1 Dead, 1 Missing as Authorities Call Off Search After Cargo Ships Collide

One person is dead and another is missing after two cargo ships collided in the Baltic Sea off southern Sweden on Monday.

Swedish authorities called off an unsuccessful search Monday that included at least 11 boats and ships, a plane and a helicopter before discovering a body inside a Danish ship capsized by the collision.

The Swedish Maritime Administration was notified before dawn Monday of the collision between two cargo ships south of Ystad in Sweden, near the Danish island of Bornholm. The Danish vessel Karin Hoej capsized and was floating upside down after crashing into the British ship Scot Carrier.

The body discovered inside the Karin Hoej belonged to one of two missing crew members. The search lasted for hours as the two were unlikely to survive in the freezing Baltic Sea with temperatures at about 39 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4 Celsius, Reuters reported.

The capsized vessel was being towed toward a Swedish port, according to authorities. Authorities have detained two suspects connected to the collision.

The Swedish Maritime Administration said that the cause of the crash was still unknown. The ships were sailing in the same direction near Bornholm when they collided in fog and darkness, according to maritime agencies in Sweden and Denmark

"We have no idea when the work can be completed," the Swedish maritime agency said.

Cargo Ship Collision
Two freight ships on Monday collided off southern Sweden and west of a Danish Baltic Sea island with at least two people reported missing, Danish and Swedish authorities said. Above, a rescue boat by the capsized Danish cargo ship Karin Hoej after it collided with British cargo vessel Scot Carrier in the Baltic Sea, between Ystad and Bornholm, on December 13, 2021. Johan Nilsson/TT via AP

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.

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 on the way from Salacgriva in Latvia to Montrose in Scotland while the Karin Hoej 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."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ship Collision Aftermath
The British cargo ship Scot Carrier is seen at right after it collided with a Danish cargo ship Karin Hoej, seen capsized in the background, in the Baltic Sea, between Ystad and Bornholm, on December 13, 2021. Johan Nilsson/TT via AP