Read also the book Disasterinvestigation
Chapter 6 Conspiracy and other Theories
The accident investigation and the quick changes to SOLAS by the IMO were so badly performed, that it was certain that other theories of more sinister character would show up. Personally the writer has no faith in un-proven stories. The interested reader should read (12), which has well-written chapters about the criminal underworld (Mafia) in Estonia and Russia and what military or intelligence organisations in USA and Sweden could come up with. But it is very strange that the Commission refused for 38 month to investigate the hole in the side suggestion and that the Final report does not even mention it, and that the IMO never asked JAIC to comment upon the possibility that the 'Estonia' was leaking in the hull. It is also strange that efforts by victims of the accident to have the accident investigated by independent experts appointed by a French tribunal have been delayed and obstructed (12) by the French judge. It is also strange that Estonia, Finland and Sweden by law forbid diving to the wreck to secure evidence to clarify the accident. It is pathetic to propose that the wreck shall be covered in concrete - it is resting in deep mud, which cannot be covered by cement.
A hole in the starboard side below waterline would explain the sinking. Water floods the damaged compartment, water spreads to adjacent compartments through open watertight doors and in an intermediate stage of flooding the initial stability (GoM) is zero and the vessel lists and rolls 50°, where the righting arm GZ is positive and brings the ship back to 15° list/equilibrium as observed aboard, even if the Final Report (13) does not mention it.
Many survivors heard sharp noises and experienced hard shocks that could have been associated with damage causing the hole in the side. Witnesses saw water on deck 1 before the sudden listing. The JAIC just concludes that all these noises came from the visor, but there is no proof whatsoever for that. Noise was heard on board and the survivors could not say what it was. The JAIC says the noise, beyond doubt 3.9, originated from the bow, but there is no proof whatsoever for this bold assumption. But where did the water come from?
Evidently the hole in the side need not be of criminal origin. Explosions occur aboard ships in tanks, pipes and enclosed spaces and explosions cause structural damage. Personally the writer believes as one possibility that there was an accidental explosion in, e.g. a sewage tank, a fuel tank or a collection tank of some sort. It is a very common cause of accidents at sea.
Note April 2002 - the 'holes' in the side can be seen in 1.16 of of the book Disasterinvestigation . One suggestion is that the 'Estonia' was in quite poor condition, i.e. the hole - the leakage - could just have been caused by corrosion and bad maintenance. Or the sea inlet/outlet of the sewage tanks came lose and flooded/sank the ship?.
In 1996 the writer happened to watch Spiegel TV that had a program about the Felix report. Most of the report was about organised crime in Estonia and Russia and had little to do with the ferry 'Estonia', until it was stated that the 'Estonia' had been used to smuggle various materials to Sweden. It was then suggested that the Swedish customs were alerted and that the smugglers had ordered the Master of the 'Estonia' to open the visor, lower the ramp and to dump two lorries overboard, and that this action by the crew had caused the vessel to sink.
It is of course very easy to dismiss the Felix report. First you do not open visors and lower ramps at sea at full speed, especially not in bad weather. Second, it is very difficult to dump a lorry overboard over the ramp. How do you do that? The lorry must of course be parked just inside the ramp and as it is facing aft, you have to reverse the lorry out on the ramp. What do you do then? Release the hand brake and push the lorry over the ramp? The ship had stern trim! What happens if the lorry becomes stuck on the edge of the ramp.
Anyway, water on the car deck would never have sunk the 'Estonia', so for that simple reason the Felix report can be dismissed as propaganda.
Note April 2002 - but an open starboard pilot door may have contributed to the sinking! Then the whole superstructure didn't contribute to any stability.
This theory is very simple, i.e. organised crime blackmailed the shipowner Estline to pay protection money, so that everything worked smoothly at Tallinn. It is suggested that Estline had paid in the past (as most foreign companies doing business in Estonia at the time), but that Estline stopped paying, when the Estonian government got better organised and controlled the port of Tallinn. A time bomb was therefore installed aboard the 'Estonia' in the sauna area and it exploded and caused the hole in the side or bottom. It was planned as a warning but ended up in a disaster. This theory cannot be written off as JAIC never inspected the sauna. The Estonian government naturally preferred that bad visor design and water on the car deck caused the accident than Estonian criminals, and would therefore obstruct the investigation.
This theory is described by Dr. H. Witte in (12) and is shortly as follows. US military interests were in 1993 and 1994 illegally buying secret Russian military equipment still kept in Estonia and controlled by corrupt Russian military staff. In 1994 the Russian military was evacuating the military equipment back to Russia and certain equipment was either bought or stolen and quickly transported in two lorries or trailers and loaded on the 'Estonia', to get it out of reach of the Russians.
The Russians were of course aware of the US attempts to steal their equipment and had informers in, e.g. the port of Tallinn, which could have prevented the loading. However, in this particular case the Estonian authorities had sealed off the port 1.2 and ensured that the two vehicles could be loaded. It is unclear if the lorries were loaded first or last on the 'Estonia' and it does not matter, because the Russians were aware of what had happened.
The Russians probably asked that the two trucks were being unloaded, but the officers on the 'Estonia' refused. The ship therefore sailed on time or with a slight delay at 19.15 hrs. But the Russians did not give up. According to the theory they put a man aboard the 'Estonia' with at least three bombs with remote control and the man (with a wine red jacket) apparently positioned the bombs in the side and at the watertight bulkheads of the ship in the sauna department and threatened to blow up the ship (and himself?), unless it turned back to Tallinn and unloaded the lorries!! You wonder why the Russians did not simply inform the Swedish police at the other end that 'Estonia' was carrying stolen Russian equipment. It would have been very easy for the Russian embassy at Stockholm to go down to the port and to make a scandal about the stolen equipment. However, the Swedish authorities had already been informed by the Americans that the equipment was on its way and the Swedes had apparently provided special road arrangements to quickly move the stolen equipment to another ship or aeroplane for onward transport to the USA. This was apparently a joint Swedish-American effort to get secret weapons away from Russia.
Nevertheless, the whole thing got out of control and one or more bombs were exploded (at 00.40 and 00.58/9 hrs?) with the result that the vessel sank. Shots may also have been fired on the bridge, killing the Master. The relief Master and seven surviving crew members were later kidnapped and brought to the USA. The relief Master was rescued by a Swedish helicopter and the pilot told the media, that the relief master was saved. The relief master was first brought to a Finnish hospital, where he was duly registered. However, he was then taken away to and disappeared in Sweden. Other crew who knew about the smuggling and who survived were also not permitted to return to Estonia.
The accident was reported to, i.a. the Swedish prime minister Bildt very early in the morning of September 28, 1994. The strange accident investigation is then part of a disastrous cover-up. Interesting enough when the writer had put parts of this book on the Internet he received an e-mail from a commander in the US Coast Guard, who said that I was right on the money and that 'Estonia' sank due to a leak below waterline and that he had suggested the same thing to his superiors. No further action was taken by the superiors at USCG.
For the record the writer does not believe in Witte's story.
The reason the writer does not believe Witte's story is that he believes what watchkeeping seaman Linde 1.22 told Dagens Nyheter after the accident and which JAIC ignores in its Final Report. There was a telephone call to the bridge about water on deck no. 1 about 00.45 hrs. Linde was told to go to deck no. 1, because passengers there had noted water on that deck. When Linde arrived at deck no. 4, passengers escaped from deck no. 1 and repeated to Linde that there was water on deck no. 1. Then the ship listed. The story is very simple and rings true. The journalist spoke to Linde in Estonian, so there could be no language mistakes. For some mysterious reason Linde was then told to change his story, so that it tallied with 3/E Treu's story about water on the car deck at 01.15 hrs. Linde does not mention any shooting on the bridge!
Note August 2000 - maybe the telephone call at 00.45 hrs was about the stabilizer fin foundation being damaged and that the relevant compartment on deck no. 0 had filled up with water and that this water had spilled out on deck no. 1 and had alerted the passengers. Why Linde was sent down is not clear - to confirm this strange event and to wake up the passengers? Why was not a General Alarm raised? Nevertheless, the Master must have arrived shortly afterwards on the bridge and maybe it was the Master that accidently opened the watertight doors, so that water spread and caused the loss of initial stability at 01.02 hrs? In 1999 and 2000 it has been established by this writer that the 'Estonia' had too many watertight doors in its subdivision bulkheads and that these doors could be remotely operated - opened - from the bridge, and that the remote door indication was very confusing - red light indicated a closed door!
Note January 2001 - during 1999
there were reports that explosive devices and damages caused
by explosives had been seen on video films released by the
Commission. The explosive devices were (a) on the port (now
upper) deck house side of the ship (a package) and (b) fixed
at the bow ramp (an orange box) on the superstructure. The
damages caused by explosives were to steel structure both
outside and inside the ramp of the superstructure. These
damages cannot have sunk the ship.
The job to remove the visor was naturally made to support the false allegation that the visor had caused the accident. The suggestion that the devices were exploded on the ship before the accident/sinking is not possible because (a) a lost visor only would never have sunk the ship - the ramp would still be closed/jammed in its frame and (b) if anybody had succeded to blow open or off the ramp - how? - about 1 500-2 000 tons of water inside the superstructure would have caused the ship to turn belly-up and it would have floated several days on the 18 000 cubic metres of air in the undamaged hull with the keel up.
Only a leak in the underwater hull in combination with open watertight doors could have sunk the ship as it was reported and observed then and duly noted by this writer. The crew no doubt observed the leakage but panicked and took no proper action. This - in combination with the fact that the 'Estonia' lacked regulatory lifesaving devices for all persons aboard and that no proper emergency instructions existed and had never been tested - caused at least 852 persons death. The leakage was probably due to a badly installed stabilizer fin in February 1994 - 7 months before the accident. The open watertight doors were no doubt due to bad design, maintenance and operation instructions and they were never closed. The Final Report (13) does not describe or mention the watertight doors at all, except that it is stated - without proof - that the watertight doors were closed after (!) the abrupt listing (as required by a strange emergency instruction aboard). Who has ever heard about an instruction that you shall close the watertight doors after an accident? Actually - everything that has been revealed since the accident Final Report was published supports the observations in this book published in January 1998.
Conspiracy is fed by incompetent investigators. If Finland cannot explain what its military radar observers at Utö saw on their screens before the 'Estonia' sank, people wonder. Finnish ships in the vicinity plotted each other on their radars, but nobody observed the 'Estonia'. It is strange and should be explained. If you do not inspect, e.g. the garage, people will start wondering what was hidden in the garage. If you say that the ramp locks were ripped apart and that the ramp opened up, you have to show the damaged locks and you have to explain, how and why the ramp closed itself again on the wreck. If you do not do that, people will wonder why nobody saw the ramp open after the accident. If you invent a completely new stability theory and claim that a ship is stable when it should have capsized and that it sinks, when it is quite obvious that the ship cannot sink, people should ask why. The 'Estonia' accident investigation is a clear example of an incompetent commission and/or incomplete investigation. The matter is not improved by a silent shipping industry and a complacent IMO changing rules based on fairy tales.
The writer is amazed at the way the Commission handled the stability calculations of each phase of the accident. There is proof in the Commission's diary kept by the Swedish Accident Investigation Board (SHK) that no stability calculations were done at all for 30 months. Then, when the writer started to make noise that the stability calculations were missing and that 'Estonia' could not have sunk with water on the car deck but should have tipped upside down, expert Dr Michael Huss (Sweden) and member Tuomo Karppinen (Finland) produced two stability documents (14 and 15) both proving me right, i.e. that the 'Estonia' has GZ<0 with 2 000 tons of water on the car deck (for any angle of heel). Figure 2.3 of (14) and figure 4.8 of (15) both shows that GZ <-1.5 meter at 70° heel with 2 000 tons of water on the car deck. In spite of this the JAIC apparently decided to ignore its own member's and expert's calculations and publish the Final Report. It is quite sad.
The only solution is to arrange a new diving survey to check the sauna compartment for damages and to make a better survey of the forward ramp and to have a new investigation made by competent people based on correct stability calculations.
Note August 2000 - a private dive survey is planned for end of August 2000 by the American citizen Mr. Gregg Bemis. Maybe Bemis equipment and divers will confirm that the starboard stabilizer fin foundation is damaged and that the hull is also damaged, which will confirm the analysis of the accident in this book.
Note December 2000 - the Bemis dive survey neither examined the whole underwater hull nor the starboard stabilizer fin box in any detail. The expedition lacked the means for such an undertaking. Bemis tried instead to locate an opening in the superstructure forward but found the relevant area covered by a sand heap (?). Bemis also took some steel samples from the bow area (in way of the ramp locks). Later examinations by independent laboratories indicate that these samples have been subject to material changes due to explosive devices.
Note February 2001 - in the autumn 2000 the Swedish government asked i.a. the JAIC and the Swedish Maritime Administration if the findings of the author (as given in this book) were sufficient to require further investigations into the accident. They all replied no - none of the observations was of any interest. The accident had taken place exactly as determined by the JAIC 1994-1997. However - four other institutions - two universities, one medel test basin and the Swedish Board of Psychological Defence suggested that the observations of the author needed to be clarified by a new investigation. The government has since delayed its decision about a new investigation.