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View of the grounded TT Line Marco Polo ferry and a tug boat, as the ferry leaks oil into the Baltic off the coast of Horvik, Sweden October 26, 2023. TT News Agency/Johan Nilsson via REUTERS

View of the grounded TT Line Marco Polo ferry and a tug boat, as the ferry leaks oil into the Baltic off the coast of Horvik, Sweden October 26, 2023. TT News Agency/Johan Nilsson via REUTERS

Salvage Crews Refloat Marco Polo Ferry in Sweden

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 8983
November 1, 2023

Salvage crews from Smit Salvage have successfully refloated the Marco Polo ferry in Sweden.

The ferry, operated by TT-Line of Germany, ran aground on October 22 near Laxören, Sweden, and then again south of Karlshamn, near Horvik, over 20 miles away. All 75 passengers and crew on board were safely evacuated, but the ship has suffered extensive hull damage resulting in the release of an unknown quantity of oil and diesel into the water.

Previous attempts to remove oil from the vessel were temporarily halted due to adverse weather conditions. On Sunday, amid severe weather, the ship floated free but subsequently ran aground again, leading to an additional release of oil.

The exact amount of oil released has yet to be determined, but it is known that the damaged fuel tanks contained 160 cubic meters of oil prior to the accident. The salvage operation has been closely supervised by the Swedish Coast Guard and the Swedish Transport Agency.

Marco Polo ferry refloating
Photo courtesy Swedish Coast Guard

With the assistance of two tugs, the vessel was successfully refloated on Wednesday and has been relocated to deeper waters. It is expected to be towed to Stillerydshamnen on Thursday morning.

The salvage operation and ongoing efforts to mitigate environmental impact continue as authorities work to assess and contain the released oil. No injuries were reported in connection with the groundings, and the focus now remains on minimizing the environmental consequences of the incident as an investigation into the incident gets underway.

Two members of Marco Polo’s crew were charged with negligence in maritime traffic and later sentenced to 50 day fines each.

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