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Ships Break Free

March 5, 2010 — A passenger ferry carrying nearly 1,000 people returned safely to the Stockhom harbour early Friday.

A heavy ice pack in the Baltic Sea of Sweden's east coast trapped dozens of other ships and boats as well. Gale-force winds helped build up large ice masses along the Swedish coastline, packing the ice more against the land.

Two of the stuck ships were pushed together by strong winds, and caused a minor collision.

Ice breakers helped free the ferry at the edge of an archipelago north of Stockholm. Rescue helicopters were on standby to evacuate passengers. 'There was really no danger because there was enough food and drink on-board,' says Manager of the Maritime Administration's Ice Breaker Service Johny Lindvall. There have been no reported injuries.

A total of about 50 ships were stuck in the ice, which is unusual because rarely gets thick enough to trap powerful ferries. The Maritime Administration says that the ships ignored warnings about the icy conditions.

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