Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.
3.19 Summary and Conclusions. Full Speed towards Disaster! The Report of Lies
The technical descriptions and analysis of the accident in the Final Report (5) are evidently totally unsatisfactory. Also the German information is completely confusing. The contradictions are remarkable. You must recall that, when the Final Report (5) was written 1994-1997, there were total secrecy and no public insight. All information about the accident was classified including the German letters to the Commission. No reasons for such drastic requirements in a democratic society were given, but as such was the case, you should require absolute evidence later. What did actually happen at the accident? The German attempts to clarify the matter are not serious. The Commission in fact presented two myopic versions, both of course ignoring everything surviving passengers had reported and, worse, basic stability principles that the vessel would have capsized and floated upside down with >2 000 tons of water on the car deck in the superstructure, which should have occurred after a few minutes with an open ramp.
Two Stories about the 'Accident'
On the one hand the Commission referred to third engineer Treu, who inside the sound insulated engine control room, ECR, allegedly heard two bangs just before (or after?) 01.15 hrs 4.4 and then observed that the ship heeled a few degrees and then on a monitor saw that the bow ramp protecting the superstructure was leaking and that water flowed into the superstructure space. This apparently came as a total surprise for all crew aboard, both in the engine room and on the bridge. Treu and his colleagues in the engine room did not have, e.g. any idea about any problems before 01.14 hrs.
Treu never raised any alarm, when things started to happen. No blame is put on Treu for that (because you cannot blame a person for something he was forced to say he did ... but never did). Treu talked on the phone with the bridge several times and tried to ballast the ship upright, started pumps, etc. All very confusing.
The main engines continued to run until 01.20 hrs and the speed was not reduced. Treu and his two colleagues remained bravely in the ECR on deck 1 until after 01.22 hrs, when the lifeboat alarm was heard. Not until then did they start to evacuate the ECR to abandon the ship. The three heroes - they had tried to save ship by ballasting with a pump that could pump 100 tons/hour, etc. while they had > 2 000 tons of water on top of the ECR! - then proceeded quickly and in good order to deck 8 in a few minutes 1.48. The Commission has not presented any evidence for all this. All is based on the oral testimonies of the three crewmembers.
The correct story was probably totally different - the three evacuated the engine room immediately when they lost control of the hull leakage with water in the engine room deck # 0, when the watertight doors were opened and ran to deck # 7. But that could not be said - they had to present false testimonies to the effect that they had remain in the control room and seen water on the car deck # 2 on a TV-monitor - the water entered at the leaking but closed ramp of the superstructure and then they tried to ballast the ship upright. Only an idiot could have convinced these stupid crewmembers to tell that story. But strangely enough the media, and the Germans, accepted the story, probably encouraged by the Swedish government.
On the other hand 3.7 the Commission (Stenström) has invented a complicated scenario starting with AB seaman Linde on the car deck # 2 in the superstructure hearing a big bang before 01.00 hrs, but that everything then was apparently in order, even if an alleged wave impact of 360 ton then had broken the Atlantic lock at about 00.55 hrs. After five minutes long check on the car deck # 2 behind the ramp - no leakage, no noises, no impacts - Linde is stated to have returned to the bridge on deck # 9 a few minutes later. The ramp was tight and there was no water in the superstructure - or anywhere in the hull.
Then - after 01.00 hrs - the bridge is alerted by phone (not by Treu, who was charging his walkie-talkie) that there were problems down in the ship, and Linde is sent down to check. The ECR (3/E Treu) is not informed. The visor side locks are allegedly broken at say 01.02 or 01.05 hrs by another big wave impact (>500 ton) 3.8, the visor is hitting up and down against the forepeak deck for 10 minutes between 01.02-01.12 hrs, when metallic noise is heard in the whole ship but not by Treu and not by Linde when he is waiting at the reception for five minutes and cannot enter the car deck, and when still nobody on the bridge is calling the ECR (Treu) to e.g. reduce the speed.
During that time the two visor hinges and the lifting hydraulics are allegedly broken, the visor is free to move and is cutting up the weather steel deck # 4 and a deck beam at frame 159 - all in the superstructure on deck # 4 about 20 meters forward of the bridge on deck 9.
Then the Commission suggested that the lose visor dislodged the bow ramp, that the visor fell off, that the ramp was pulled fully open and that 1 000 tons of water flowed into the superstructure at 01.15-01.20 hrs, just as Treu had stated (actually Treu did not see an open ramp, but - anyway!), and that the ship slowly listed to 15-20 degrees at 01.20 hrs, when the bridge called the ECR and wondered, if Treu could ballast the ship upright - with a wide open ramp.
Ballast the Ship upright
In the meantime the bridge had - according to the Final report (5) - noticed that the ship had collided with the lost visor - Bang! - and the officers on the bridge had (a) initiated a turn to port and (b) reduced the speed. The ramp was fully open - water flowed into the superstructure. Nobody saw the light in the superstructure illuminating the outside sea. Then, and only then, did the bridge call Treu and asked him, if he could ballast (!?) the ship upright, in spite of the ramp being fully open. This extraordinary call - the ferry listing 20 degrees with a wide open ramp and big waves running into the ship and main engines running - is an outrageous mendacity. Treu has clearly described it - it is the 4/O Kikas on the bridge that calls and requests Treu ballasting or shifting ballast from starboard to port. The general alarm had not yet been raised. The Mayday had not yet been sent. Main engines were running and ship was moving forward. Nobody thought of slowing down!
The bridge did not ask Treu to stop the main engines or to go astern and no such manoeuvres were done by remote control from the bridge in spite of the fact that the dive examination 1.16 found the bridge control full astern. No evidence for any of all above has been presented by the Commission in its Final report. It is only stated as proven facts. But there is no evidence.
And Treu allegedly actually attempts to ballast the ship upright according to his fantastic testimonies. He moves to the panel/console in the ECR with the ballast pumps - starts a pump, open the relevant valves and finds that he is pumping air - from the starboard tank on the lee side. This he reports to the bridge - a second call or a long first call. The starboard tank is empty - there is no water to transfer from starboard to port to reduce the list. At the same time more water enters the superstructure.
According the Final Report the crew never reduced the speed - it was full ahead - until the engines stopped by themselves at 01.20 hrs. The Commission assumed that the bridge reduced speed and initiated a turn, but there is no evidence for that.
The Final report also states that pumps had been started to pump the car deck empty - but no such pumps exist.
Then the list was >70 degrees and the ramp closed itself (!) and the ship sank slowly - the 14 watertight compartments below the car deck in the hull filled up with water. No survivors in the water were reported to having seen the ramp open. Some survivors stated that the visor was missing (but it could have been hanging from the lee-, starboard side).
Comparing the above two scenarios with what was said in the Part Report 1.19 it is easy to show that the Final Report is only an expanded reconstruction of what had been stated - invented - without any evidence, nineteen days after the accident 1.12 on 17 October 1994. Then the crew also did not do anything to prevent the accident, except that Linde was sent down to investigate some alleged noise. It was full speed ahead, until the ship was listing at 01.15 hrs, when the engines stopped by themselves at 01.20 hrs!
But you could not blame the Crew!
It is a nice coincidence that the observations of Treu at 01.15 hrs, are in complete agreement with all the other alleged happenings of the Commission until 01.15 hrs. That everything is one big lie does not make the job worse - it is quite a stupid manipulation. How the nine persons Commission with plenty of experts and observers managed to put together such a shameful document is another story. A Final Report of Lies!
The ultimate lie was that the visor had been lost prior to the 'accident' - the sudden list. But the Commission could never explain what happened earlier and how, why and when the visor had been lost. And the Commission could not explain what happened after the visor had been lost. Nor could the Germans.
Why didn't the ship capsize in one minute as the 'Herald of Free Enterprise'?
The plot of the Kalmar Maritime Academy shows that the 'Estonia' moved >3 000 meters after the alleged loss of the visor, which the Commission fully supports in the Final Report. But is the plot true? It is a falsification 1.9! Not even the head master of the Academy - Rolf Zeberg - believes the plot.
Leakage as the cause of the sudden list? No - the Commission has stated informally that that cause had been investigated and it was not possible. Why? Therefore! When? Sometime! The Final Report (5) does not mention leakage as a possibility. How were the 14 watertight compartments flooded? From above when the ship had >70 degree list! But then the air in the watertight compartments could not escape - why didn't the 'Estonia' float on that air upside down? The Commission could not answer - instead it became rude - the writer was unintelligent, conspiratorial and unreasonable.
Many Parties of the Cover-up
Then there was the high number of victims. Evidently at least 10 additional Estonian crewmembers survived and were not hesitating to state that the ferry sank due to leakage so the Commission arranged that they 'disappeared'. The Commission had to explain why 10 additional persons had died so the whole rescue effort had to be manipulated 1 .41.
The false certificates and incorrect lifesaving equipment and systems worried the Commission? The solution? It stated that (a) all certificates were in order and (b) that all lifesaving equipment and systems were 100% as per the SOLAS rules and (c) that the crew and the shipping company maintained correct safety procedures, when in fact 1.33 the ship was totally unseaworthy in all respects.
How could members of the Marine Accident Investigator's Maritime Forum, MAIIF, sign such a report of lies?
How could the International Maritime Organisation accept such a Report of Lies?
How could international safety at sea expertise accept such a Report of Lies?
How could 50 ship inspectors of the Swedish NMA accept such a Report of Lies?
And how could thousands of other, highly educated engineers and master mariners accept such a Report of Lies?
And how could the German group of experts accept such a report? It was so easy to state that the Commission just faked an investigation and that everything was false. But the Germans never did that - they issued a strange report of their own with many stupid conclusions.
Was it easiest just to forget the matter?
The Swedish Accident Investigation Board, SHK, does not any longer reply to any suggestions about the Final Report its members actually signed. The SHK only repeats that the Final Report (5) is complete and correct in all respects. The SHK paroles 'What happened?', 'Why did it happen?' and 'How to avoid that the accident happens again?', when investigating an accident, are not of interest to the SHK anymore 1.38.
It is quite sad to observe how the Report of Lies is accepted in Sweden. But the Report of Lies is just water flowing in a river. The river remains - and it stinks. Because it is very easy to show that the visor could not have caused the incident. The visor was apparently salvaged by a Finnish vessel under Swedish navy command at the wreck from which it had been removed after the incident and false visor and wreck positions were announced. It is easy to ask the officers in charge where they salvaged the visor - at the wreck (not at the false wreck position!) or at the false visor position? Or where? It is noted in the log book!