STOCKHOLM, Dec 15 (Reuters) – A Swedish prosecutor said on Wednesday that one of the crew members held over a ship collision in the Baltic Sea, which killed at least one person, would be released from custody.
The prosecutor said in a statement that the suspicions concerning the crew member of the Scot Carrier had weakened, though the Croatian national remained a suspect. The crew member was taken into custody suspected of gross marine intoxication.
A British crew member, held on several counts including gross causing of death through negligence, remained in custody, the prosecutor said.
The 55-metre Karin Hoj barge capsized when it crashed with the 90-metre Scot Carrier off the island of Bornholm in fog and darkness early on Monday.
One of the two Danish crew members from the capsized barge was found dead in the hull. The other crew member was still missing and rescue efforts were abandoned after ships and helicopters scoured the waters to no avail on Monday.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority is investigating several suspected crimes – negligence in maritime traffic, causing death through negligence, and marine intoxication.
Two of the Scot Carrier’s crew, a Briton and a Croatian, remained in custody on Tuesday as part of the preliminary investigation. The prosecutor has until Thursday to decide whether to hold the suspects longer.
“The suspects that are in custody have both tested positive for alcohol,” Public Prosecutor Tomas Olvmyr told Reuters. “One person is suspected of gross marine intoxication based on actions in connection with the accident.”
The Briton in custody was suspected on multiple counts, including causing death through negligence, and had been on watch at the time of the collision, after which the smaller Danish ship capsized.
“As things look at present, the two ships have moved in parallel and then one of the ships has swerved and run into the other one,” Olvmyr said.
Scotline, which owns the Scot Carrier, said in a statement it has a strict drug and alcohol policy in place and zero tolerance of any breaches.
The overturned Karin Hoj was towed into shallow water on Monday to allow divers to gain access without the risk of being pulled down if it sinks. The Swedish Coastguard plans to move it again to a place where it can be turned upright.
“It’s not likely the second (missing) person is there,” Swedish Coastguard spokesperson Valdemar Lindekrantz said. “But we can’t be absolutely sure until we’ve righted the ship and examined every single space.”
PHOTO – Personnel from the Swedish Coast Guard use an underwater drone (ROV) to investigate the damaged ship Scot Carrier in the port of Ystad, Sweden. EPA-EFE/Johan Nilsson/TT