• Sweden's news in English

Thousands stuck in Baltic Sea freeze

AFP/The Local · 5 Mar 2010, 07:27

Published: 05 Mar 2010 07:27 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Several vessels, including a Viking Line passenger ferry carrying around 1,000 people, had collided with each other as they drifted amid huge blocks of

moving ice.

But the Viking Line ferry company insisted "there was at no time any danger to the passengers."

Around 50 commercial vessels and as many as six large passenger ferries had been stuck in the ice Thursday, Johny Lindvall of the Swedish Maritime Administration's ice breaker unit told AFP around 8.30pm.

Two of the ferries, including the large Isabella passenger ferry carrying 1,322 passengers and crew, had been freed after getting stuck off Kapellskär where the ice was at its worst, he said.

Four other ships, including the Amorella, another passenger ferry with almost 1,000 people on board, remained stuck overnight. The Amorella eventually broke free in the early hours of Friday morning

At around 12am, Sveriges Radio reported that a third vessel, a cargo ship, had been freed from the area.

The ferries, nearly all transporting passengers between Sweden and Finland, had run into trouble just outside the Stockholm archipelago, made up of more than 20,000 islands, Lindvall said.

"They got caught outside the archipelago, where there is moving ice. It's hard to navigate," he said, adding that he had not seen a situation with so many ships stuck at once since the mid-1980s.

Sweden has suffered an unusually harsh winter this year, with temperatures across the country almost continuously well below freezing since December.

With freezing winds whipping the Baltic over the past week, it was easy for ships to get caught in the ice, Lindvall said.

The Amorella and the Regal Star, which was the first to get snagged in the ice at around 12am Thursday and which had been on its way to Estonia, were among the vessels that remained ice-bound.

The ships were close to each other, and at least two of them had collided, according to Viking Line, which owns the Isabella and Amorella.

"Amorella and Finnfellow collided when the ships were trying to break lose from the ice" the company said on its website.

Viking Line head Jan Kaarstroem meanwhile insisted in an interview with the TT news agency that his company's ferries were well equipped to handle ice and that all the passengers were safe.

Passengers on the Amorella had been requested to all move to the front of the boat to avoid a collision, according to Mats Nyström.

The two ships "were simply drifting towards each other," the Amorella passenger said in an interview with Sveriges Radio.

Story continues below…

Another passenger, 55-year-old Rigmor Okoli, said it was frightening just drifting out on the Baltic Sea.

"It is so dark everywhere," she told the Expressen tabloid's online edition.

"We have no idea how or when we'll get home."

Three ice breakers are in the area where the ferries are stuck. Before the third one arrived late Thursday, Lindvall told AFP he expected the remaining ships to "be stuck there until tomorrow morning at least."

Many of the commercial vessels had meanwhile got stuck in the narrow Bay of Bothnia, where the ice is thicker, and around the autonomous Åland islands, Lindvall said.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:47 March 5, 2010 by Grippen
Wow, Global Warming at its best :)
11:27 March 5, 2010 by Åskar
Someone connected to the ice breaker service said in the radio this morning that this is a normal winter. We have just forgotten about them during the last ten years or so of mild winters.
12:01 March 5, 2010 by tollermann
@Grippen - nice observation, too bad leftist politicians don't see the irony as well!
12:41 March 5, 2010 by Luckystrike
@Grippen. That's why they dont call it "Global warming" anymore. It's now referred to as "Climate Change".
13:12 March 5, 2010 by xavidx
You would think that after the first guy got stuck the others would cancel their trip.

50 ships is alot.
23:11 March 5, 2010 by Luckystarinsweden

I had read an article several years ago in which some reknown scientists were actually warning that, as strange as it may sound, global warming would cause Europe to... freeze. They were explaining that until now Europe had experienced quite nice and warm temperatures thanks to the Gulf Stream which brings hot waters close to western Europe's coasts before heading up to the Arctic. Because of global warming, the Gulf would slow or even stop causing Europe to freeze. Strange, isn't it?
10:50 January 11, 2011 by PhillipGaley
This is ridiculous: Every year, Winter comes about this same time-if you see rain clouds, the real men don't need umbrellas and coats; if you're facing freezing temperatures, real men don't need anti-freeze; if dangerous ice floes are reported, whada ya' do? I'd hop in m'damn ship and get out there t'see what happens-wouldn't you?
Today's headlines
Julian Assange
Sweden won't suspend Assange warrant for funeral
Assange has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

The WikiLeaks founder has requested a temporary suspension of an arrest warrant so he could leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London for a funeral.

'I want to see women priests in the Catholic Church'
Archbishop Antje Jackelén meeting Pope Francis earlier in 2016. Photo: L'Osservatore Romano/AP

'I told the pope last year during a speech it is time to no longer speak for women about women, but to speak with women,' Sweden's Archbishop says.

Sweden one of world's easiest places to do business: report
A meeting at a Stockholm office. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

It is easier to do business in Sweden now than it was last year, according to a World Bank report.

This Swede has built a procrastinator's dream
Anders Åberg has built a website that allows you to hear what’s going on above the Earth. Photo: Personal & NASA

Ever wondered what's going on in the sky above the earth and in space? Now you can hear for yourself.

Presented by Malmö Tourism
Seven reasons why Malmö is the football capital of Sweden
Players from FC Rosengård, Sweden's most successful women's football team. Photo: Hangsna

It’s official, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.

Fake police car driver seized after confronting real police
File photo of a police car. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Three men in a fake police car were left red-faced after they tried to stop a man in southern Sweden who turned out to be an off-duty officer.

This tiny bird can fly for ten months straight: scientists
The common swift while not in flight. Photo: Madis Veskimeister/Wikimedia

Swedish scientists have found that this bird stays in the air for almost a year without landing.

Why the Pope is visiting Sweden next week
Pope Francis in the Vatican. Photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Pope to nail reconciliation agenda to Lutherans' door in southern Sweden.

The Local Recipes
How to make no-knead sourdough bread like a Swede
No-knead sourdough bread. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Swedes love their sourdough bread. Food writer John Duxbury shares his favourite Swedish recipe for a no-knead loaf.

Meet Sweden's lonely Donald Trump voter
A Donald Trump campaign button. Photo: Rogelio V Solis/AP

The Local talks to an American Donald Trump supporter on what it is like living in progressive stronghold Sweden.

Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available