The M/S Estonia Accident investigation
The biggest Fraud in Maritime History - Submarine collision?
Anders Björkman imagines what could have happened

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'The visor movements … are not easy to understand. Damages, however, do exist which are not explainable - definitely not by the JAIC sequence-of-events - unless one is prepared to accept the only other alternative by which the same or similar movements and damages would have been created, namely the collision with another vessel. This would explain at least the very severe damage at the starboard side of the visor, created by an abrupt upwards movement and subsequent falling back of the visor and all the damages resulting there from. Time and again respective assumptions and allegations have come up in the course of the investigation either by survivor statements, e.g. observing a submarine conning tower near the heavily heeled ferry, or by external sources, but nothing concrete could so far be established, because information concerning submarines are classified.

As in many other still mysterious circumstances surrounding the sinking of the ESTONIA it remains for the Governments of Sweden, Estonia and Finland authorities to cast light into these dark areas'

German Group of Experts, February 2007 

 

Submarine Collision - North Baltic Sea - 28 September 1994 - 00.55 hrs

I am interested in safety at sea and do not like my or others ships sinking and innocent passengers and seamen drowning. If it happens, it must be investigated correctly. And you should use your imagination what could have happêned.

According to the official reports and findings December1997 - the JAIC final report - the M/V Estonia lost its bow visor in the Baltic at 01.15 hrs on 28 September 1994 after >20 minutes of alleged heavy wave impacts, metallic noises and structural destructions at the bow that nobody aboard actually bothered about, e.g. to slow down the ship

The visor therefore,fell off, we are told by corrupt government civil servants, and ripped open the superstructure bow ramp, we are supposed to believe ... at 01.15 hrs!

Sea water came then into the superstructure 2.5 meters above waterline at the bow due to pitching and forward speed and was loaded on the #2 main (car) deck during two minutes and caused the vessel to list - suddenly or slowly between 01.15-01.17 hrs - and to sink 50 minutes later with the loss of >850 persons.

Why and how a vessel with an undamaged underwater hull would sink with water loaded on the #2 deck above was never explained.

With a certain amount of water loaded on #2 main deck in the superstructure you would expect the vessel to capsize and float upside down. It didn't happen. And if that didn't happen, you would have expected all water in the superstructure to flow out, when the vessel stopped. It didn't happen either.

The Swedish government headed by prime minister Carl Bildt actually, personally (!), ordered on 28 September 1994 a false accident investigation to be carried out by his subordinate staff.

Many Swedish citizens became involved in a conspiracy where more people were killed left and right.

Some poor Swedes actually objected to the Bildt fantasy story about the missing visor and water loaded on deck #2.

The objective of Bildt was to blame the accident on the visor and its faulty lock design (by a shipyard) ... and to forget the following possibility:

Time

Event

Result

00.45

Estonia collides at 00.45 hrs and 16 knots speed with the aft part of a big submarine in the water ... or something. The submarine ... or something ... was just floating with its upper part above water at little or no speed. Nobody expected this to happen!

Persons aboard M/V Estonia, in many locations, hear and feel the collision impact. It could also have been an explosion aboard. We do not know.

The Estonia bulbous bow hits and damages the propeller of the submarine.

Scrape marks on the bulbous bow.


The Estonia visor hits the submarine vertical fin abovz water just forward of the propeller.

Sharp indent in the visor starboard plate side structure. Visor is also pushed up and side lock lugs are ripped off the visor. But the visor is still attached to the ferry by its hydraulics, hinges and lift arms.

00.45.05 - 00.45.15

The Estonia starboard hull pushes along the port side of the submarine ... or what ever.

Persons aboard hear the scraping noises of the contact between the two vessels.

Scrape marks on the Estonia starboard hull.

The Estonia starboard hull plates are fractured in several locations below waterline causing inflow of water in several hull compartments. The vessel simply starts leaking. Inflow is 100-150 tons/min of sea water.

00.46

Bridge crew has noticed the collision and slows down and turns vessel's rudders to full starboard towards the submarine. This is the last rudder action.

Passengers aboard notice that speed is lowered and that vessel moves differently.

Bridge crew alerts Master and other senior staff to come to bridge. There is 10 minutes of littel action.

Passengers aboard do not worry to much. Any problem will be sorted ut!

00.58

Passengers on deck 1 forward notices water on the deck 1 and start to evacuate.

Pool compartment on deck #0 forward has filled up and spills out on deck #1 above.

00.59

Master is on bridge. No General Alarm is given. Bridge alerts engine crew to check engine compartments for hull leakages.

Engine crew sees water in engine rooms and starts the bilge pumps. Attempt to close watertight doors fails. Water spreads in all engine compartments.

01.00

Confusion on bridge - what has really happened? A collision? With what? Senior staff has no idea. An explosion?!? Vessel has stopped in the water with bow facing east with beam waves coming in from starboard side.

No. 1 starboard lifeboat is made ready. Other lifeboats may also have been made ready.

01.01

500-700 tons of water has leaked into the vessel in several compartments on deck #0 - pool area forward and engine rooms aft.

Due to free surfaces of water on deck #0 the stability (GM) is reduced and the ship rolls slower as noticed by many passengers aboard.

01.02

Vessel heels and rolls suddenly >30° to starboard, up-rises and rolls to port and back to starboard.

GM is <0 and ship is unstable and can roll >30° due outside wave forces. Passengers and bridge crew aboard lose balance and lose furniture is moving and/or falling.

01.03

Vessel stops in the water with 15° permanent list to starboard side, which is facing south and the wind and waves.

This 15° list is a stable condition with about 700 tons of free water in five+ compartments on deck #0 of the hull. Vessel floats on the hull and the partly submerged superstructure decks #2-4.

01.04

Passengers on decks #4-6 start evacuation to open decks. No alarm of any kind is given.

Most passengers aim for open deck #7 P. Some escape to deck #7S side. On bridge there is total confusion due to the heel. Bridge staff tries to reach control consoles, etc. No Mayday can been sent in this chaotic situation.

01.04-01.10

More water flows in on deck #0.

Ship is still stable and the list is temporarily reduced when more water flows in that facilitates evacuation, but the ferry is losing buoyancy at a rate of 100-150 tons/min.

01.10

Aft end of main/deck 2 comes under water. The superstructure aft starboard ramp is open a little and is submerged. Water flows onto deck 2 (the car deck) through the aft ramp opening.

Vessel trims on the stern. With water on deck #2 aft in the superstructure vessel can now heel more than 18° while sinking. The superstructure is no longer effective.

01.15

Angle of heel is 20°. Evacuation to open decks is now impossible.

Passenger flow to deck #7 P stops. Passengers on deck #7P search for life saving equipment and await developments, while the ferry heels more and more.

01.24

Bridge sends Mayday via VHF. Angle of heel is >20°. There is a blackout aboard.

Main generators have tripped and the emergency generator starts. Starboard side deck #7 is close to the water.

01.30

Angle of heel is 90° and P stern side is below water. Mayday stops.

People are walking on the flat P side that is sloping down towards the aft end. All people on P-side jump into the water or some rafts. No. 1 S lifeboat is free and floating in the water.

01.33

Ship aft stern end hits bottom at abt 70 meters depth.

Vessel sinks when about 4 000 tons of water has flooded the hull below main deck #2. Vessel's bow is pointing up above sea level for a few minutes.

01.36

Bow part of the Estonia sinks below sea level and vessel comes to rest on the sea floor with a 110° list.

Clock on bridge stops. All people that evacuated are now in the water. Vessel disappears from M/S Mariella radar. One person in the water sees the submarine.

01.47

M/S Mariella sees radar echo of a mysterious vessel 5 miles south, i.e. in the vicinity where Estonia sank.

01.50

M/S Mariella sees how this radar echo disappears and believes it is Estonia sinking - again!

01.58

M/S Mariella arrives at the wreck position and observes people in the water.

02.00

Helicopters are alerted to rescue people in the water.

03.00

First helicopters arrive.

Master Avo Piht and eight Estonian crew members are rescued by a Swedish helicopter and brought to Huddinge hospital.

04.00

M/S Mariella has rescued 14 persons from the sea.

C.Eng. Lembit Leiger and two Estonian crew members are among the rescued.


The submarine has in the meantime contacted its HQ and reported that it is damaged and cannot move. It is ordered to sink to the bottom and remain hidden and not to participate in the rescue action. This is the vessel M/S Mariella spotted on the radar at 01.47 hrs and then sees disappearing at 01.50 hrs.

The Swedish government was informed of the accident already at 02.00 hrs. The exact position of the wreck was known. A meeting was set up at Turku, Finland to discuss the matter with the Estonian and Finnish prime ministers later in the day, when it was agreed to blame the accident on the visor only. Selected crew members were told to state that they heard a big noise and that they had seen water entering the superstructure deck 2 at the closed but leaking bow ramp. They were told not to mention massive water leakage on deck 0 and starting the bilge pumps and failure to close watertight doors, etc. Media was told to report that the visor had fallen off due to bad weather and that ships sink due to such happening. Master Avo Piht attending the meeting disagreed. Also C.Eng. Leiger disagrees. In order to silence these two witnesses and persons knowing they survivied, they were all isolated from the public.

The Swedish government then arranged a secret dive expedition to the wreck end September. The result was that the visor partly damaged due to collision is seen still hanging on the bow and that the ramp is closed. It was decided to remove the visor from the wreck in order to blame the accident on the visor.

On 30 September the Finns, responsible for the search, announced that they had found the wreck using sonar. A false wreck position was announced a mile NE of the real position. The Finns filmed the wreck for 16 hours on 1-2 October using two ROVs and announced that the visor was missing from the wreck, which was not true. The films were later edited to 7 hrs 30 minutes not to show any pictures of the visor at the wreck. The official story was that the visor is missing and that a search is being carried out for it.

3-8 October the visor, partly damaged due to the collision, was removed from the wreck and falls to the bottom below the bow of the wreck.

9 October the Finns filmed the wreck again using ROV. Also the visor on the sea floor below the bow of the wreck was filmed. The latter film was later destroyed.

17 October the Finns announced that the visor has been found using sonar. The location is a mile west of the wreck. Both informations are of course false. The visor was found and filmed at the wreck. End October the damaged submarine was towed out of the Baltic through the Sound between Sweden and Denmark. Mid-November the visor was salvaged at the wreck and brought to Turku. At inspection of the visor it was announced that it has simply fallen off the ferry due to enormous wave impacts having damaged its poorly designed securing and hinge arrangements.

Mid-December the true wreck position and a false position, where the visor was alleged to be found and salvaged, were announced.

The serious work to produce a false accident report started in December 1994, which lasted until December 1997. The scenario had now changed. The visor ripped the bow ramp fully open at 01.15 hrs. But it was not easy to write a false report. The report included falsified model tests showing frequent bow impacts >600 tons damaging the visor and later knocking it off in the alleged weather. It included falsified structural analysis reports how these false wave loads damage the visor locks and hinges. It included falsified stability calculations with water loaded on superstructure deck 2, where it is stated that the vessel floated on the deck house, decks 4-8. It included falsified testimonies aboard the vessel about events prior to and after the alleged loss of the visor at 01.15 hrs. All testimonies about a collision at 00.55 hrs were conveniently hidden. It included testimonies and other info about the vessel being in perfect condition prior to the accident. It included manipulated reports about persons being rescued. It included a totally false plot of the sequence of events between loss of visor and sinking showing the vessel drifting for 30 minutes to reach the wreck position. Every essential information in the Final report of the accident investigation is false. It is quite easy to prove in any court of law.

It is the biggest fraud in maritime history. You can read about it in my book Disaster Investigation issued 2001 when I didn't know about the possibility that the Estonia collided with a submarine. The cover-up was done by criminal civil servants of three (or four or five) countries at the request of the governments and assisted by the media.

The submarine? It was towed away and passed the Sound between Sweden/Denmark the following week but was hardly noticed due to the confusion about the Estonia sinking.

Contact anders.bjorkman@wanadoo.fr 

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