Finland fails: more than 400 people stranded overnight

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No initial injuries were reported from the incident, as the Viking Line ferry sailed between Stockholm, Sweden, and Turku, Finland, with a brief stopover scheduled at Mariehamn.

According to a statement released by Viking Line in Finland, the ship ran aground just off shore at 3:49 p.m. (8:49 a.m. ET). CNN affiliate MTV3 reported that high winds were blowing in the area as the vessel grounded.

Social media videos from witnesses on the island showed stormy waves crashing over the bow of the ship as it was propped up against the shore.

Finnish Coast Guard divers examined the hull of the stranded vessel and said it was not picking up water or leaking fuel. Passengers were told they would stay on board overnight but would be rescued on Sunday.

“Tomorrow morning there will be plans to evacuate via tugs,” Lt. Lars Saarinen of the West Finland Coast Guard District told CNN.Measuring 218 meters (around 238 yards) long with 10 decks, the MS Viking Grace was built to carry nearly 3,000 passengers, but capacity on board has been limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Viking operates several ferries per day between Turku and Stockholm, approximately 10 hours one-way trip.

It is the second Viking Line ship to be beached off the Aland Islands, a Swedish-speaking part of Finland in the Baltic Sea, in the past two months.

In September, another Viking Line passenger ferry, the MS Amorella, also ran aground on the Aland Islands. Narrow passages and shallow waters are a defining feature of the waters around the islands, making it a difficult area in which to operate large vessels.

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