Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.
1.35 How the Investigation was ordered
The Final Report of the 'Estonia' accident (5) does not fulfil elementary requirements to explain why the accident took place, why the ship sank and why so many died.
The Final Report is an insult to everything about safety at sea, to all survivors and relatives.
How could it come about?
The first interim report about what had happened was issued on 4 October 1994 by the Commission 1.4. Not a word about why so many died. The alleged cause was confirmed in a second interim report issued on 17 October 1994 1.12. But not a word about the loss of lives. The same alleged cause was once again confirmed on 15 December 1995, with a correction - the ramp had been pulled fully open - and in the Part report issued 3 April 1994 1.19 and in the Final report (5) 7 December 1997 1.21.
Correct information about the condition and maintenance of the ship and i.a., its watertight doors 1.23, bilge pumps system 1.24, alarms and life saving equipment and certification 1.33 and the evacuation plan 1.34 have never been published. The Commission just stated/lied that all was in order. A simple stability calculation 1994 should have confirmed that water on the car deck could not have sunk the ship, but instead the Commission supported the opposite proposition for 38 months, 1.9 and 1.15, even if it is today impossible for independent experts to re-make the simulations of the events by the Commission (Huss). No explanation has ever been given why the crew never slowed down the ship in spite of ten minutes of alleged warnings of noises, etc. and the fact that AB Linde was sent down early to investigate. It was full speed all the time. No explanations why the 'alarms' did not work and how the passengers should have known what the alarms meant.
As no information available in 1994 supported the alleged cause of the Commission, the Commission had to (a) make the investigation secret and all evidence confidential and (b) state that it was a very complex investigation, which required a lot of time to carry out. Evidently - why? - all members and experts of the Commission could not discuss anything with outside interested parties. The Commission concluded that all safety systems aboard the ship were perfect, when it was clear to anybody that the crew did not know how to and could not evacuate all passengers in a dry condition and that the passengers had no idea what any alarm meant.
The Swedish NMA had many opportunities to stop the ferry at Stockholm 1993-1994 (and also 1980-1992) before the accident and to demand simple improvements. But the NMA did not do anything. After the accident the NMA participated actively in the cover up! Also the Swedish government 1994-1997 (Ines Uusmann) did nothing. Instead she appointed Mr Johan Franson as director of safety at sea - to assist covering up the scandal 1.16 and Franson was Uusmann's closest advisor, until Uusmann was forced out of the government.
Did the Commission, supported by Ms Uusmann and Mr Franson, actually believe in 1994, that it could cover up the truth about the accident and get away with a false report?
The Commission had confirmed the cause of accident only nineteen days after the accident 1.12 with no evidence at all. Ms Ines Uusmann was then the responsible minister and accepted the information - without evidence. The alleged complete (sic) investigation of the accident was then done during 38 months without any proper records kept. The Final Report was delayed to facilitate the cover up, what actually happened. No other cause than the one suggested 4 October 1994 was investigated.
The Final Report could very well have been the result of an early request by Swedish politicians and civil servants to protect Swedish interests. To blame the accident on the visor was suggested very early - the first day.
The Swedish Crisis Group
The Swedish Bildt government formed an ad-hoc crisis group on 28 September morning1994, which met six times - on 28 midday/evening, 29 and 30 September and on 3 and 5 October. Then the Bildt government resigned and handed over to Ingvar Carlson, who appointed Ms Uusmann in charge of the 'Estonia'. There are no records of what the Bildt crisis group actually discussed - but according to (25) the group early discussed the cause of accident - a design fault of the visor leading to its loss and subsequent sinking of the ship. Actually the crisis group ordered the Swedish NMA to investigate that cause. And strangely enough it was only that cause that later was examined by the Commission. The crisis group also contacted the Estonian government with a secret diplomatic request that Sweden should chair the investigation.
A summary of politicians and civil servants attending the meetings of the Swedish crisis group is shown below. An x shows attendance:
If the above members of the crisis group were aware of the fact, that they were subject to a massive disinformation campaign between 28 September and 5 October 1994, is not clear.
At a PR-dinner arranged by Kinnevik AB at Stockholm the spring 1998 the director Odd Engström, former vice prime minister to Ingvar Carlsson, when the accident was investigated and colleague to Ines Uusmann, stated that the Swedish government had asked the Swedish members of the Commission to agree with Estonians to avoid quarrels, etc. A journalist (AO) asked for an interview with Odd Engström, where he should develop what he meant. Unfortunately the interview never took place - Odd Engström died of a heart attack at the age of 56 on a park bench the week after the dinner - early June 1998. His health was apparently bad and he had a tough job. Mr Göran Sellvall, who was the government's head of staff and attended all crisis group meetings, died six months later in December 1998. He was 59.
Ines Uusmann, who was responsible minister for 'Estonia' affairs during the investigation, does not reply to correspondence. She has become director general of the Swedish Authority of Accommodation and Housing at Karlskrona.
The false cause of accident and the false course of events of the Commission were supported by the Swedish governments during and after the investigation.