Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.
3.15 The actual Condition of the Bow Ramp - not tight!
According to the Germans 1996 (24) the condition of the inner ramp was also not correct.
The weather tightness of the ramp had not been maintained, i.e. the ramp was leaking. The Germans demonstrated that the port, outer, bottom hinge was broken and that the whole ramp was twisted. This in turn meant that you could not lock the ramp - the lock pins did not fit into the pockets on the ramp itself.
In order to make the ramp weather tight the Germans stated that the crew applied 'pillows' and similar material in the openings between ramp and frame. These 'pillows' can still be seen on the video films taken early October 1994. It meant of course that the ramp had not been open during the accident, as in that case they would have been swept away.
The Commission states that the ramp was in perfect condition, even if officially the ramp was never inspected from the inside. The Commission (Lehtola) stated also that the 'pillows' had ended up between the ramp and its frame after the ship had sunk, when the ramp closed itself, i.e. the 'pillows' had floated into position on top of the water in the car deck space and been pushed into place, when the ship sank, i.e. the ramp was closed then 4.2.
The observations of the Germans 1996, i.e. that the visor had many defects and that the ramp was twisted and could not be locked, have later been confirmed by other private investigators 1998, when the Final report had been published and the video films became available for scrutiny.
The Germans suggests that the un-locked ramp was held in place by mooring ropes 4.2. Evidently the ramp could then not have been pulled open by the visor - the visor weight could never have pulled a mooring rope apart!
However, in 1996 the Commission had to maintain the illusion that the ramp was tight, closed and locked, which had been stated by the Commission's star witness Linde, who allegedly had been just behind the ramp before 01.00 hrs and had reported that the ramp was locked and tight without any 'pillows', etc.
The Germans maintain that Linde lies!