Photo: Kustbevakningen / TT
The bulk carrier, Victoria, which went aground off the coast of Varberg. Photo: Kustbevakningen (Swedish Coast Guard) / TT

Crime suspected in the running aground of bulk carrier

The shipmaster of the bulk carrier Victoria that went aground off the southwestern coast Sweden, has become the subject of a criminal investigation, reports news agency TT.

The police in Halmstad, aided by the Swedish Coast Guard, have launched an investigation into whether the shipmaster may have been recklessly driving the vessel, and also into the shipmaster's possible failure to notify Swedish authorities that a problem had arisen.

The 190-meter-long carrier, laden with grain, was on its way from Rostock, Germany, to Guinea, in west Africa, but has been grounded off the coast of Varberg since early Saturday evening. However, the Swedish Coast Guard only got wind of the incident at around midnight, when the crew of another vessel got in touch with them.

"The shipmaster had navigated wrongly," Arvid Tedvik, from the Coast Guard, told news agency TT, adding that more questionings would be held throughout the day.

When asked whether there was any suspicion that alcohol played a role, Tedvik answered in the negative.

It is unclear why the vessel, which bears the Liberian flag, went aground, but divers who went down on Sunday discovered a 3-meter-long tear on the prow.

"We've had an airplane up to check the water around the ship, and it didn't look like it was leaking oil," said Tedvik.

Now, it will be determined how to get the vessel loose and transport it to the harbor. As of Sunday afternoon, it was still stuck, and the center of gravity is right in the middle of the ship, by the fuel tanks.

Tedvik says that the Coast Guard has had personnel on board the ship and investigators from the Swedish Maritime Administration have been there as well to collect more information.

As of Sunday afternoon, the crew of Victoria was still on board.

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