Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.
1.31 The Windows in the Side were smashed
The Final report does not say it, but members of the Commission stated it, when they appeared to explain their conclusions, that
'the Estonia' could not turn upside down, as she floated (sic) on the watertight deckhouse decks 4-8.
The first conclusion of the Part report (16) 1.19 was otherwise that the superstructure (the deck house) was flooded and not watertight.
On a profile drawing of the 'Estonia' you see easily that the 'Estonia' had >200 windows of thin glass in the deck house on decks 4-7, which would immediately be broken, when the ship listed and the windows came under water. There were also normal, outer doors into the deckhouse at the forward and aft ends, which were neither weather- nor watertight.
It is obviously totally wrong to suggest that the deckhouse - >10 meters above the waterline - was watertight and provided buoyancy.
According all safety praxis a deckhouse is not watertight, not even weather tight and its contribution to any damage stability at any angle of heel is always zero. If you for any reason want to make a deckhouse weather tight, you have to provide windows with steel covers and doors of steel with six cleats, etc. The windows of the 'Estonia' did not provide any buoyancy. The superstructure - decks 2-3 - was however weather tight as long as the forward and aft ramps were tight. But the deckhouse - decks 4-7-9 - was just a big weight.
The Final report should therefore have stated that the 'Estonia' should have capsized - turned turtle - with about 1.500-2 000 tons of water on the car deck!
When the ferry had 90 degrees list to starboard (stable due to flood water below the car deck), the port side was horizontal high above the water but sloping aft, i.e. those who managed to get out on the horizontal port side from deck 7 could step through the windows and fall down into the water filled deck house - see page 82 in the Final report (5) (the windows on the starboard side was under water and broken). But to be stable in this condition, i.a. the car deck must have been fairly dry (and provided some buoyancy) and water must have flooded the watertight compartments below the car deck 2.16 to balance the weight of the deckhouse.
Later, when the ship started to sink on the stern, the persons on the flat, port, upper side moved forward towards the bow and were then drawn under water, when the bow sank under water, so they all drowned. It is very sad - if a ship is sinking, you should get off as soon as possible, jump into the water and swim away and try to find anything to hold on to, so that you are not sucked down still holding on to the ship, when it finally sinks.
Any statements by the Commission - or the Swedish NMA for that matter - that there is buoyancy in a deckhouse with windows are false.