COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Two cargo ships collided in the Baltic Sea off southern Sweden, leaving one person dead and another missing Monday. One of the vessels capsized and was being towed toward a Swedish port, authorities said. Two people have been detained as suspects.
The maritime administration said it received a pre-dawn alarm Monday that two cargo ships had collided south of Ystad in Sweden, close to the Danish island of Bornholm. The authority identified the ships as the Danish-flagged Karin Hoej and a British ship, the Scot Carrier. The Danish ship capsized fully and was floating upside down.
At least 11 boats and ships, an airplane and a helicopter searched for the missing crew members, but the Swedish Maritime Administration said it ended its operation Monday without locating the pair. A body was later found inside the capsized Danish ship, it said.
The capsized vessel was towed closer to land so divers from the Swedish Armed Forces and the Coast Guard, among others, can search it. Police also plan to take over the case and to examine the ship.
Despite fog in the area at the time, the cause of the collision was still unclear, the Swedish Maritime Administration said.
“We have no idea when the work can be completed,” the maritime agency said.
Swedish Coast Guard prosecutor Jonatan Tholin said prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation on potential charges of gross negligence in maritime traffic and “gross sea drunkenness.”
Prosecutors said a British citizen born in 1991 and a Croatian born in 1965 were detained suspects in the case, which also includes causing another person’s death after the collision. Their names were not released.
Coast Guard press spokesman Valdemar Lindekrantz told Sweden’s TV4 that ”we suspect that parts of the British crew have not been sober.”
According to the website MarineTraffic, the Scot Carrier was en route from Salacgriva in Latvia to Montrose in Scotland while the Karin Hoej had left Sodertalje in Sweden for Nykoebing Falster in Denmark.
TV4 reported that oil had started to flow into the water. However, the Swedish Coast Guard said there were no ongoing spills and it was carrying out work “to prevent oil or other harmful substances from being released into the sea.”