TALLINN - A Tallink-owned passenger and car ferry was barred from setting sail from Sweden last week, sparking a row between the owner and a Norwegian firm leasing the vessel.
The Swedish Maritime Administration on Nov. 22 prevented the Fantaasia, which had been under repair in the port of Gothenburg, from embarking, according to reports.
An inspection of the ship found several technical shortcomings, including a missing backup bolt used to lock the bow visor, according to reports. The loudspeaker and emergency lighting systems were also not working properly.
Per Nordstrom, deputy director for safety at the maritime administration, was quoted in Swedish media as saying, "the shortcomings are remarkable. Tallink's irresponsibility is saddening and amazing."
In his words, Tallink should be especially sensitive to safety on board ships since seven years ago it purchased the Estline shipper, which owned the ferry Estonia, which sunk in 1994, taking over 800 lives.
Luulea Laane said the ferry was now the responsibility of charter company Kystlink and expressed hope that the flaws would be eliminated.
A Kystlink spokesperson said the company was aware of some of the flaws when it leased the ship but that Tallink would have to pay the repair costs.
According to Nordstrom, the shortcomings could not have developed over a short period of time. "The sprinkler system would not rust through in a few weeks, and the emergency lighting system was completely absent," he said.
"The shortcomings the inspectors detectedâ€¦ turned out to be much more serious than initially thought," the Svenska Dagbladet reported Nov. 22 on its Web site.