Passenger ferries freed from Baltic Sea ice

19:30, March 05, 2010      

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The Swedish Maritime Administration said on Friday that all large passenger ferries were freed from the thick ice in the Baltic sea off Sweden's east coast.

The large passenger ferry Amorella from Finland was released from the ice at the edge of an archipelago north of Stockholm and arrived at the Stockholm harbour early morning of Friday, said Johny Lindvall of the Administration's shipping unit.

The ferry with 753 passengers and 190 crew on board was stuck in the ice on the way from Finland to Sweden Thursday night. The Swedish Maritime Administration sent three ice breakers to help it be released from the thick ice.

The Administration said that all vessels including passenger ferries have been freed from the ice outside of Stockholm up to the morning of Friday. The vessels were stuck just outside the Stockholm archipelago Thursday

Another large passenger ferry Isabella, carrying 1,322 passenger and crew, was freed from the ice earlier on Thursday. It was also stuck in the sea north of Stockholm on the way to Finland.

But in the northern parts of the Baltic Sea off Sweden's east coast about 27 ships are awaiting help from ice breakers, according to the Adnimistration.

The recent extreme cold and hard northerly winds have meant that ice is being forced in towards the Swedish Baltic Sea coast and about 50 vessels were stuck in the ice since Wednesday evening.

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