View of Viking Line cruise ferry Viking Grace after it ran aground with some 300 passengers in south of Mariehamn, autonomous Aland Islands territory, Finland November 21, 2020. Lehtikuva/Niclas Nordlund via REUTERS
Update: Passenger Ferry Viking Grace Refloated in Aland Islands
Update: A rescue tug was able to pull the Viking Grace from the rocks early Sunday morning at around 3:40 a.m. The vessel later docked in Mariehamn where passengers were expected to disembark.
November 21 – A Viking Line passenger ferry with 400 passengers and crew on board has ran aground in Finland’s Aland Islands.
The Finnish Board Guard reported that the ship, the Viking Grace, is “firmly aground” but stable near Mariehamn and first responders are on site.
The ship is reported to have 331 passengers and 98 crew on board. No injuries or fuel leaks have been reported.
As of now, all passengers and crew remain on board the vessel, but preparations are in place in case the Captain calls for the evacuation of the passengers.
The Viking Grace is notable for being the first vessel to use a combination of LNG fuel and “rotor sails”, a form of wind propulsion, to reduce fuel consumption, making it one of the most environmentally friendly ferries in the world.
The vessel was en route from Stockholm to Turku, Finland with a stop at Mariehamn when it grounded. The AIS data above shows the track of the ship as it approached Mariehamn.
The incident comes just months after the Viking Line ferry MS Amorella also ran aground in the Aland Islands during its regular route between Turku and Stockholm. The vessel was carrying 200 passengers and 80 crew and was eventually refloated without pollution or injuries.
Update: It seems now that passengers will spend the night on board the ship with rescuers on standby if needed.