Collection page for the Swedish Coast Guard's news on Marco Polo

Operation Marco Polo 231024 Oil Cleanup. The Swedish Coast Guard's crews are working hard to clean up the oil following Marco Polo's oil spill, along with many others. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard.

The Swedish Coast Guard's news updates on the oil spill caused by the passenger ferry Marco Polo grounding south of Karlshamn, Blekinge, on Sunday, October 22.

News Update November 6, 2023, 12:41:

No new oil found in Pukavik Bay over the weekend

The Swedish Coast Guard's work following Marco Polo's grounding continues. Over the weekend, Pukavik Bay in Blekinge has been searched by ships, drones (UAS), and aircraft in the search for oil. Diving operations have also been conducted at the three grounding sites where Marco Polo ran aground to locate any oil that may have sunk.

Despite extensive search efforts below and above the surface, no recoverable oil has been found at sea or at the bottom of the grounding.

Over the weekend, Marco Polo has been emptied of oil and cargo. The Swedish Coast Guard has been informed that the shipping company's intention is to tow Marco Polo to Gdansk later this week. During the tow, the Swedish Coast Guard will escort Marco Polo until she reaches international waters and leaves the Swedish economic zone.

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News Update November 4, 2023, 11:33:

Continued Cleanup and Preparedness at Sea

The Swedish Coast Guard is working on cleaning up the ship and equipment from oil. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

On Saturday morning, Marco Polo was moved with the assistance of tugboats to the ferry terminal in Stillerydshamnen, Karlshamn, to be unloaded of cars and trucks. The Swedish Coast Guard was on-site with smaller boats and shore responders in case of a new oil leak. The transfer went smoothly, and no oil leaked.

The Swedish Coast Guard maintains a presence at Pukavik Bay to handle any previously leaked oil that may surface. Crews on ships and aircraft continued to search for oil on Saturday. Pukavik Bay was inspected, but no recoverable oil within the Swedish Coast Guard's jurisdiction was found.

Work on cleaning ships and equipment from oil continues over the weekend.

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News Update Friday, November 3, at 10:45:

The Swedish Coast Guard Holds On and Persists

The Swedish Coast Guard maintains a presence at Pukavik Bay to handle any previously leaked oil that may surface.

On Friday, the Swedish Coast Guard is mapping the area again with aircraft and ships to see if any visible oil is present at sea. Divers will be sent to different locations to assess the underwater situation, and drones will be used to scan the area throughout the day.

At the same time, an extensive cleanup of ships and equipment from oil continues.

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News Update Thursday, November 2, at 12:30:

Marco Polo Docked in Karlshamn - Continued Oil Preparedness at Sea

The passenger ferry Marco Polo has been towed to Stillerydshamnen in Karlshamn. The towing process went without complications or new oil spills. The Swedish Coast Guard maintains a presence in Pukavik Bay in case previously leaked oil is discovered.

The towing process began as planned at 8 am on Thursday morning. The Swedish Coast Guard followed the towing operation with several units in case of a new oil leak. When the ship was docked at Stillerydshamnen, the municipal rescue service took over, and the Swedish Coast Guard provides support from the sea when needed.

The Swedish Coast Guard will maintain its presence in Pukavik Bay in case previously leaked oil is discovered. In parallel, ships and equipment used for oil recovery will be cleaned.

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News Update Wednesday, November 1, at 18:20:

Marco Polo Expected to be Towed to Karlshamn Thursday Morning

The salvage company has informed the Swedish Coast Guard and the Transport Agency of their intention to tow Marco Polo to Stillerydshamnen in Karlshamn on Thursday morning. The work will begin at 8:00 and is expected to continue until noon.

On Wednesday morning, Marco Polo was refloated from the grounding it was on last Sunday and was towed to a nearby location for anchoring. The salvage company then conducted new inspections of the ship's condition.

The oil spill was less than feared during the transfer, thanks in large part to the salvage company's decision not to pressurize the tanks closest to the damaged areas. The Swedish Coast Guard had multiple units on-site on Wednesday and cleaned up the small amount of oil found at sea.

The contracted salvage company is responsible for the towing, with a pilot on board. The Swedish Coast Guard is allocating resources to ensure that any leaking oil is properly handled.

Once Marco Polo is docked in the port, the municipal rescue service takes over, and the Swedish Coast Guard assists from the sea.

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News Update Wednesday, November 1, at 12:00:

Salvage of Marco Polo has begun

On Wednesday morning, the salvage work of the ship Marco Polo started according to plan. The towing is based on the salvage plan proposed by the shipping company's salvage company and approved by the Swedish Coast Guard and the Transport Agency.

The Swedish Coast Guard has multiple units in place to be prepared in case of an oil spill during the towing. A small amount of oil has been released during the morning. The Swedish Maritime Administration is on-site with a pilot, and units from the Swedish Sea Rescue Society are available at the location.

The towing process involves the following steps:

1. Two tugboats are connected to the ship, one at the bow and one at the stern, to stabilize the ship.

2. The ship is pressurized to keep it afloat and prevent it from being grounded.

3. Once the ship is afloat, Marco Polo is towed to deeper water to be anchored.

4. After anchoring is secure, new inspections of the hull are conducted to assess the damage. The entire hull could not be inspected previously as the ship was grounded.

5. The ship is towed to Stillerydshamnen in Karlshamn.

It is not the Swedish Coast Guard that inspects the hull; this is done by the contracted salvage company appointed by the shipping company's insurance company. The diving operations are expected to be completed on Wednesday afternoon.

The Swedish Coast Guard closely monitors the situation and is ready with multiple units to handle oil and minimize the spread of any potential spills. The Swedish Maritime Administration is responsible for piloting Marco Polo into the port. Many parties are working together to salvage Marco Polo.

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News Update Tuesday, October 31, at 14:30:

The Swedish Coast Guard Advocates Salvaging Marco Polo on Wednesday

On Tuesday, the shipping company presented a new salvage plan for the ferry Marco Polo, which is grounded south of Karlshamn. The Swedish Coast Guard and the Transport Agency are reviewing the details of the salvage plan, and once they have provided their input, the salvage operation can begin.

Simultaneously, preparations for salvage have been made aboard the ship, which is expected to take a few more hours after the plan is fully established.

The Swedish Coast Guard recommends that the salvage operation starts in daylight on Wednesday because there

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News Update Thursday, October 26th at 12:30:

Hard work to handle oil reaching the shores

The situation of the grounded ship Marco Polo remains stable, and it is still stuck on the ground. No oil is visible on the sea surface, neither around the stranded ship nor off the coast of Skåne or other parts of Blekinge. Currently, all involved parties are focused on retrieving oil from beaches and coves where the oil is among rocks in shallow areas.

The offshore situation is unchanged

The Coast Guard's aircraft cannot detect oil on the sea surface. The oil that can currently be retrieved is on the beaches in the affected area, from Hörvik in the south to Lörby Kladd in the north.

There is no information that oil has reached the coast of Skåne.

Resources are now directed to the beaches. The Coast Guard is intensifying efforts to retrieve as much of the oil in the water in the bays as possible. The adverse weather conditions make the work challenging.

If oil were to float up to the sea surface, retrieval resources are ready.

At the same time, the Coast Guard is strengthening its organization in Hörvik to manage personnel, equipment, and resources.

Marco Polo remains grounded

Two tugboats, at the request of the shipping company, are on-site to stabilize and secure the vessel if necessary. Work continues on the salvage plan, which requires approval from the Transport Agency and the Coast Guard before it can be implemented. Based on the current situation, it is estimated that it will take several days before salvage can begin.

Suspected crime reported

On Wednesday, two crew members of the Marco Polo were informed of suspicion of negligence in maritime traffic related to the grounding. The Coast Guard's criminal investigation has shown that there is a reasonable suspicion of a crime directed at two crew members who have acted negligently in connection with the two groundings, either through their actions or lack of action.

The Coast Guard has an understanding of the sequence of events. Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, we cannot provide more detailed information at this time.

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News Update Wednesday, October 25th at 18:00:

Oil from Marco Polo spread along a coastline for several kilometers

Oil from the spill caused by the ferry Marco Polo is no longer visible on the sea surface. However, the oil continues to move beneath the surface. Wednesday's flights over the area show that a three-kilometer stretch of coastline in Blekinge has been affected by oil, from Krokås in the south to Lörby Kladd in the north, with streaks of oil even near Norje.

Collaboration and shoreline efforts are a priority

The Coast Guard is currently working closely with local rescue services responsible for handling oil that comes ashore. Coast Guard units on-site are ready in case oil reappears on the open sea and can be retrieved from there.

Containing the wreck with booms

The Coast Guard is also working to encircle the wreck with a larger boom to prevent further spread of the spill if the vessel, which is still grounded, starts leaking more oil.

Suspected crime reported

Earlier today, two crew members of the Marco Polo were informed of suspicion of negligence in maritime traffic related to the grounding. The Coast Guard's criminal investigation has shown that there is a reasonable suspicion of a crime directed at two crew members who have acted negligently in connection with the two groundings, either through their actions or lack of action.

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News Update Wednesday, October 25th at 13:45:

Suspected crimes against two individuals following the groundings

Two crew members of the Marco Polo have been informed of suspicion of negligence in maritime traffic.

The Coast Guard's criminal investigation has shown that there is a reasonable suspicion of a crime directed at two crew members who have acted negligently in connection with the two groundings. The investigation is led by the prosecutor. The Coast Guard continues to investigate the incident in cooperation with the prosecutor.

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News Update Wednesday, October 25th at 12:00:

No oil visible on the sea surface after the spill from Marco Polo

During Wednesday morning, the Coast Guard's aircraft surveyed the area around the stranded ferry Marco Polo off the coast of Blekinge. No oil is visible on the sea surface, and there is currently no active oil recovery at sea on Wednesday. All crew and equipment remain in the area.

The latest reports from the Coast Guard show that approximately 14 cubic meters of oil have been recovered in the past few days, in collaboration with other agencies. Equipment is being cleaned and prepared for possible further oil recovery at sea. The oil may move below the surface, and there is a risk that oil may reach the shore again, especially near Hörvik in Blekinge and Åhus in Skåne, according to our forecasts.

Two tugboats arrived at the stricken vessel late on Tuesday night, as ordered by the shipping company. The ferry remains grounded, but there is always a risk that the vessel's stability could be affected. The shipping company continues to work on securing the vessel and presenting a salvage plan. The Coast Guard's task is to assist in emergencies, and the combination vessel KBV 003 is on-site, ready to intervene.

The ongoing criminal investigation has made progress, and there is a clearer picture of the sequence of events. The Coast Guard continues to conduct interviews, gather information, and secure technical evidence.

All work is being carried out in close collaboration with the shipping company and its suppliers, as well as with the County Administrative Boards of Blekinge and Skåne, local municipalities, the Swedish Transport Agency, the Swedish Maritime Administration, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the Sea Volunteer Corps, the Sea Rescue Society, and many others.

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News Update Tuesday, October 24th at 18:00:

Oil from Marco Polo no longer visible on the surface

Almost all of the oil that spread after the passenger ferry Marco Polo ran aground is now below the sea surface. This makes offshore oil recovery no longer possible. The forecast indicates that the oil is moving toward the shore under the water, partly to the same area as before in Blekinge and partly towards Åhus in Skåne. The Coast Guard has informed the affected municipalities and county administrative boards.

Tuesday's environmental cleanup work, aimed at recovering oil released from the passenger ferry Marco Polo, has been complicated due to much of the oil sinking below the sea surface during the day and increasingly challenging weather conditions. The waves make it less efficient to work with smaller boats.

There is a risk that the oil will move below the water's surface, and forecasts indicate that the oil may reach the shore again, particularly at Åhus in Skåne and the Hörvik area in Blekinge. Combination vessel KBV 034 is being relocated to the east coast of Skåne, as Åhus may be affected by shoreline oil spills, while the rest of the Coast Guard's resources remain in Pukavik Bay.

The Coast Guard is in close contact with the onshore organizations responsible for protecting and cleaning beaches, cliffs, and coves. The situation is being shared to plan and implement operations in the right places.

The Coast Guard and its partner organizations have so far recovered nearly 11,000 liters of oil from the sea surface.

Status at the scene

The ferry Marco Polo remains grounded, but there is a risk that the vessel's stability could be affected by the increasing wind. The shipping company is working to secure the vessel and present a salvage plan. The Coast Guard's task is to assist

 in emergencies, and the combination vessel KBV 003 is on-site and ready to intervene.

The ongoing criminal investigation has made progress, and there is a clearer picture of the sequence of events. The Coast Guard continues to conduct interviews, gather information, and secure technical evidence.

All work is being carried out in close collaboration with the shipping company and its suppliers, as well as with the County Administrative Boards of Blekinge and Skåne, local municipalities, the Swedish Transport Agency, the Swedish Maritime Administration, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the Sea Volunteer Corps, the Sea Rescue Society, and many others.

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News Update Tuesday, October 24th at 11:30:

Oil recovery work continues after the passenger ferry Marco Polo ran aground in the Southern Baltic Sea

The weather situation is currently challenging for oil recovery operations at sea. The onshore response team continues to work to protect and clean beaches, coves, and cliffs.

The offshore response team consists of several smaller boats equipped with oil booms and other equipment for recovering oil. These boats are positioned where oil is expected to move and are tasked with scooping up oil from the water surface.

As of the latest report, approximately 5,000 liters of oil have been recovered from the sea surface. Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate further, making the oil recovery work more difficult.

The oil spill has affected the coast from Hörvik in Blekinge to Åhus in Skåne, with some oil washing ashore. Oil recovery efforts on the beaches are in progress.

The ferry Marco Polo remains grounded. The shipping company is working on stabilizing the vessel and preparing a salvage plan. The Coast Guard is on-site to assist in case of emergency.

The Coast Guard continues its criminal investigation to determine the cause of the grounding. All work is being carried out in collaboration with other authorities and organizations, including the Swedish Maritime Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, the County Administrative Boards of Blekinge and Skåne, and local municipalities.

Please note that the situation may change rapidly, and further updates will be provided as new information becomes available.

Changed 7 November 2023 08:40

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Questions about the sea rescue effort are currently referred to the Swedish Maritime Administration's press service: +46 771-40 90 09.