Welcome to the preamble of the e-book Disaster
'Thorough and unbiased marine casualty investigations are the most effective way of establishing the circumstances and causes of a casualty.'
IMO Res. A.849(20) - 5.1.1
"All this was inspired by the principle that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the (public) more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation:"
Adolf Hitler / Mein Kampf
"All truth passes through three stages; First - it is ridiculed .... Second - it is violently opposed .... Third - it is accepted as being self evident."
"A half truth presented as a whole truth becomes, in the end, a total lie."
at Sea Ltd, 280 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5RL,
UK has on 17 November 2009 asked
Heiwa Co to remove this web page/article
from the web site within 15 days or they would take
legal action against the author in France! Check
Up-dates above for
more info. No legal action has been taken on 11
Safety at Sea Ltd, 280 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5RL, UK has on 17 November 2009 asked Heiwa Co to remove this web page/article from the web site within 15 days or they would take legal action against the author in France! Check Up-dates above for more info. No legal action has been taken on 11 August 2010!
This book was first published in Swedish on the Internet 2000 and in English 2001 as a contribution to better safety at sea. After a slow start there were sometimes >3 000 visitors per month. In September 2003 the web site was closed by the ISP without explanation, which however arrived a little later as a letter in the mail. A lawyer warned to sue the writer/investigator for defamation, etc, due to certain published facts without further explanations or evidence. The advantage of an Internet book is that it is very easy to correct and improve it. The writer therefore decided to verify and update all information on the site. Much has happened since 2000 but the Swedish government and authorities still refuse to review all new proven facts that the complete Estonia accident investigation 1994-1997 was misinformation and manipulation from day one by a small group of persons at the request of the Swedish government at the time. The writer hopes that any future Swedish government decides according to international and national law to review the new proven facts so that the correct cause of the 'Estonia' accident 1994 can be established.
According to professor Mati Öun of the Estonian defence ministry the 'Estonia' transported military material on the voyage 27-28 September 1994 (announced at the Estonia symposium at Tallinn 27 September 2005). The material in two trucks was escorted to the ship by the Estonian defence forces and handed over to 15 Swedish persons (passengers) on the 'Estonia' that probably were employed by the Swedish Intelligence agency, MUST. The trucks were secured just behind the forward ramp of the ferry.
The purpose of the Swedish MUST personnel presence on the 'Estonia' at Tallinn was probably to supervise the military cargo during the voyage.
During the voyage the 'Estonia' experienced two sharp noisy impacts around 01.00 hrs followed by heavy listing a few minutes later. It seems that the 'Estonia' had collided with something - maybe a submarine. The collision damaged the underwater hull of the 'Estonia', several watertight compartments were flooded and initial stability was lost due to free water on deck #0 and the 'Estonia' rolled >30-40° but soon found a new equilibrium at <15° list. People inside the vessel could evacuate to open deck #7 during 10 minutes, while the vessel quickly sank in less than 35 minutes without capsize. The vessel lacked basic lifesaving equipment! You had to jump overboard to save yourself. It would appear that most of the 15 MUST/Swedish Intelligence agency died and that the incident was the most fatal in its history. The same day the Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt therefore suggested that the accident was caused by the ship's visor fitted on the superstructure. It had fallen off hit by big waves. But it had never fallen off. There were no big waves. Just look at the films by M/V Finnmerchant Part 1 of the rescue efforts. M/V Finnmerchant arrived at 03.25 hrs at the site of accident on 28 September 1994 and when dawn arrived around 05.00 hrs they filmed rafts with survivors and helicopters in full rescue action. As you can see, the weather was not too bad. No 10 metres waves as Bildt and JAIC reported. Films part 2 and part3 here. Sadly, no attending vessel launched a lifeboat to assist in the rescue. It would have been possible.
In order to blame the accident on the ship's bow visor and to cover up the Swedish MUST fiasco, the visor was simply removed from the wreck by the Swedish defence forces (navy) under water a few days after the accident - it fell to the sea floor below the bow - and later salvaged/removed from there by the same people. Then there were three years of official 'investigation' how the visor caused the accident. Naturally every essential piece of information was falsified in the investigation. This book shows how the information was falsified. When it was originally written in Swedish 1999 the writer thought that the 'Estonia' sank due to serious mismanagement of the vessel by the Owners, which was covered up to protect incompetent persons. Today he has changed opinion based on the new findings. The book has been up-dated accordingly. In 2008 the UK company Safety at Sea Ltd, Glasgow, associated with Strathclyde University, and Swedish company SSPA, associated with Chalmers University, Gothenburg, produced further falsified 'scientific' reports to support the cover-up. In 2009 Swedish MPs have requested that a new independent investigation is carried out. It will be discussed in Swedish Parliament spring 2010.
The writer is working with ferries for 30 years - and the safety of ferries. Evidently - if, say, 2 000 tons of water had come into the superstructure 2.5 meters above waterline, the ferry would have capsized immediately - and floated upside down.
This has happened many times. But the 'Estonia' accident is the first and only such accident, when it didn't happen. The writer finds it very strange.
The Commission later concluded that it was the visor locks that were incorrectly designed and manufactured 1979 by the shipyard - a design fault. Due to this old design fault, the ferry had sunk 1994.
The impossible Sequence of Events
The 'Estonia' was allegedly doing 15 knots in head seas of Beaufort 7 with 4,2 meters waves (not proven), when the ramp of the superstructure two and a half meters above the waterline was suddenly ripped fully open at 01.15 hrs. Anybody who has been to sea on a ferry knows that in such conditions the waves do not even impact against the visor because it is heard and you have to slow down. But let's assume that the ramp was fully open.
The opening was 5,4 meters wide and 6 meters high at the fore end of the ship superstructure but more than two meters above the waterline. When however the ship pitched down, the opening was at least two meters below water.
You would then have expected that the first wave entering the superstructure at 15 knots speed during less than two seconds contained 180 tons of water. It would have smashed everything inside the superstructure and trimmed the ship on the bow - and would probably have stopped the ship. It is unlikely that the ship would have pitched up above the waves later after this first wave entry. However, if it did and it is alleged that speed was maintained for two minutes, the ferry would have pitched down again below water after another six seconds and scooped up another 180 tons of water. You should know that this water was only extra cargo weight loaded inside the superstructure of a ship with an undamaged hull, on which the ship floated, and that the ship could only have sunk due to water inside the hull. But in the Estonia case water only entered the superstructure:
Then the ship would definitely never have pitched up again but would have gone down like a submarine while capsizing - like the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' 1987 or the 'Jan Heweliusz' 1993. The superstructure would quickly fill up with >2 000 tons of water in less than 60 seconds, the ship would capsize and ... float upside down on the watertight hull below the superstructure.
But this true, correct and realistic scenario, easily proven by model tests was never presented to the public or the media. The Commission instead started to present stupid lies about water in the superstructure slowly sinking the ship.
These lies are still the official Truth and explanations why the ship sank.
Capsized ferry cannot sink! You can walk on the outer ferry bottom when the ship is upside down! No risk of sinking!
The writer has of course 1996-2002 publicly stated that the official announcements are incorrect and that he is prepared to discuss them with the government investigators. The only answer has been that the writer is unintelligent, unscientific, unreasonable, conspiratorial and trying to bring down democratic governments (!), etc. Strange? Can we believe these investigators and 'experts'? Or are they simple criminals? What hidden agenda do they have?
Cover up the Wreck and the Bodies
The Swedish government (sic) decided, on 15 December 1994, that neither wreck nor dead bodies should be salvaged. It was the ultimate decision to pave way for the total cover up. No dead bodies could ever be identified. The underwater hull could not be examined for leakages. No crime could ever be established. The legal counsel of the Swedish Maritime Administration, Johan Franson, had previously explained that it was too difficult and expensive (>US$ 150 millions) to do the salvage job (no evidence of course - it could be done for much less) and a Swedish Ethical Advisory (sic) board had agreed that it was unethical to salvage the bodies. Together with Finland and Estonia an international agreement was later signed and national laws adopted to the effect that nobody could ever examine the wreck and its underwater hull and the bodies of the 'Estonia' - the wreck was to be covered up by concrete, the bodies were to be abandoned. The preparatory legal work was completed on 30 March 1995. After that no further examination of the wreck and dead bodies was possible.
On 3 April the Commission published its Part report (16)* reiterating for the fourth time that the visor had caused the accident. In retrospect it is easy to show that every essential statement in the report was false - but few reacted in April 1994 - 99.9% of the public believed the previous misinformation of the Commission. The Commission said that the Final report (5) - with all relevant information - was a formality to be published in a few months. No other causes needed be investigated!
The Swedish/Estonian/Finnish law to prevent diving and examining the wreck went into force on 1 July 1995 and Swedish work to cover up the wreck started to 'protect' the wreck: >300 000 tons of rock and sand were deposited around the wreck - mainly 100-200 meters South of it. The international treaty to the same effect did not come into force until August 1995. The work to cover the wreck and bodies was cancelled in 1996.
The law to prevent diving is very effective; anybody suggesting diving and examining the wreck is conveniently accused of suggesting disturbing graveyard peace and thus upsetting the relatives of the victims, who apparently are no longer interested in why the ship sank and people died.
On 21 October 1996 the Swedish government appointed its Board of Psychological Defence, SPF, to handle communications of information to the relatives of the victims. The SPF told all Swedish authorities not to discuss any questions concerning the 'Estonia' mentioned in, e.g. the printed press, by outside experts (like the writer) e.g. how and why the ship had sunk and why the 'Estonia' had not sunk as suggested by the Commission.
Three years of Lies
For more than three years the Commission stated at infrequent media contacts that the 'Estonia' was correctly certified with correct lifesaving equipment and completely seaworthy, etc. and that only a design fault of the visor locks 1979 had caused the accident - the loss of the visor - and the sinking - water in the superstructure.
All these alleged facts are false and part of a well (not very well!) planned disinformation programme.
Very big waves - 10 meters high - and loads on the visor had allegedly destroyed the visor locks during the night of the accident - it took 10 minutes - the public was told, and the visor locks were incorrect. The visor had pulled the ramp fully open - 30 m² - so that waves could move into the ship's superstructure and heel the ferry.
Then, strangely enough, the big waves disappeared, because the ship stopped heeling - and up righted according to survivors that managed to get out during about 10 minutes. Water flowed into the superstructure very slowly during 15 minutes according to the Commission. No water flowed out, which was strange. As soon as the ship stopped, all water should actually have flown out! Survivors said that the ship was slowly sinking for more than 20 minutes between the time they noticed the heeling and they got out and when they jumped overboard later. The Commission suggested that the survivors didn't know what they were talking about!
This was all the public had to know why the ship sank.
On 5 December 1997 the Final report of the accident was published after over three years of secret deliberations. No real investigation took ever place. The Commission of course met and dined and wined 20 times but what they did is not recorded. In the meantime two investigators had died and five others had been dismissed or resigned. All essential facts in the Final Report are false, and that is the message of this book.
Never in modern history has such a dishonest and untruthful document been published to explain a big maritime tragedy.
All essential Facts are false
If you bothered to check, e.g. the ship certificates, it was obvious that they were not correct and that the lifesaving equipment was not as per SOLAS. There are no valid certificates presented in the Final report (5). Further verification of the published data - which has taken the writer several years - then showed that every essential fact in the Final Report (5) was falsified, often based on manipulated investigations, to hide the fact that the ship was unseaworthy. No real accident investigation thus took place. How and why the ferry had sunk due to water inside the superstructure was evidently not explained then or earlier (it is physically impossible). Why somebody decided to cover up the Truth is still not clear. To be able to blame the accident on the visor Swedish divers removed it a few days after the accident in a - naturally - secret operation assisted by the Swedish and Finnish navies.
The large majority in Sweden and Estonia said nothing neither in 1994 nor 1997 or 2001! Silence. There were a few critical voices - but it was considered normal - and the officials (Commission, governments, administrations, police, prosecutors, church, universities, etc), the Swedish SPF and the media wrote them off as unintelligent, unscientific and unreasonable amateurs - or conspiracy theorists.
The Conspirators and the hidden Agenda
The conspirators - because it was a conspiracy from the start, the first day - were satisfied. They thought they had managed to cover up the Truth as per their hidden agenda. Many of the conspirators were given high offices in the Swedish and Estonian administrations, where they today regularly praise the work of the Commission and the content of the Final report and ridicule the few professional marine investigators and journalists, who continue to research the accident with the aim to improve safety at sea.
These persons of the investigation are all charlatans and criminals. But, and this is sad, they are 'respectable' in Swedish society today. To be respectable in Sweden today is like being a good party man in a communist state - you repeat the official policy without own thinking. It is a virtue in today's Sweden and Finland and Estonia.
The Final report (5) is official party policy in Sweden and Estonia today - regardless what party governs. And a large majority of the public plays along - it has a feeling for what Truth (or Lie) the government wants to adhere to. The hidden agenda was ... and is ... national security.
The 'respectable' Conspirators
It is a tragedy for the relatives of the victims and for the survivors (and for some members and experts of the Commission). It proves that innocent victims and witnesses of a big accident have no chance against a government and its servants. Many of the conspirators are still middle age and have years of public service to fulfil. Most of the politicians, who initiated the conspiracy, are gone from office (but alive). Many Swedish technical 'experts', who once were young honest men full of initiative and activity, have become bureaucratic servants of the Swedish Maritime Administration (still middle age) to continue the cover up - they are conspirators and criminals. They are, i.a.
Dr Michael Huss,
J-O Selén and
Other Swedish non-political co-conspirators (civil servants or 'experts') and criminals are
Hans Rosengren and
of the Swedish Accident Investigation Board and
professor Olle Rutgersson
of the Royal Institute of Technology. Some Finnish conspirators are
Heimo Iivonen and
of the Finnish Accident Investigation Board and
Dr Klaus Rahka
of the Finnish State Research Institute, VTT, and
of Ship Consultancy Ltd OY/AB, etc, etc.
What were and are the motives of their doings? Evidently all conspirators may not know what actually happened 1994 but all has supported the false cause and events and none has told the Truth. All has presented false versions - based on different interpretations? - but all support the official, false version as presented in the Final report (5) 1997. You wonder if the conspirators were given orders - directives - to do what they did? Or did they falsify their work, only because they know that it had been done before for some strange reasons, and it worked then?
Or did they falsify the work just as a routine - something you can do, because the risk is small to be discovered, and it serves your personal ambitions and you are well paid - and you can still sleep without thinking, what you have actually done? This writer believes that most conspirators falsified their parts of the Final report simply because they wanted to impress their masters; to show that they were 'good' men and women - respectable - in the new Swedish or Finnish society, where Truth does not matter when national security is at stake.
Anyway - it was a big teamwork behind the shameful manipulations and it seems to help later - they can all blame each other.
The SPF seems to coordinate the efforts. Who actually wrote - or compiled - the Final report (5) is unclear. It cannot have been the Commission. It met the last time in March 1997 and agreed a manuscript of the Final report and the printed Final report (5) was published in December 1997. But the March manuscript does not exist! Apparently somebody re-wrote whatever the Commission had compiled and created something glossy - and convincing after a superficial study; maybe Franson? But as stated - every essential fact is false. There is no evidence for any conclusion or finding in the Final report (5). The verbal testimonies of some key witnesses have been manipulated to suit. All other testimonies have been suppressed. The Swedish media is too weak to look into the matter. Future research students of ship stability and safety and marine accidents should investigate. The writer has no idea what is going on in the heads of the conspirators. The writer is only interested in safety at sea.
Ms Mona Sahlin - the Spider in the Net
The conspirators are today - year 2001 - headed by the Swedish deputy minister of trade and transport - Ms Mona Sahlin. She regularly states that the Final report (5) is generally correct and that no new information or facts have been presented showing that the official conclusions are 100% false. She bases her false statement on other false statements of the numerous co-conspirators mentioned above. It is very evident to anybody who has studied the developments, but nothing happens. We are told that the political position of Ms Sahlin is very strong and it is not possible to move her - to get a new investigation done. Too many embarrassing questions and answers would then be presented - it is best to censor the whole affair is the official message. It is a clever strategy - every Swedish citizen including, naturally, the members of Parliament shall become a co-conspirator. It has been done before!
The time is ripe for Disaster Investigation - the book that tells it all. The Truth of the 'Estonia' accident must come to light. But it will not be easy.
Three Journalists fired
Three journalists in two daily Swedish newspapers tried to pursue to ideas of the writer. Early 2000 they were all fired from their positions Appendix 5. Tough luck.
And nobody - not even their colleagues bothered to support them.
It was a clear signal from the Swedish establishment - do not question the official 'Estonia' information!
The IMO was fooled 1995
The conspirators did not only falsify the investigation, they persuaded the International Maritime Organization, IMO, to accept the false information and to modify international rules for safety at sea 1995, most of which (the amendments after the accident) today are nonsense. The conspirators were clever. They knew the weaknesses of the IMO - bureaucracy, lack of technical expertise, the ease to manipulate the Assembly and Committees, etc. - and the IMO complied. The IMO did not dare to question the findings of the Commission supported by so many 'experts'. Another tragedy. International safety at sea work suffers.
"Why rock the boat?" they seem to ask.
I like boats and ships. And they have to be safe. And the conspirators make ships unsafe.
How Democracy died
But even more serious, as one reader has observed, democracy in Sweden died on 28 September 1994. The Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt ordered that the investigation should be covered up - due to national security? - and the Swedish establishment just followed orders - no discussion. Plenty of money and other means were provided. To make ships less safe. And the establishment succeeded for many years - in spite of the corruption that followed. It explains the experiences of the writer, who met the Swedish chief technical investigator Börje Stenström already on 31 October 1994.
"The writer ('little Anders') did not understand, what it was all about".
In retrospect it is easy to see that Stenström was embarrassed that he had to lie to the writer about technical matters. The writer met Stenström several times 1995-1996 and Stenström became more and more confused. It was said that Stenström suffered from a cancer, but this writer never observed it. Stenström conveniently passed away in February 1997. But Stenström was partly right - the other matters - what it was all about - the writer still doesn't understand. It is a pity that the writer never got an opportunity to ask Stenström who forced him to lie!
In April 1995 the writer in a letter to the Commission described their impossible statements - "no reply". When, probably by error, the biggest Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, DN, on 15 August 1996 published a long article by the writer concluding that the official statements of the Commission were not possible, the response was immediate
"the suggestions were unscientific and unintelligent rubbish by an unreasonable person".
After such a stupid comment by ignorant members of the Commission DN never published any criticism of the Commission and the SPF was brought in to handle the government information. DN (Anders Hellberg) had for years published misinformation about the accident and Anders Hellberg wrote a book about the accident, while the investigation was still on, confirming the false facts. One year later - August 1997 - the writer asked Dr. Michael Huss and professor Olle Rutgersson at a meeting to explain the stability calculations of the investigation. The only answer was that the writer was
A few days later (the writer spent a holiday week in Sweden pestering the Commission) the new head of the Swedish Commission delegation Ann-Louise Eksborg assured that clarifications to all the writer's suggestions would be given in the Final report, and a week later the former head of the Swedish delegation, Olof Forssberg, wrote from the Ministry of Transport that
"it was not possible to discuss the matter until the Final report was issued".
At a casual meeting with Johan Franson and Sten Anderson of the Swedish NMA in 1998 the writer asked, if it were really Swedish practice that passengers were supposed to jump into the water and swim ashore to save themselves from a sinking ferry. "No" said Franson "they climb down the rope ladders at the side and swim to the life rafts that are thrown into the water by crew members". Sten Anderson had a painful look.
The Final report published in December 1997 states that the cause of the accident 1994 were badly designed and manufactured visor locks 1979. Everything else was in order. The ship was in excellent condition. That an alleged event 1979 causes an accident 1994 evidently has to be explained and proven. The Final report does not provide any evidence whatsoever - not even for the alleged cause. Why more than three years of top secret deliberations were necessary to make such a simple - and evidently false - conclusion is not clear either, except that Democracy definitely died in Sweden on 28 September 1994.
No Reliability - No Validity - No Disclosure - No Significance
The Final report lacks reliability defined as -
"an independent analysts ought to reach the same conclusions as the Commission" and
"the reliability and completeness of the official data should not be affected by the investigator's understanding of the purpose and scope of the database".
This writer has not been able to reach the same conclusions as the Commission using the official data.
The Final report lacks validity defined as -
"the found causes must be true causes and be predictive".
This writer has not been able to verify any causes of the Commission or that that they could have been predictive. On the contrary the writer has found that many 'scientific' reports to support the causes are falsified.
The Final report lacks disclosure defined as -
"ability to distinguish between events and underlying causes" and
"ability to reflect the sequence of effects and their interactions" and
"ability to identify a causal relation between different levels of explanation" and
"ability to distinguish between human error, technical failure, and environment" and
"ability to relate failures to the basic system modules: Technical, human, etc, and
"ability to identify tasks or operations not performed" and
"ability to identify tasks or operations performed below standard".
This writer has not been able to make any sense of the Commission's disclosures what happened on board.
The Final report lacks significance defined as -
"ability to identify preventive measures" and
"ability to identify consequence-reduction measures" and
"ability to formulate recommendations for prevention" and, finally,
"ability to formulate recommendations for consequence reducing measures".
The writer concludes that the official investigation of the 'Estonia' accident lacks all significance and is one simple, big lie - a conspiracy. The official, final report (5) should be retracted. Evidently the responsible parties will never admit to it and will never agree to a new investigation. Welcome to new Sweden! Please avoid Baltic ferries!
The writer thanks all persons who have contributed with information, observations, suggestions, ideas and analysis of various matters of this, his very personal investigation of the 'Estonia' cover-up and for the constructive discussions, often per e-mail, with interested parties. Any errors in this book are only due to the writer - point them out and they will be corrected - it is easy with a book on the Internet (the corrections will be duly marked as such). The writer will continue the work for real safety at sea. Now is the time for other experts - in other fields - to take over the continued examination of the
of the 'Estonia' disaster investigation (and other Swedish political affairs). Good luck. Nobody in the 'respectable' Swedish establishment will thank you. Therefore no new public investigation will be permitted within the next 20-30 years. Prove me wrong - and I will be glad - but a realistic view of Swedish 'democracy' is that nothing will be done to change the corruption of Sweden. The problem is not the 'Estonia' - it is the Swedish system as summarized by Mr Johan Franson, Director for Safety at Sea, Swedish NMA and one of the chief conspirators in the cover-up in the Swedish daily FinansTidningen, March 1999 (see also 3.12):
"Mr Björkman has bombarded the world, at the limit to maniac energy, with his basically conspiratorially founded opinions about the Commission and the cause of the sinking. ... Representatives of Swedish safety at sea, among them myself, chose to work with matters, that we consider more important for the safety at sea, than to discuss with Anders Björkman."
It is a pity that a criminal person like Franson heads the Ship Safety Inspectorate of the Swedish Maritime Administration and that Scandinavian shipping companies do not work for his removal. Franson seems mentally ill and is not capable to do a proper job. His only task is to prevent a serious analysis of the Estonia accident to improve safety at sea. This writer has no intent to discuss anything with Franson but feels only sorry for his staff. Franson was appointed to the job early 1995 by the Swedish government and is paid directly by the government. Franson and the kingdom of Sweden are an embarrassment to everything concerned with safety at sea.
Anders Björkman, M.Sc.
Naval Architect, Safety at sea consultant, Heiwa Co
* - References are shown in