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Three-month suspended sentence for skipper of capsized water bus

Apart from the captain's sentence, the court slapped the chairman of the shipping company with a 500-euro fine.

M/s Mässkär upposi torstaina puolimatkassa Pietarsaaren vanhastasatamasta Mässkärin saarelle.
M / s Mässkär sank last August half-way between Old Harbor of Jakobstad and Mässkär island. Image: Robin Bokull

The captain of a water bus that sank last summer off the coast of Jakobstad (Pietarsaari in Finnish) in Western Finland has received a suspended sentence of three months. The District Court of Ostrobothnia found the skipper of m/s Mässkär, Daniel Sjö, guilty of endangerment and neglecting the seaworthiness of the vessel.

The water bus sank off the Ådö fishing port last August — all 27 people on board were rescued from the sinking vessel.

According to the District Court, this was serious negligence, as the captain did not call for help or give the passengers any instructions during the incident.

In addition to a three-month suspended sentence for the captain, the chairman of the Mässkär board received a fifteen-day fine for a water traffic offence, totalling some 500 euros.

The boat owners already settled with passengers last October — they received a small compensation as per their demands.

The sunken ship was used to ferry passengers between the Old Harbor of Jakobstad and the island of Mässkär. Now a new, bigger ship operates on the same route.

It was reported last year that the vessel owners suspected the water bus may have had a faulty exhaust pipe which caught fire, causing the leak.

The 10-metre long vessel — registered for 22 passengers and two crew members — was also overcapacity by three people.

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