A ferry that ran aground last month off southeastern Sweden and started leaking oil into the Baltic Sea arrived Thursday at a Swedish harbor where its tanks will be emptied, Sweden’s coast guard said.
The Marco Polo had been sailing between the cities of Trelleborg and Karlshamn when it ran aground Oct. 22, prompting the evacuation of 75 passengers and crew. The boat started leaking oil that fouled a section of Pukavik Bay, affecting an estimated 500 or more birds.
No new leaks were reported as the ship was towed Thursday in the port of Karlshamm, the coast guard said.
The ship’s German operator TT-Line said more than 300 tons of heavy fuel oil remaining aboard the ship would be emptied at the port and that there would be an “in-depth investigation” into what happened.
“We would like to apologize to all residents and those affected,” said Anette Wugk, a spokeswoman for TT-Line in Sweden. “We have never experienced anything like this in our 65-year history.”
Authorities and volunteers have cleared almost 1,800 cubic feet of oil and oil waste from the affected areas so far.
When the ship originally ran aground, it was able to continue traveling under its own power but got stuck a second time. On Sunday, severe weather dislodged it, and the ferry drifted further out before getting stranded a third time. Each time the ferry stranded, leaks were reported.
Swedish prosecutors have fined the ship’s captain and an officer on duty at the time of the initial grounding, saying they acted recklessly by relying on a faulty GPS.