The cruise ship Silja Europa will be out of service for at least a week after a broken rudder forced it to be towed into the Port of Turku late Monday afternoon. The Accident Investigation Board has begun probing the incident. A Viking Line ship also experienced trouble in the same area on Sunday night as well.
Almost 1,700 passengers and crew on board the stricken ferry spent Sunday night circling the Åland Islands area between Finland and Sweden.
The problem with the rudder, which prevented the vessel from turning left, began on Sunday evening. Originally, the ship was to arrive in Turku from Stockholm on Sunday after 7 p.m.
Tallink Silja, which owns the ferry, built in 1993, provided travellers with complimentary meals while they awaited return to land. A total of 1,373 passengers and 286 crew members were stranded on the ship.
Tallink says the ship will be in dry dock for at least a week -- a serious blow to the company during a busy period when many groups were booked onto the ship for pre-holiday parties.
Cinderella in Trouble, Too
Another cruise ship, the Cinderella, operated by Tallink's rival Viking Line, also had technical problems on the Baltic on Sunday night.
The Viking Cinderella 89, which is four years older than the Europa, had to return to Stockholm while en route to Mariehamn, capital of the Åland Islands. The shipping line says there was a fault in the vessel's monitoring system.