm announced that Wednesday’s ferries will be cancelled but that the remainder of the week should run as normal.

A further vessel – Viking Line’s Rosella – was also obliged to abort its journey bound for Kapellskär and returned to Mariehamn. All of her 216 passengers were due to return to Sweden on Wednesday with alternative ships.

The freighter Sea Wind arrived in Åbo later than its allotted time of 7pm on Tuesday evening.

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Floods as Swedish cities get two months of rain in 24 hours

Large areas of Sweden saw extreme levels of rain over the weekend, with the city of Linköping receiving more than 100mm of rain in 24 hours, twice as it usually receives in the whole of August. 

Floods as Swedish cities get two months of rain in 24 hours

According to Swedish weather forecaster SMHI, the Linköping-Malmslätt area received 96mm between Saturday night at 8am on Sunday morning. The area normally received between 60mm and 70mm in August as a whole. 

“There was such an absurd amount of rain that the data was at first rejected by our system,” Therese Fougman, a meteorologist at the forecaster, told Sweden’s TT newswire. “It is continuing to rain during the day, and it is lying in a band over Östergötland, Sörmland och further up towards Uppland, predicting there would be a further 40mm to 50mm in the next 12 hours. 

The downpours have led to flooding in several areas, and caused traffic problem with cars at risk of aquaplaning on roads such as the E18, which were covered in a thick layer of water. 

Lennart Ågren, who was the duty leader of rescue services in Östra Götaland, told TT on Sunday afternoon that rescuers had been called out to several floods in Linköping and Mantorp. 

“There were streets under water, and water was running into properties so we had to throw all our resources at it for several hours,” he said. 

In Jönköping, rescue services were called out to flooding at a school and in other places, while in Växjö, lightening hit close to the place where a student party was being held at the local university campus. 

In Linköping, rescue services told TT that they had been called out 30 times. “We’ve been stretched but have managed to handle it,” said Pedher Helmer, who was in charge of rescue services in Östergötland over the weekend. 

The heavy rain is expected to move to Blekinge, Skåne, Öland and Gotland over the coming days, with a risk for flooding.