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Corona outbreak brings Rauma shipyard to standstill

The scheduled May delivery of a new ferry could be delayed, says the shipbuilding company's CEO.

Image: Anna Wikman / Yle

A coronavirus outbreak has prompted the shutdown of operations at the Rauma shipyard.

More than 100 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed at the yard, with many other of the facility's workers quarantined.

The dock area will be cleaned and disinfected over the weekend, according to Rauma Marine Construction CEO, Jyrki Heinimaa, who noted that work at the site could resume on Monday at the earliest.

The total number of coronavirus cases at the shipyard rose to 106 on Thursday, when 52 new infections were confirmed. About 350 tests at the yard were carried out on Thursday.

Testing of other employees continued on Friday, however, results of the past two days' tests were not available as of midday on Friday.

The situation may end up delaying the completion of the yard's Aurora Botnia ferry project, Heinimaa said.

The CEO confirmed there were delays in building the ship and that there is a risk work on the effort may be halted entirely.

Heinimaa noted that it was impossible to predict how the construction schedule would be affected, but confirmed delivery of the ship would be delayed if the coronavirus situation at the shipyard worsens.

Story continues after photo illustration.

Rendering of the Aurora Botnia, which is under construction at the Rauma shipyard. Image: Rauma Marine Constructions

The Aurora Botnia ship is scheduled to replace the Wasa Express ferry in early May, continuing to shuttle freight and passengers between the Finnish city of Vaasa and Umeå in Sweden.

If delivery is delayed, Wasa Express will continue to operate as it has, according to Peter Ståhlberg , CEO of ferry operator Wasaline.