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Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.


'The lead investigating State should be responsible for establishing the investigation parameters based on the laws of the investigating State and ensuring that the investigation respects those laws'.

IMO Res. A.849(20) 7.7.3

 

1.4 The first false Cause of Accident 4 October 1994

Four, five days after the accident, on 2 October 1994, the wreck was filmed officially for the first time at 70 meters depth by a Finnish ROV camera.21 The press announced that you could see a big hole, where the visor had been on the superstructure, but it was wrong - the ramp was closed. No big opening in the superstructure. Media said that the films showed a plastic bag on the hull - it has later been suggested it contained explosives 4.1 - and may have been left by the Swedish divers that dived the day before 1.3. The filming was according to the media concentrated to the fore ship, where the visor reportedly was missing.

But did the journalists really see the films themselves or did they only report what members of the Commission told them?

The video filming was allegedly done in four parts between 13.14,40 - 19.49,38 hrs on 2 October 1994, total 2 hours 46 minutes according to the Finns (Lehtola in letter to the writer 1998) - 16 hours were reported in the media. It could be that they filmed for 16 hours and that the result was a shorter, edited film, but the media clearly stated that Lehtola had viewed 16 hours of film.27 More sonar pictures were also to be taken! The video (2 hours 46 minutes according to Lehtola in letter to the writer 1998) is at the AIB-Finland archive, i.e. the Finnish Accident Investigation Board. A copy of the films - five cassettes - are also in the Swedish SHK-archive (act B1 a,b,c,d,e). The filming was done from the Finnish oil pollution prevention vessel 'Halli', with a Finnish navy crew. The photo group of the Finnish border guard reportedly did the actual filming by ROV. No written video logs exist about what was filmed, when and where and by whom. The films have little value from evidence point of view. The Commission was represented aboard by dr Tuomo Karppinen and Captain Simo Aarnio 1.5.22

Later information suggests that three video films were taken by the Finns using two ROV-cameras: The 'Jutta 1' film is between 12.26 and 18.54 hrs with stops between 13.59 - 14.51 hrs and 15.15 - 17.28 hrs - total three hours, five minutes film. The 'Jutta 2' film, ie a continuation, is between 18.54 and 20.08 hrs - one hour, 10 minutes film. The 'Simo 1' film is between 13.14 - 20.04 hrs with a long break between 14.51 - 17.51 hrs and minor breaks later - three hours, 12 minutes film, thus total seven hours, 27 minutes Finnish video film is available. But probably the two ROV cameras filmed eight hours each and only edited films were filed and made available to the public. The Finns sent five (sic) films to Sweden as on 5 October 1994 '5 off video-film from Halli, 1-2 Oct, of which 1 off Betacam' were registered at Swedish SHK (act B1).

Persons, who have seen the edited films (there is, as stated, no written video log describing the findings), when they became public in 1998, say that the quality is very bad and that you cannot see the complete fore ship of the superstructure - i.e. the starboard side of the front bulkhead and upper, open deck 4 cannot be seen, only blurry pictures of the port side are shown! This is very strange as, reportedly, the filming, 16 hours or only less than three hours, had been concentrated on the fore ship! It is quite possible that all filming between 15.15 - 17.28 hrs showed the visor at the wreck ... that you could not show and must be edited away.

In the Final Report (5) fig. 8.2 is a picture of the upper, open deck 4 shown - port side of the ramp protecting the superstructure - torn open (as reported) at 65,2 meters depth filmed at 13.52 hrs 3.10. At 13.53 hrs they filmed the port visor hinge, fig. 8.16 in (5), at 14.02 hrs they filmed at the bottom lock on the fore peak deck and the bolt, fig. 8.15 in (5), at 14.12 hrs they looked at the port ramp deck hinge again, fig. 8.11 in (5).

It is only the port side and the centre line of the fore ship superstructure which are shown - and all parts are at about 63-65 meters depth and it took only 20 minutes filming. There are no video pictures of the starboard (lower) side, which should be at about 72-78 meters depth, as the 'Estonia' was lying with the starboard side down. Either they did not film that area of the superstructure (or forgot to film it) or the pictures of the starboard side are cut - edited - off from the film.

This writer believes that the visor was still attached to the starboard side of the superstructure of the wreck on 2 October 1994. Maybe the work to remove the visor under water had already started on 30 September or 1 October and the first ROV-filming was arranged to produce invented 'evidence' that the visor had fallen off far away, when the ship was still floating? At this time the false wreck position was public and probably also guarded by some Finnish ship.

Evidence of Divers visiting the Vessel on 1 October 1994

On one of the ROV video films taken 2 October 1994 is seen on the sea floor the guard rails of the bow ramp. The ramp was at that time almost closed on the wreck. The guardrails/fixed railings were originally welded on the top/sides of the ramp and have apparently been cut off and removed from inside the ship. That the guardrails have been cut off from the ramp inside the superstructure can be seen on a video taken 2-4 December 1994 (act B40 c). Thus it seems somebody had tried to open the ramp under water before 2 October 1994 and at that time removed the guard rails. It is assumed that this was the work of the Swedish divers on 1 October 1994 1.3.

The Starboard Pilot Door filmed 1 October 1994

Interestingly enough there is a video film (act B1b - without written log) taken on 1 October 1994 in the afternoon, i.e. one day before the above mentioned Finnish films. The film is a 'seabed survey' where the sequences between 14:54.28-14:55.32 and 15:01.45-15:07.33 hrs are missing, total 1 min 4 s and 6 min 48 s. It is in this area you would expect to see the starboard forward pilot door in the side of the superstructure, which was just in the mudline. The area was filmed again by another ROV on 2 December 1994 - the Smit-Tak mudline survey - but that film is also edited at the same location 1.16. When divers led by Gregg Bemis in 2000 visited the location, it was complety covered by sand 2.24. It would appear that the Swedish divers had accessed the car deck on 1 October and cut off the guard rails. Very strange! It seems that the Commission has made great efforts to hide the fact that there is a pilot door in the side of the superstructure.

Fig.1.4.1 - Pilot door


Reduced Speed

The Commission informed Finnish media22 1994 that the films showed that the ship had lowered the speed before the accident.

How you can see on an ROV video film of a wreck that the ferry has slowed down before the visor fell off/the accident occurred is not known?

In the Final report (5) the ship does not reduce speed until after the accident - the alleged loss of the visor. The correct position of the wreck was again established by GPS on 2 October.

The Visor at the Bow

Sunday the 2 October the results of the analysis of the sonar pictures taken on 30 September 1.3 by dr. Nuorteva of the Finnish Hydrographical Bureau (or Finnish Navy) were announced. Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter (DN):

'At the side of the bow there is a big object, which either has been ripped off or still hangs from the wreck. The object could according to Nuorteva be the damaged visor or part of the visor' (DN 3.10).

Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet adds that the object

'was of the same size as the visor'

and that you could see it on all four pictures.

The object found at the bow, which according to Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter either had been ripped off or still hang from the bow, disappears then from all discussions. What was it?23 And why was the object not filmed on 2 October? The picture, which dr Nuorteva studied, could maybe be the picture to the right, which was published by the Swedish NMA in 2000. At the bow there is a seven metres high 'pyramide' , which looks like the visor upside down. Compare 1.14. The picture of the wreck has been sketched in on top of the barymetric chart. It seems they found the visor at the wreck. The Commission never admitted that they had found the visor at the bow on 2 October. Instead the Commission said that the visor was missing. A 'search' started. On 10 October the Estonian Foreign Office announced that the visor had not been found after one week's 'search'. In the press release they then said:

Figure 1.4.2 - object at 'Estonia's bow - according to the Swedish NMA!

' ... Dr Nuorteva of Finland said that it would not be useful to continue searching for the missing bow visor until the route of the ill fated ferry can be further studied. Mr. Heimo Iivonen is carrying out this work now'.

The Commission later stated that they searched during one week East/South of the wreck (if it were East/South of the actual or false visor position is not clear. A 'search' South of the false wreck position is, de facto, North of the actual wreck position) and they had, as reported, not found the visor. To find a 15x12x7 meters large steel object on the sea floor at 70-80 meters depth with sonar should be child's game. The statement by the Commission that they did not find the visor must be considered with great caution.

Then admiral Iivonen, 1.5 and 1.20, studied the route of the 'Estonia' before the accident and apparently had the brilliant idea to search West of the wreck (false or real wreck position is not clear), and see; there they found the visor on 18 October.

Admiral Iivonen should of course explain how he established the course and speed of the 'Estonia' before the 'accident' - the route was plotted by the radars at Finnish Utö, but this plot then disappeared 1.13!24 It was again hinted that the speed had been reduced before the accident - at 01.00 hrs 3.18 f. But there was also information that the speed had been increased or maintained until the accident occurred.25 The visor was thus officially found on 18 October 'one mile West of the wreck'.

The analysis of the 'sonar' pictures of Dr. Nuorteva taken the 30 September 1994 should be re-made when the 'Estonia' investigation is re-opened. What did dr Nuorteva see on the four pictures? Why were other experts not permitted to see the pictures? And the same applies to the film of 2 October. The object at or below the bow must have been visible on that film - 16 hours film was taken according media 1994, 2 hours 46 minutes were available 1998 but only 20 minutes show the port side of the superstructure. Why was not the starboard side filmed?

How to start an Investigation

The objective of the first stage of any casualty investigation is to collect as many facts as possible, which may help understanding of the accident and the events surrounding it.

The scope of any investigation can be divided into five areas:

· people · environment · equipment · procedures · organization

Conditions, actions or omissions for each of these areas may be identified, which could be factors contributing to the disaster.

During the initial stages of every investigation, investigators should aim to gather and record all the facts, which may be of interest in determining causes.

Investigators should be aware of the danger of reaching conclusions too early, thereby failing to keep an open mind and considering the full range of possibilities.

With this in mind, it is generally recommended that the fact-finding stage of the investigation process itself be kept separate from the complete analysis of the collected evidence leading to conclusions and recommendations, and that a structured methodology be adopted to ensure the effectiveness of that analysis. Having said that, the analysis may well help to identify missing pieces of evidence, or different lines of enquiry that may otherwise have gone undetected.

Investigation checklists can be very useful in the early stages to keep the full range of enquiry in mind, but they cannot cover all possible aspects of an investigation, neither can they follow all individual leads back to basic casual factors. When checklists are used, their limitations should be clearly understood.

The initial stages of an investigation normally focus on conditions and activities close to the accident and only primary causes also called "active failures", are usually identified at this stage. However, conditions or circumstances underlying these causes also called "latent failures" should also be investigated.

A factor to consider during an investigation is "recent change". In many cases it has been found that some change occurred prior to an occurrence which, combining with other causal factors already present, served to initiate the occurrence. Changes in personnel, organization, procedures, processes, environment and equipment should be investigated, particularly the hand-over of control and instructions, and the communication of information about the change to those who needed to know. The 'Estonia' had experienced two "recent changes" before the accident:

· change of flag and trade (Finnish/coastal to Estonian/short international voyages) without any improvements in life saving equipment, watertight subdivision, emergency procedures, etc., and

· major surgery eight months before the accident - big steel work of the underwater hull and installation of stabilizers.

None of these "recent changes" were ever considered by the Commission.

Information should be verified wherever possible. Statements made by different witnesses may conflict and further supporting evidence may be needed. To ensure that all the facts are uncovered, the broad questions of "who?, what?, when?, where?, why?, and how?" should be asked.

In reality the Commission never asked any questions of "who?, what?, when?, where?, why?, and how?". Instead the Commission immediately announced what had happened - and caused the accident - and speculated about not raising the wreck.

The first, false Conclusions

On 4 October the Commission, which was not formally constituted 1.5, issued a press release via the Estonian Foreign office at 18.30 hrs - Interim report no. 1. Meister, Forssberg and Lehtola presented eight preliminary conclusions (no evidence was presented), i.a.:

1. Beyond all reasonable doubt the capsize of the ship was caused by water collected on the car deck and resulting loss of stability.

2. Water entered at the bow ramp.

3. The bow visor was lost under way. ...

4. After the loss of the visor waves have hit against the forward ramp. The wave forces have gradually opened the ramp locks. This has resulted that water entered in on the car deck ...

5. The time sequence is not yet established.

6. It is not yet possible to clarify any problems with the ramp locks ... or why the ramp was opened by the waves.

7. ...

8. ...

It is thus established that the Commission already on 4 October 1994 - four days after sonar examination of the wreck finding a big object at the bow, three days after the Swedish Räddningstjänsten dive inspection and two days after the wreck was filmed for 16 hours or 2 hours 46 minutes - with no visor seen (?), but two weeks before they officially found the visor - established beyond all reasonable doubts that water on the car deck in the superstructure had made the 'Estonia' to 'capsize'.

In reality the ship had never capsized - it had sunk under mysterious circumstances, but it had never capsized.

The ship was then allegedly en route for Sweden, even if the route the last hour had not been established. The visor had allegedly been lost before the sudden listing occurred, but there was evidently no proof for that on 4 October. How the Commission knew that

"4. After the loss of the visor waves have hit against the forward ramp. The wave forces have gradually opened the ramp locks. This has resulted into water entering in on the car deck …"

is unknown - the ramp protecting the superstructure opened outwards against the waves - waves hitting the ramp from outside pushed the ramp only against its frame and rubber seal. How could waves open such a ramp after the visor had been lost?

Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter said on 4 October (i.e. must have been informed on 3 October, before the Interim report no. 1 was issued) that

"the visor has been ripped off".

"... the 'Estonia' will be raised "

was also reported.

On 6 October Captain Sten Anderson of the Swedish NMA said to DN that

'You can rip off the bow of any ship'.

This was really a stupid and untrue statement - never in history has the bow been ripped off a ferry in the Baltic.

What happened on Deck 0 (the Tank Top) at 00.30-01.00 Hours?

Nobody from the Swedish NMA informed that otherwise undamaged ferries of the 'Estonia' type actually capsize and float upside down on the watertight hull due to water on the car deck in the superstructure >2 meters above waterline.

And even if you can rip off the bow of a ship above waterline, neither the NMA nor the Commission ever demanded speed limitations of ships in severe weather, 1.47 and 3.6. And nobody bothered about the bow ramp, also above waterline.

On 7 October DN published an interview with watch keeping AB Silver Linde by an Estonian-speaking journalist Mert Kubu. The interview was probably a few days old and Linde told things that he later changed in front of the Commission.

Linde said that there had been a hard blow aboard at 00.40 hrs26 Estonian time, when he was on the car no. 2 deck in the superstructure 2.5 meters above the waterline making his fire watch round. Linde did not know what caused the blow. The ramp was tight.

Linde continued his fire round below the car no. 2 deck down to decks 1 and 0, six watertight compartments on deck 1 and three on deck 0, and found no cause for alarm. See the Plan of decks 0 and 1. (Later Linde has said that he didn't continue the round down to deck 1 and 0).

The path of Linde on decks 1 and 0 is interesting. Linde probably came down on deck 1 via the forward stairs and then passed five open (sic) watertight doors on deck 1, when inspecting the accommodation there. Then Linde probably went back and took the stairs down to deck 0, where he passed two open (sic) watertight doors.

Watertight Doors

Normally these doors should have been closed and Linde must open and close them when passing. Then strong warning bells would have been activated - awaking sleeping passengers on deck 1. Therefore these watertight doors were probably always open or blocked or the warning bells were disconnected.

The Commission has never asked Linde for details about this (compare 1.23). Nor has Mert Kubu and the DN, but its understandable. But on 10 October (see below) DN reported about the watertight doors. After having inspected the three passenger spaces on deck 0, Linde probably took the lift back up.

It is of course possible that a severe hull leak had developed on deck 0 further aft - in the stabilizer or sewage tanks rooms - at this time, which was handled by Sillaste and Treu, and Linde could very well have been unaware of the drama just 10-20 meters further aft.

Linde was not supposed to inspect the engine and service spaces on deck 0. At 00.45 hrs (sic, because in later testimonies it was 15 minutes later and decks 1 and 0 were never inspected) Linde was back on the bridge and met second officer Kannussar and third officer Tammes (also in the Final report (5) Linde is back to the bridge much later). At 01.02 hrs Captain Arvo Andresson arrived to the bridge. A watch change at 01.00 hrs, as reported in the Final Report (5), did not take place. Then there was an alert about water on deck 1 (sic), which was received by Kannussar via telephone. Linde left the bridge to go down and investigate. Then the ship heeled. In the Final Report (5) chapter 6 Linde tells another story.

If in fact Sillaste and Treu at this time were trying to isolate a leakage on deck 0, the bridge must have been informed, and if the sudden list was caused by remote opening of the watertight doors from the bridge, then Linde should have observed something of all this, when he returned to the bridge.

On 8 October DN published an interview with oiler/motor man Kadak, who said that, when the angle of heel was about 50 degrees, then everything fell over. Kadak then escaped through (open) watertight doors, which were not closed as some persons (Treu) remained. Kadak passed apparently through the engine room and up through the casing to the funnel. In the Final Report (5) Kadak says other things 1.48. Normal emergency escape from the ECR in the hull is via a ladder to the car deck or via usual stairs in the passenger accommodation!

The second Filming of the Wreck

On 9 October the wreck was filmed a second time by an ROV from the Finnish coast guard vessel the 'Tursas' with dr Tuomo Karppinen aboard again, i.e. the actual position of the wreck was then known to three Finnish vessels. Evidently they didn't film at the false wreck position.

The reason to film again was probably to verify that the visor was no longer attached to the bow - it had been blown off using explosives and torn off and fallen down on the sea floor, 1.14 and 4.1 at a second Swedish Räddningstjänsten dive expedition 3-4 October 1994.

Video 1 of that film is edited - the sequence between 22:21.24-22.22.30 hrs, 1 min 6s, has been cut and replaced by an 18 second long sequence recorded 3 hrs earlier. What a stupid editing. The result was two films by Tursas on 9-10 October 1994 between 21.55 - 02.19 hrs - abt 4h18m film available in Finland. Nevertheless the Finns sent four films to the Swedish SHK, where they were filed in act B 2. Many years later SHK informed that act B2 only contained two films plus a summary!

Thus - on 9 October they filmed on the starboard side of the superstructure, which had apparently not been filmed on 2 October - a close-up of the back of the starboard side visor lock is shown in figure 8.18 in (5) at 67,6 meters depth. One meter above the side lock there should be a huge damage opening, a hole caused by explosives, in the side collision bulkhead of the superstructure 3.10; it is not mentioned in the Final report and is not shown on any official films or pictures. This is very strange. The reason is probably that this damage was caused in the time between the two filmings of 2 and 9 October, when the visor was finally blown and pulled off and removed!

On 10 October DN informed that the watertight doors in the hull below the car deck on the 'Estonia' were open at the time of the accident. The Commission never investigated the matter. The watertight door system is not mentioned at all in the Final Report (5). Nor it is explained that the ferry actually floated on the hull and, if the hull were damaged, the ferry would still float if the watertight doors were closed.

Offer to salvage Bodies declined

On 11 October Swedish media informed that the Norwegian dive company Stolt Comex easily could salvage all bodies for about SEK 2 millions (eight days at SEK 250 000:-). The cost was just to cover direct expenses of Stolt Comex, which did not want to profit from the accident. It was a very nice gesture. The offer27 was valid for a couple of days, as Stolt Comex had its equipment at Helsinki. Stolt Comex had already on 28 September 1994 - the day of the accident - given the same offer to the Estonian government; see footnote 14 in 1.2.

Nobody in Estonia or Sweden replied to the offer.

In December, when the offer had expired, the Swedish government (Ines Uusmann) turned down the offer - Stolt-Comex was not a professional company!

Stolt-Comex had already earlier - on 6 October 1994 - made its offer in writing to the Swedish government to salvage all dead bodies. But the government never replied - it should of course have said yes! The reason was probably the following:
If Stolt-Comex had rescued all dead bodies - which they had experience to do - already in October 1994, the government could not use the dead bodies as an excuse to prevent a complete investigation of the wreck under water or to refloat the wreck.
Stolt Comex would also have seen the missing visor below the bow! The government instead produced a law preventing visiting the wreck
1.19. By keeping the dead bodies in the wreck you could always blame the incomplete findings on them. Video films of the wreck were edited - they showed dead bodies, the Commission said, etc., but evidently there were no bodies outside the ship at, e.g. the bow.
The only logical reason to prevent salvage of bodies was to use the bodies as hostage to prevent a proper investigation of the wreck. Because a proper investigation of the wreck never took place
1.16.

The first Swedish NMA Report

The NMA official report, supplement 502 in (5), written by Franson 1.16 what Sweden could do with the wreck and the dead was handed over to the minister of transport Ms Ines Uusman on 11 October.

Sweden had in theory no legal obligations, it was suggested. That there was a conflict of interest regarding Franson of the NMA and the sunken ferry, which had been approved to sail on Swedish ports, had not been noted. On 14 October Mr Gunnar Fredriksson of the Swedish daily Aftonbladet published a column with the title:

"The sea is a proud grave".

A few days later Swedish writer Yrsa Stenius supported this. Fredriksson and Stenius are well-known informal 'megaphones' for the Swedish establishment. Just when the Commission had been appointed the Swedish political establishment decided not to salvage wreck and dead bodies, even if the official decision was not made public until 15 December 1994 1.19.

In retrospect you see the reason clearly why salvage of bodies was not possible. Mr Lehtola had announced a false wreck position. The visor had no doubt been found at the wreck and Swedish Navy divers had successfully removed it using explosives and Stolt-Comex would have seen it when salvaging the bodies. A completely misleading first interim report had been issued about the cause of the accident. To cover up the real facts nobody should be able to examine the wreck himself.

But the accident had to be investigated - in spite of most 'facts' having already been established in the first interim report.

All false facts - lies - about the 'Estonia' accident were already established prior to the appointment of the Commission.

Thus, from now on all new published facts to support the suggested cause of accident, faulty visor design, had to be manipulated. This will be described in the next chapters.

---

21 By Jan Lindroth TURKU, Finland, Oct 4 (Reuter) - The 'Estonia', a ghost ship lying at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, is keeping its secrets -- for the moment. Remote-controlled video cameras have shot 16 hours of footage of the wreck of the huge car and passenger ferry that sank a week ago, but the ship's windows simply reflect the camera lights, refusing thementry. Inside the vessel are the bodies of more than 800 men, women and children, their lives ended suddenly when a pleasure cruise over the Baltic Sea turned into a nightmare as water rushed in through the ferry's front door. "It looks a little like a ghost ship, but of course we can only see parts of the ship through the cameras, only a few square metres at a time," said Tuomo Karppinen, a member of the board of inquiry examining the disaster. Karppinen, who has seen almost all of the footage, told Reuters no bodies had been seen. The grainy film footage gives an ironic sense of calm and tranquillity, as the remote controlled machines glide along the exterior of the ship. "We have seen no bodies, not one, and we did not see anything dramatic. There are very few objects around the vessel, just a newspaper, a plastic bag, things like that," he said. The images have concentrated on the Estonia's bow section -- or lack of one. The footage showed the bow door, which acts as the bow of the ship and lifts up in port, has been torn off. A gaping hole is seen where the 50-tonne door should be. The camera moves slowly along the hull of the white-painted ship, picking out its name and port of origin, "Estonia, Tallinn," before showing lifeboats hanging uselessly from derricks. The cameras zoom in on the bridge, where Captain Aavo Andressen is said by Estonian authorities to have gone down with his ship. The flashlights are reflected in the windows, which refuse to reveal the interior. "We tried to film through the bridge but we did not see anything there," said Karppinen. The remote controlled cameras are likely to shoot further footage in coming days. The video camera did not linger outside ordinary cabin windows, where each one probably conceals a horrible secret. Of the more than 1 000 passengers and crew, most of those who escaped shortly after midnight last Wednesday were on the top decks, enjoying a drink in the bar or one of several shows put on during the 12-hour voyage. Below decks, the older passengers, or families with young children were in their beds and asleep when the ship lurched and sank suddenly. They are probably still trapped in their cabins.

22 This morning's (Oct. 4, 1994) Hufvudstadsbladet (Helsinki) writes: Video film supports the theory about Estonia wreck. The stem visor disappeared - the interior ramp damaged. The ferry disaster of a week ago, the worst ever to have taken place on the Baltic Sea, was caused by the loosening of the ill-fated m/s 'Estonia's stem hatch. The ship is lying on the seabed south of Utö with its stem visor completely detached. This is what is shown by the video footage which the international investigatory commission in Turku was provided with on Monday. "First the lock of the stem visor broke. This permitted the visor to move, and then the stresses on it increased," says Tuomo Karppinen, the member of the Finnish commission who directed the filming of the wreck and presented the material for the press in Turku on Monday evening. The ramp which in raised position is supposed to function as a water-tight barrier behind the stem visor did not withstand the sea water after the visor was gone. The ramp is still on its hinges but has been opened about a meter at the upper extremity. "The amount of water which forced its way in onto the car deck is judged to have been of sufficient quantity to make the ship lose its stability, and this resulted in the vessel capsizing," the investigatory commission says in its statement. The under-water cameras also show that the vessel had lowered its speed before the accident. Even though we now know the way by which the water began to force itself into the 'Estonia', we still do not know why. The investigatory commission will try, among other things, to determine if it was a sudden stress or cracks in the metal which made the lock of the stem hatch give way.

23 'Estonia' sank with the stern first and the writer thinks that the stern hit the bottom at 73 meters depth at 01.32 hrs. Then the bow sank and hit the bottom at 83 meters depth about 150 meters East at 01.36 hrs. The clock on the bridge stopped at 01.35 hrs. The object at the bow must have followed the ship to the bottom. It cannot possibly have fallen off, when the 'Estonia' was floating.

24 ahrvid@linnea-grind.stacken.kth.se (Ahrvid Engholm) writes: It must be stressed that we do not yet know the exact times for a lot of things…. There are 'speculations' that the bridge of 'Estonia' had some strange indications:- about 20 minutes before, but we don't know for sure. … I've used the Finnish time (or EET) throughout … At 12.00 EET (= Finnish time) the captain changes course from west to more south and decreases the speed from 15-16 knots to eight knots. This can be verified by the Utö fort radar station's observations. At the same time one of the crew members, a fireman, makes his hourly routine check around the ship and on the car deck and doesn't notice anything exceptional. The course change and the decrease of speed was 'probably' made to turn the ship more to the wind and thus make the trip more pleasant to those passengers who were still in the restaurants and night club. The course could be corrected later when the restaurants would be closed and people were sleeping. Shortly before 01.00 EET the speed was lowered to five knots. This again according to Utö radar observations. The ship maintained this speed the rest of the time. At 01.00 EET … the car deck was still completely dry but (the watchman) heard some loud noise from the bow, went up to the bridge and reported about his observation. …

25 STOCKHOLM, Oct 5 (Reuter) - A Swedish ship captain said on Wednesday his ferry -- travelling as fast as he dared -- was overtaken by the 'Estonia' car ferry shortly before it sank last week, with the loss of more than 900 lives. Jan-Tore Thörnroos, captain of the car ferry 'Mariella', told Swedish radio he was sailing at 10 to 12 knots, the maximum speed he considered safe in the Baltic's stormy seas last Wednesday night. "My judgement is that the 'Mariella' could not go faster than 10 to 12 knots in that sea and wind," Thörnroos said, estimating the 'Estonia' was travelling at around 15 knots. Thörnroos, whose ship was sailing from Helsinki to Stockholm, said the 'Mariella' and the 'Estonia' sailed side by side for several hours before the Tallinn to Stockholm vessel pulled away. "It's obvious that the faster you sail in such high seas, the more pressure there will be on the hull," Thörnroos said. The 'Estonia', carrying more than 1 000 people, sank early last Wednesday when its bow door broke off in the heavy seas, allowing water to flood into the ship and sink it. Thörnroos said the 'Estonia' was around nine nautical miles ahead of the 'Mariella', when it sank*. The 'Estonia' had disappeared by the time the 'Mariella' arrived, but its crew rescued several survivors. REUTER.

* Actually the 'Mariella' was about 7 miles straight North of the 'Estonia' at 01.32 hrs - see plot in 1.20 - and was making 14.6 knots on a Westerly course. And Thörnroos was never on the bridge between 00.00 and 01.24 hrs, so how could Thörnroos state that the 'Estonia' 'pulled away' - and that the 'Estonia' overtook the 'Mariella', etc? Compare testimony of 2nd mate Eklund on the 'Mariella' in 1.9  as follows: "At 22.00 hrs I saw the 'Estonia' at an angle in front of us, about 30°, on the port side. ... Her course at 22.00 hrs was almost Westerly and she sailed steady there beside us. ... I saw the 'Estonia' all the time on the radar. ... At 01.30 hrs ... I heard on Channel 16 how the 'Estonia' said once Mayday. ... I replied to the 'Estonia' at once but they did not respond back. ... Meanwhile I recorded her position from the radar . From hearing the Mayday-call and until the radar echo of the 'Estonia' disappeared I think it was only about six minutes. The times can be seen from the log book I kept during the night. ... After hearing the Mayday we saw the lights of the 'Estonia'. ... During the voyage towards the position of the 'Estonia' , her lights disappeared and she also disappeared from the radar. Just before she disappeared from the radar I thought she turned to port ...this happened very quickly ... because the vector disappeared, I assumed that the 'Estonia' sank. ... We were using all three radars. ...During the voyage to the position of the 'Estonia' I manouevered the ship ... I also kept the log book. ... In the log book I wrote the exact times taken from the GPS Navigator".

It can be added that Eklund didn't wake Thörnroos until he heard the Mayday so Thörnroos had no possibility to know the speed of the 'Estonia' prior to the accident.

26 In DN Swedish times are used, here changed to Estonia/Finnish times. Linde was in 2001 sentenced to nine years in prison in Finland for drugs smuggling with another ferry.

27 APn 10/05 0217 Ferry SinkingCopyright, 1994. The Associated Press. All rights reserved.By MATTI HUUHTANEN Associated Press Writer TURKU, Finland (AP) 5 Oct. -- Salvage teams from several countries have wamped investigators with offers to refloat the ferry 'Estonia' or retrieve bodies trapped in the vessel on the Baltic seabed ... "We've had all sorts of offers…" Tuomo Karppinen … said Tuesday. "However, we cannot make decisions on retrieving the bodies or refloating the ship. Those will happen at a much higher, political level" … He did not say how the salvage teams proposed to bring up the bodies, or how much money they might be asking for the job….. A Swedish member of the nine-man commission, Olof Forssberg, said his government was under pressure to find the lost bodies. "I think we should do everything in our power to refloat the ferry," Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt said Tuesday. … Ingvar Carlsson, who will replace Bildt as head of the Swedish government Friday, said efforts should be made to bring up the wreck. But investigators say the cost could be prohibitive. "There's a good case for floating the vessel but we are talking in sums upward of $100 million," Karppinen said."At the moment, there's a fifty-fifty chance of it happening." A Norwegian salvage vessel was bound for the accident spot, some 70 miles south of Turku, Finnish radio reported. The ship could be ready to begin work as early as today (5 Oct), said … a representative of Stolt Comex Seaway, which owns the salvage ship. Kari Lehtola … said it was too early to say whether salvaging the vessel was feasible. "We really just don't know at this stage," Lehtola said, after viewing 16 hours of video film taken by underwater robot cameras. Investigators decided Tuesday to retrieve more sonar pictures of the wreck before taking further action. …

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