Finnish ferry operator Viking Line reported that its passenger ferry Viking Grace has been towed to a shipyard in Turku after the vessel ran aground on 21 November off the coast of Mariehamn, in the Finnish archipelago of the Aland Islands
A Viking Line spokesperson told Passenger Ship Technology the ship only suffered minor damage and would return to service sailing from Turku starting 29 November.
“The vessel was slightly damaged and sailed on its own engine to Turku, and on 24 November, from Turku harbour to Turku Repair Yard in Naantali,” said Viking Line vice president corporate communication Johanna Boijer. “We are very grateful that the damage to Viking Grace is minor. One of the ship’s propellers was damaged and is being repaired. The bottom was not damaged. That it can return to traffic so quickly is gratifying. The vessel has a docking planned for September 2021. We can now skip that work and do the service work now.”
No injuries to the 331 passengers and 98 crew members on board were reported. At the time of the incident, the ferry was sailing between Stockholm, Sweden and Turku, Finland, with a brief stopover planned in Mariehamn.
The ferry struck rocks in a narrow passage amid strong winds and heavy rain, mid-afternoon Saturday local time, before its scheduled brief call at Mariehamn, the main port town of Finland’s autonomous Aland archipelago.
Following the incident, a tweet by the Finnish coastguard said the vessel was firmly grounded and there were no leaks.
218-m, LNG-fuelled Viking Grace was built to carry close to 2,800 passengers, but the company said on board capacity has been restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Viking Grace was towed to Mariehamn ferry terminal and will reach Turku Repair Yard in the coming days.
As of 23 November, the ship has been replaced by Viking Gabriella until the end of the month.
A statement from Viking Line read “The authorities and the classification society Lloyd’s Register have given permission for Viking Grace to transport the remaining passengers from Mariehamn to Turku under its own power. There is no security risk. Passengers travelling to Åland have disembarked in Mariehamn and passengers to Sweden will continue to Stockholm with Amorella in the afternoon.”
In September, Amorella, which operates on the same route, also ran aground.
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