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

2.7 Bad Safety Culture - not seaworthy! Dr Michael Huss (2)

The Nordic Transport workers Federation (NTF) arranged a meeting at Arlanda on 18 November 1998, where the NTF and the Swedish Ship Masters' Association completely disapproved of the Final report (5) and demanded a new investigation 1.21. Members of the Commission for the first time, after having published the Final report 11 months earlier, appeared to explain the obvious defects and impossible conclusions in the Final report (5). It was then shown that the Commission lacked elementary knowledge about ships seaworthiness and why ships float and sink.

Seeworthiness explained - Certificates

The Commission chairman Uno Laur and the Swedish head of delegation, the SHK general director Ann-Louise Eksborg 4.5 thought that a ship was seaworthy, if it had valid certificates, and that it then was no reason to investigate further - that the certificates could be wrong or falsified they had never considered 1.33. Ann-Louise Eksborg had of course never participated in the investigation - she joined the Commission after the Final report (5) was agreed and only signed it.

Seaworthiness is defined in the Swedish ship safety law (SFS 1988:49) of 28 January 1988 - 2 kap 1§:

"A ship is seaworthy only if it is designed, built, equipped and maintained so that with regard to its purpose and trade provides sufficient safety against accidents at sea".

Evidently a ship is not seaworthy because it has, in the 'Estonia' case temporary, certificates. Naturally the 'Estonia' was not seaworthy as, i.a. the watertight subdivision was incorrect 1.23 and the life saving equipment was not complete 1.33 and the maintenance was deficient and all safety procedures were incorrect.

The Finnish member and stability expert Tuomo Karppinen could then not explain how alleged water on the car deck, which first apparently should have heeled the 'Estonia' by collecting in the side of the superstructure, then would have sunk the ship.

Why didn't the ship capsize and float upside down?

No Capsize explained - Water flows through watertight Divisions

Karppinen stated that the water always, one way or another (?) should have passed through watertight divisions, decks and bulkheads, and had therefore sunk the ship. The meeting was quite amazed of this unscientific explanation.

The Final report (5) had never explained how the 'Estonia' sank and then, four years after the accident, the Commission could not explain how and why the 'Estonia' had sunk 1.9!

Swedish NMA safety director Franson had just earlier stated that the Final report was complete (sic) and reliable.

Independent Investigation why the Ship sank

However Karppinen and Huss decided then - on 22 February 1999 (TT-telegram) - to make an independent investigation why the ship sank so fast (or slow), which was also confirmed in the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet the following day. It confirmed that the Final report (5) was not complete. But no results were ever published by Huss/Karppinen. The Swedish minister Mona Sahlin has since used Dr. Huss as expert when meeting the parliamentary parties, etc. Dr. Huss later assisted the SHK to state that this book does not contain any information affecting the alleged course of events, etc. On 17 April 2001 Dr Huss was appointed a director at the Swedish NMA. The appointment was only made public at a notice board inside the NMA building and was not announced to the public until the 9 May 2001. The 8 May 2001 was the last day to appeal the appointment.

The official position of dr. Huss and the Swedish NMA today seems to be the following: ships like the 'Estonia' do not capsize due to water on the car deck in the superstructure (as stated by the Commission): they list but float then on the deck house for a while, which contains large, totally watertight compartments (sic): however, the big watertight compartments in the deck house apparently fill with water after a further while, so that the list increases: at the same time the water on the car deck in the superstructure - actually on the inside starboard side of the car deck compartment of the superstructure - starts to flow down through the watertight car deck and floods all 14 watertight compartments below the car deck in the hull: therefore the ship is stable all the time, albeit with a big angle of list: the watertight divisions below the car deck in the hull cannot prevent the ship from sinking.

It is quite interesting to note that nobody at the Swedish NMA staff criticises such unscientific reasoning. But it may be due to the fact that the subject is totally censored by the top management and the government. Safety at sea matters cannot be discussed openly at the Swedish Maritime administration - Sjöfartsverket. It is enough that a certificate is issued - then the ship is seaworthy - and floats on the deck house.


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