A Baltic Sea passenger ferry with nearly 300 people on board has run aground in the Aland Islands archipelago between Finland and Sweden.
Rescuers evacuated the vessel’s passengers to shore, Finnish authorities said.
The Finnish coastguard said the M/S Amorella, operated by ferry company Viking Line between the Finnish city of Turku and the Swedish capital Stockholm, hit ground south of the port of Langnas in the Aland Islands.
“There are no reported human casualties,” Viking Line said in a short statement, adding that the situation with the vessel was “stable”. The vessel had 200 passengers and a crew of 80.
Authorities are investigating why the ferry ran aground.
Viking Line’s CEO said that the accident was caused either by technical failure or human error.
“Something has gone wrong with the ship’s steering,” said Jan Hanses, adding that water had leaked into one of the vessel’s sections but was unable to specify how bad the leakage was.
The coastguard said it had not observed oil leakage in the area as a result of the grounding.
The number of passengers on board the vessel, capable of carrying up to 2,500 people, was unusually low because of the Nordic region’s coronavirus travel restrictions which have badly hit Baltic Sea ferry companies.
The Aland Islands, an autonomous Finnish territory, are midway between the two port cities and M/S Amorella was set to make a scheduled stop there en route to Stockholm.
The archipelago consists of thousands of named and unnamed islands and its shallow waters and narrow passages are particularly tricky to navigate for large ships.
Finnish media reported that the M/S Amorella ran aground in the same place in 2013.