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Finnish cruise ship evacuated after running aground in Baltic sea

[STOCKHOLM] A Finnish passenger cruise ship was evacuated on Sunday after it ran aground off the island of Aland in the Baltic Sea, the cruise line and emergency services said Sunday.

The ship was headed towards Stockholm from Turku in Finland and ran aground around 12:50 am local time (0950 GMT) outside the city of Mariehamn on the autonomous Finnish island of Aland near the Swedish coast.

"There are no personal injuries and no-one's life is in danger, and the situation aboard is stable," Eleonora Hansi, head of information for Viking Line Scandinavia, told AFP.

The ship, Amorella, is 169 metres long and does daily trips between Stockholm in Sweden and Turku in Finland.

Normally it carries between 1,800 and 2,000 passengers but due to the pandemic the number was heavily reduced, Ms Hansi said.

"There are about 200 passengers and about 80 crew members onboard," Ms Hansi said.

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Local media reported that passengers had gathered on deck and were wearing life jackets.

Broadcaster YLE also reported that according to the crew's Mayday call, the ship had sprung "leaks in multiple locations" as a result of the impact.

Finnish maritime rescue services said on Twitter that the ship had moved closer to shore after the hit to "beach itself and stabilise the situation".

"Amorella stands firmly on the bottom. The 281 people onboard are not in immediate danger but the captain has decided that all extra people be evacuated from the ship," the West Finland Coast Guard said.

Around 5:30 pm, the coast guard wrote on Twitter that all passengers had "been evacuated to shore," and that part of the crew was "next to be evacuated".


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