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Finnish Coast Guard Responds to Grounding After Captain Falls Asleep

One of Finland’s most historic cargo ships, the 100-year-old m/s Leonie, grounded this morning in the Åland archipelago and was in danger of sinking. The Western Finnish Coast Guard reports that the vessel was stabilized, but they were remaining on the scene to deal with any environmental effects.

“I fell asleep and ran around,” skipper David Saari told Ålands Radio. “It’s a serious grounding.” 

Built in Norway and entering service in 1923, the vessel previously known as the Greta and now Leonie is approximately 161 feet in length. She is 560 dwt and was reported to be carrying a cargo of 800 cubic meters of oats. She had departed Godby in the Åland and was heading on a northeasterly course to Naantali, near Turku on the southwestern coast of Finland. The ship had a crew of three aboard.

The AIS signal shows the vessel was nearly out of Åland when it suddenly veered to the north and grounded near Vardo, Åland. The captain told the radio interview the concern was that the stern was in 42 feet of water and the ship was taking on water after the grounding.

The Finnish Coast Guard assisted by local volunteers placed pumps aboard the vessel. They were able to stabilize the water but were also concerned because there were six cubic meters of fuel oil aboard. Initial reports said the fuel did not appear to be leaking.

Later in the day, the Coast Guard wrote on its social media on the X platform that “the maritime rescue task is completed.”

Built as a sand dredger, the vessel was recently refurbished. Reports are saying that in addition to her age, she is Finland’s last sand barge in operation. She continues in commercial service carrying grain to Finland and timber to Åland.

Source : Maritime Executive

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