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Passengers evacuated after Viking Line's Amorella runs aground

Rescue workers have evacuated passengers from a ship which ran aground in the Åland archipelago on Sunday afternoon.

Viking Line Amorella passengers being evacuated by the coast guard on Sunday afternoon. Image: Niclas Nordlund / Lehtikuva

Rescue workers have finished evacuating some 200 passengers from Viking Line's Amorella ship after it ran aground on Sunday afternoon. Rescue vessels began evacuating passengers at 3.40pm on Sunday and transporting them to a school in Mariehamn which is serving as an evacuation centre. No injuries have been reported.

Viking Line CEO Jan Hanses said water had seeped into a part of the ship and that either technical or human error caused the accident. The company's spokesperson, Johanna Boijer-Svahnström,said the ship ran aground at 12.50pm in an area called Hjulgrund. This is the site of a similar accident involving Amorella in 2013.

The West Finland Coast Guard tweeted it had not detected any oil leaks in the surrounding waters.

The view from Amorella's deck after running aground on Sunday. Image: Annu Mäkiniemi

Finland’s Safety Investigation Authority (Otkes) meanwhile said it had already started looking into the accident.

"It’s a serious situation anytime a passenger ship of this size runs aground. Abandoning the ship is a pretty radical action to take but in this case it’s probably justified," said Veli-Pekka Nurmi, the authority’s executive director.

He explained that investigators will now check all ship recordings and interview people responsible for steering the ferry. The investigation may take up to nine months to complete, according to Nurmi.

The ship carrying 200 passengers and 80 crew was en route from Turku to Stockholm.

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