Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.
1.26 Unclear Route Planning - Turning Point - censored
The Final Report (5) has no information at all about the 250 earlier, identical voyages of the 'Estonia' with e.g. the normal route, e.g. following the Finnish coast as the ferries from Helsinki. The suggested courses/speeds in the Final Report of the last, fatal voyage, i.e. along the Estonian coast (see figure 1.26.1 below) are not proven and seems to have been a one off trip. Normally the 'Estonia' followed the Finnish coast! The Polish vessel the 'Amber' met the 'Estonia' on 27 September 1994 at about 23.15/23.20 hrs Estonian time at position N59°22,5', E22°35,4', when the 'Estonia' had course about 260/265°. It means that the official position of the 'turning point' and the time - 00.30 hrs - for reaching it cannot be correct 2.25.
The Independent Fact Group has convincingly shown that the Commission states completely incorrect courses, positions and speeds for the 'Estonia' before the accident (see http://factgroup.tripod.com and click on up-dates 01.02.11) in the Final report (5). According to the Fact Group:
"M/V Estonia departed on time at 19.00 hrs, and nothing abnormal was reported in the first and original witness statements, neither from the passengers nor from the crew, except from one witness stating that she was faster than normal. Her speed was about 18 knots. The ship left through the north exit where she suffered from hard wind and waves from the port side that caused a list to starboard. The course was 290° and the speed reduced to about 17 knots. At this time of the voyage she rolled quite a lot and it caused problem for the people in the restaurants. She was heading for the traffic zone outside the Porkkala fairway where she should change to a course more against the wind and waves.
The 'Estonia' should, according to the Fact Group, have departed at the normal time 19.00 hrs (not later as stated by the Commission) - and then crossed the Bay of Finland and turned West using the same courses and speeds of the ferries from Helsinki to Stockholm/Sweden via Söderarm (or Sandhamn).
The 'Mariella' and the 'Estonia' sail close together
Many testimonies support the Fact Group - both from persons on the 'Estonia' and on other ferries, e.g. the 'Mariella'. It means that the 'Estonia' for several hours between 20.00-24.00 hrs sailed the same course as the 'Mariella' and the 'Silja Europa' with a certain time gap (the 'Estonia' slipped in between the two ferries in the westward fairway south of the Finnish coast and slightly south of 'Mariella' and 'Silja Europe', which sailed faster). Then the 'Estonia' turned towards Sandhamn (sic) at about 23.40 hrs to end up at the accident position at about 01.00 hrs. Both the 'Mariella' and the 'Silja Europa' may have turned towards Sandhamn during the night (it was an alternative entry point to Stockholm), but then shortly afterwards changed their minds and continued to sail towards Söderarm. Why the Commission invented a completely different course for the 'Estonia' close to the Estonian North coast 19.00-00.30 hrs and then adding a course change to Söderarm at 00.30 hrs is not clear. The Fact Group shows clearly that there is no supporting evidence at all for the statements of the Commission re courses and speeds.
The 'Estonia' should then have listed to port (? - Factgroup probably means starboard) at 01.02 hrs and turned starboard, i.e. not to port 1.9 as per the Commission to avoid heading into waves and winds and should then have drifted to the wreck position close by. In these circumstances the 'Estonia' evidently never passed the 'position of the visor' another mile further west, which therefore also is false 1.14.
The route of the 'Estonia' before the accident is not proven.
The Weather was not extreme
And what about the weather? Why were not the weather during the previous 250 (or 500 if you include the Eastbound led) voyages investigated? The Commission suggested that the accident took place when the significant wave height was about 4,0-4,2 meters. The statistics are quite clear.