‘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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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.