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ACCIDENT

Baltic cruise ship adrift after power failure

A cruise liner carrying some 2,000 crew and passengers spent much of Sunday adrift in the Baltic seas after a power outage, according to the Swedish sea rescue.

Baltic cruise ship adrift after power failure

The liner operated by the Swiss-Italian company MSC Cruises broke down off the Swedish island of Gotland.

“It appears that there was a complete electrical failure. In that situation, the engines do not work,” Birger Knutsson of the rescue centre told AFP.

In a statement on Sunday evening, the cruise firm said the boat would be towed to the port of Nynashamn near Stockholm overnight, where it would organise the repatriation of its 1,800 passengers.

Travellers would be offered another cruise, valid until December 2012, the Geneva-based company said.

The MSC Opera left Southampton on May 7th for a 10-night trip taking in Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg and Copenhagen, and was due to return to Southampton on Tuesday.

The massive ship began drifting at about 11:00 am (0900 GMT) and by 1730 GMT was approximately 10 kilometres (six miles) from Visby, Gotland’s main town, Knutsson said.

It was scheduled to arrive in Nynashamn towards the end of Monday morning, MSC said.

A company representative said the majority of the passengers were thought to be Europeans.

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ACCIDENT

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.

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