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Passenger ferry accident causes alarm

  • 2005-09-28
  • By TBT staff
TALLINN - Tallink's passenger ferry, Regina Baltica, ran into a reef near the Swedish coast on Sept. 27. According to preliminary reports, the captain lost control of steering due to a technical failure.

The ferry, en route from Stockholm to Tallinn, ran aground six nautical miles from the Swedish Port city of Kappelskar. There were 373 passengers and 167 crew on board, none of whom were injured during the accident.

"If there had been a need to evacuate people, they could have been transferred at once," said Tanel Hinno, a Tallink navigation superintendent. "The Vana Tallinn [passenger ferry] was following close behind to aid in the event of further trouble."

Fortunately, no evacuations were needed.

After working itself lose from the reef, the ship proceeded to the Kappelskar Port, 90 kilometers north of Stockholm, arriving at 2:36 a.m. Passengers were then given the opportunity to transfer to Tallink's Vana Tallinn passenger ferry, which was plying the alternative route between Kappelskar, Sweden and Paldiski, Estonia.

As damages incurred by the vessel posed no risk, Lyod's, the nationally authorized supervisor, cleared the Baltic Regina to proceed on its own to the Finnish port of Turku. There the ship will be examined for technical problems, while experts investigate the cause of the incident.

Hinno reported a minor leak of water in the ship's forepeak, but otherwise, no additional damage was caused.

So far, officials believe the accident was caused by a power failure due to engine trouble, which in turn paralyzed the vessel's steering systems.

The Regina Baltica, plying on the Tallinn-Stockholm route, was built in Finland in 1980. The ship is 145 meters long and can take on up to 1,500 passengers and 810 lane-meters of vehicles. The Regina Baltica was sailing under captain Aivo Palm when it struck land.

Exactly 11 years ago, on Sept. 28, 1994, the ferry Estonia sank in the Baltic while en route from Tallinn to Stockholm. The event marked Europe's worst maritime disaster since World War II. A total of 852 people were killed.