Ship boat

Baltic Sea: Coast Guard investigates role of alcohol in cargo ship crash

A British citizen and a Croatian citizen have been arrested as suspects in Sweden’s preliminary investigation into the collision, according to a press release from the Swedish prosecution service.

The prosecution added that the preliminary investigation for “aggravated drunk driving”, “gross negligence in maritime traffic” and “seriously causing the death of others” is at an initial stage.

A ship capsized in the collision and two people are still missing, authorities said. Ten boats and several helicopters had started searching for the duo, but the at-sea component of the search and rescue operation has since been canceled.

“The vessel has now been towed to shallow water so that Swedish Coast Guard divers can enter and search for survivors or injured,” Fredrik Strömbäck, communications manager at the CNN, told CNN. Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA).

The couple probably couldn’t have survived for long in the freezing winter waters, but they could be alive in an air pocket in the hull, Reuters reported.

The ships collided between the Swedish town of Ystad and the Danish island of Bornholm at around 3.30am Central European Time.

The crash happened in Swedish territorial waters and the two ships were heading in the same direction, Reuters reported.

One of the two, Karin Hoej, flying the Danish flag, capsized. According to the SMA, two people who were on board the 55-meter-long (180-foot-long) vessel have not been found. Authorities said the Karin Hoej was believed to be carrying no cargo at the time of the crash and had a small crew.

The other vessel, the Scot Carrier, does not appear to have sustained significant damage. The Scot Carrier is 90 meters (295 feet) long and is registered in the UK. Its owner, Scotline, told Reuters the company could not comment on the details surrounding the incident, but said it was cooperating and helping authorities.

The Danish Defense Ministry’s Joint Operations Center could not immediately say whether either of the ships contained dangerous cargo.

“The Danish ship, which is upside down, is a relatively small ship, so it has so little oil on board. That’s not what worries us at the moment,” he said, according to Reuters.

Data from MarineTraffic.com showed the Karin Hoej was heading to Nykobing Falster in southern Denmark. The Scot Carrier was heading from Salacgriva, Latvia, to the Scottish town of Montrose.