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100-year-old cargo ship grounds after master admits falling asleep

100-year-old cargo ship grounds after master admits falling asleep
Gary Dixon 4 September 2023

The Leonie got stuck with a cargo of grain east of Vardo

A cargo vessel built in 1923 has gone aground off Finland after its captain fell asleep.

The country’s coast guard said the 560-dwt Leonie (built 1923) got stuck at Alorarna in the Aland islands on Friday morning.

The coaster has a crew of three.

The vessel took on water, the coast guard said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Torbjorn Enroth of the Maritime Rescue Centre in Turku told Aland Radio the situation was stable by the afternoon.

Another vessel owned by operator Sea-Lake Shipping of Turku was en route to the site.

This ship will transfer the Leoni’s cargo of 800 cbm of oats.

There are also 6 cbm of fuel oil on board.

Master David Saari told the radio station: “I fell asleep and ran aground, it’s a serious grounding.”

He added the crew was pumping water from the Leonie.

“We are pumping and trying to do everything to save her, it is 13 metres deep in the stern and the boat is not that deep,” he added.

No pollution has been observed.

Captain tested for alcohol

The border guard’s vessel Tursas arrived at the scene on Friday.

Turku Underrattelser reported on Saturday that the captain has been tested for alcohol.

AIS showed the Leonie stopped on Monday morning

The ship was heading from Farsjundet to Godby.

It is insured by Gard of Norway.

The Leonie is the last coaster of its kind in Finland and previously sailed under the name Greta.

The ship was built in Norway but has been upgraded several times since, according to Dennis Saari, co-owner and managing director of Sea-Lake Shipping.

The company bought the vessel two years ago and fitted a crane and cargo hatches.

The Leonie mainly carries grain and logs from the mainland to the Aland islands.