Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.
1.43 Psychological Aspects of the Estonia Investigation. How the Cover-up continues
The 'Estonia' investigators (and the experts and observers) worked together 38 months, met 20 times at big meetings followed by a joint dinner party and at over 60 times at smaller meetings. What they actually did is not clear. How did they manipulate the investigation and how did they write the falsified Final report (5)? All was secret. Statements to the media were done through appointed spokesmen, but no real factual presentations were ever done. Questions from the public were of course ignored. The Swedish Board of Accident investigation, SHK, was similarly not interested in any suggestions from the public 1.38. It was evidently not permitted by individual members or experts of the Commission to answer outside criticism or questions from the public. The Commission and the SHK were as oysters. After the publication of the Final report the investigators have continued to shut up. A teacher like Hans Rosengren has, e.g. refused to explain how the simulator of the Kalmar Maritime Academy could have produced figure13.2 in 1.9.
The 'Estonia' investigation is thus interesting from a psychological point of view. The writer once thought that the investigation went wrong due to psychological errors: that there was a crisis situation, where quick action was required, or that at the beginning the process went in the wrong direction, which could not be corrected later, or that it was a complicated case that had to be simplified, or that the Commission regarded the public as an enemy, or that the Commission was isolated, or that the Commission was so convinced it was right on 4 October 1994 and later only looked for facts to confirm the early false conclusions - one or all of these suggestions should later have explained all actions or confirmed previous actions of the Commission including the false Final report (5).
The writer does not believe any longer that the investigation went wrong due to some psychological errors. You do not announce false wreck positions 1.3 and you do not falsify e.g. the course of events as demonstrated in 1.9 for some psychological reasons.
All falsifications of the investigation were carefully planned and executed starting from 28 September 1994.
The Commission was later assisted in this task by outsiders like the Ethical Advice Board and the Group of Analysis, which were manipulated to fool the public. It actually worked and still works in a small country like Sweden, where most decision makers of government, universities and industry know each other very well.
It in turn actually creates real psychological problems. Many persons sacrificed themselves to cover up the Truth. Most got out without being noticed, e.g. the persons of prime minister Bildt's crisis group 1.35, which probably initiated the process. Others were more visible. Forssberg jumped ship in May 1997 and is now an appeal court judge at Stockholm. Rosengren is, as stated above, back at Kalmar as a teacher. At the Swedish NMA there was a crisis in 1994 - how to explain (cover-up!) the 'Estonia' accident. The safety director Bengt Erik Stenmark was made a scapegoat and was kicked out. He ended up in North Sweden doing industrial research. The head of the legal department - Johan Franson - was made safety director as a reward for his assistance of the cover up including the dive examination and all false reports he produced to the government. Ulf Hobro, the Estline manager of the 'Estonia', had to disappear after the accident and was out of a job. In 1999 Franson helped him and made Hobro head of the Stockholm NMA ship safety inspection office. Åke Sjöblom, the inspector that failed to stop the 'Estonia' at Tallinn 8 hours before the accident was made head of the Gothenburg NMA ship safety office by Franson. Dr. Michael Huss of the Royal Institute of Technology, who falsified the course of events 1.9, saw his academic career shattered. Franson made him a director at the NMA in April 2001 by manipulating the employment procedures at the NMA. The director generals (Kaj Janérus, Anders Lindström) of the NMA left one after the other due to the confusion at the NMA - they were not part of the cover up - just victims of the system. The solution was to make Jan-Olof Selén acting director of the NMA in 2000. Selén had already been placed at the NMA as a director of industrial and political relations earlier - to coordinate the cover up between the government and the industry and the various authorities. Now he was made (acting) director general. There were also other moves at the NMA to silence the staff.
The writer only mentions the above as the work for safety at sea suffers in Sweden. The Swedish NMA 1.37 is not capable to improve any safety at sea due to its internal problems. And the scandal continues. Relatives and survivors and others are still upset in Sweden and, in an attempt to calm them, the government decided on 19 April 2001 to spend SEK 25 millions on safety at sea research. And who will decide where this money shall be spent? Well - the NMA (Franson, Selén and Huss, etc.) has a big say. In principle it is the Swedish innovation board Vinnova that shall distribute the money but the actual money is only paid by the NMA. Strange set-up. No money has so far been paid.
The government also decided that the Swedish NMA should autumn 2001 arrange a seminary to review what had been done to improve safety at sea since the 'Estonia' accident and what to do in the future. The writer enquired three times when and where the seminary should take place. No response. Later it was revealed that the seminary was held on 24 October 2001 at Stockholm with 50 invited participants, most of them with no professional interest in safety at sea. The general public and real safety at sea experts were not invited: they were not even informed that the seminary was held. There were only four or five speakers. The main speaker was Johan Franson who gave a general review of rule safety rule changes since 1995 carefully avoiding any criticism and evaluations of these rules. Future work was apparently not mentioned. The other speakers - from the IMO, the EU and Color Line, Norway - apparently just added to the nonsense - everything is fine.
Finally the Swedish government decided that the Swedish Board of Psychological Defence, SPF, should collect a 'fact bank' that would provide all the missing information 1.49 about the 'Estonia'. The SPF director general Björn Körlof was reassigned on 11 November 2001 to a new job and the SPF thus had no boss to supervise the 'fact bank' job. Who was going to be the new SPF-boss? Well, believe or not. It seems that SHK director general Ann-Louise Eksborg shall be the new boss. The circle is complete - Ann-Louise Eksborg signs a Final report (5) with false and missing information 1997. The SPF is appointed to create a 'fact'-bank of the false and missing information 2001 and the SPF director general resigns. Ann-Louise Eksborg is then appointed to create the 'fact'-bank. It is of course a joke. The Swedish government is no longer serious. It just plays stupid games.
All above is actually for the media to tell the public. But will it? It seems to be a psychological problem there too! The Swedes do not seem to want to hear about the Truth about the 'Estonia', as it will show that the whole Swedish system is sick. So Sweden prefers falsification of History. It is Lyssenko all over again with Johan Franson being the new Lyssenko (and Swedish prime minister Göran Persson being ... He Who Decides). The result is quite sad. The NMA, SPF and SHK staff is paralyzed everywhere. The 'Estonia' is tabu - cannot be mentioned. New and old accidents and safety rules cannot be checked against the 'Estonia' information. The atmosphere at the NMA, SPF and SHK is thick, the staff suffers and is sick, if you mention the 'Estonia' you get the kick.
The situation at the Swedish National Maritime Administration Safety at Sea department is a particular pyschological disaster. Johan "Lyssenko" Franson is the boss at Norrköping. From Stockholm reports the local boss Ulf Hobro, who was (ir)responsible of the 'Estonia' 1994. From Gothenburg reports the local boss Åke Sjöblom, who was the last to inspect the 'Estonia' 1994. And at Norrköping reports technical director Michael Huss, who made the false plot of the 'Estonia' sequence of events. With such a team in charge of the safety at sea in Sweden I can only recommend one thing - do not use Swedish ships.