Environmental rescue operation in the south of Sweden

Operation Marco Polo 231023

One of the Swedish Coast Guard's units taking care of the spill. Photo: The Swedish Coast Guard.

On Sunday morning, Oct 22, the passenger ferry Marco Polo ran aground off the southern Swedish Coast of Blekinge. All passengers were safely evacuated, but there has been a huge oil spill from the ferry. Simultaneously, the Swedish Coast Guard is investigating the causes of the grounding and the spill.

The oil spill has drifted towards shore, an estimated 5 km stretch of vulnerable shoreline in Blekinge. The Swedish Coast Guard has mobilized crew and units from all over southern Sweden to combat the spill, in collaboration with our partners.

The Swedish Coast Guard is working on two parallel tracks, focusing on both environmental rescue and criminal investigation.

“Environmental rescue is a priority: to recover as much oil as possible from the water, with the aim of saving the coastline as much as possible. Oil has reached the shores, but a significant amount remains at sea. We are collaborating with several organizations to maximize oil recovery," says Erik Svensson, who coordinates the work on-site.

The weather situation on Monday has been favourable. However, weather forecasts predict deteriorating conditions with strong winds and rain on Tuesday.

“We know that the spill currently extends over 5 kilometres out at sea. Recovering oil that reaches the land will be a time-consuming process," says Erik Svensson.

Diving operations will be carried out to inspect the vessel's hull beneath the surface. The information gathered is necessary for the vessel's salvage, which can only take place after approval from the Swedish Transport Agency and the Swedish Coast Guard, as decided by the owner.

Changed 23 October 2023 17:41

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