Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.
'The vessel was on the starboard side, i.e. the heel was about 90°, at about 01.30 hours (several witnesses) and continued to heel to starboard until she was, probably at about 01.40 hours, completely upside down with the stern deep down and the bow rising higher and higher. It has to be assumed that the visor fell off by gravity once the vessel had turned far enough, probably to 130°/140°, when the forepeak deck sticking in the visor bottom and also the bow ramp did not support the visor anymore. It has to be assumed that the foundation of the fully extended starboard actuator broke when becoming exposed to the full weight of the visor.'
UPDATE to the INVESTIGATION REPORT ON THE CAPSIZING ON 28 SEPTEMBER 1994 IN THE BALTIC SEA OF THE RO-RO PASSENGER VESSEL MV E S T O N I A by the German 'Group of Experts' dated May 2000 and available in the Internet under www.estoniaferrydisaster.net since that time. THIS UPDATE COVERS THE TIME FROM JUNE 2000 - DECEMBER 2006
2.8 The Visor was lost after the Listing
It is not possible that the visor fell off before the list occurred at 01.02/5 hrs and it is not probable that 1 000 tons of water had leaked into the superstructure at the ramp at that time or that the ramp (or visor) caused the accident.
Söderarm, the alleged destination of the ship, is at bearing 289° from the visor. The position of the wreck seems too far South of a normal course from Tallinn to Söderarm 2.25. If the position of the visor a mile West of the wreck is correct is not proven 1.14, but let's assume it is correct.
In order for the position of the visor 1 560 m West of the wreck at xx.xx hrs and the ship's position at 01.24 hrs, when the Mayday was sent, and the wreck position at 01.36 (or 01.53) hrs shall connect (probably the visor position is false), then the visor must have fallen off after the list occurred at 01.02/5 hrs and after the ship allegedly turned to port (or starboard) at 01.03 hrs and before the Mayday was sent at 01.24 hrs.
A reasonable time seems to be 01.16 hrs, when the ferry had >30 degrees list to starboard, >2 000 tons of water had leaked in on deck 0 and spread through open watertight doors, that the course of the ship was 135° with the waves on the starboard side and that the plane side of the visor was then parallel to the water line. When the 'Estonia' then pitched into the waves, the visor side hit the water surface and the impact force was 6-10 times greater than a normal wave load in upright condition. The port engines had stopped at 01.06/8 hrs, when the port propeller was above water, starboard engines stop a little later and the ship continued South/East, where it stopped. The impact force acted high on the visor side and twisted it to port - the locks could not resist sideway forces - and lifted it above the ramp without damaging the fore peak deck, while the lifting hydraulics were simply pulled out. The visor then hit against the port underwater hull side - there are white scrape marks there - tipped forward and hit the bulbous bow. The visor may have touched the ramp, but it seems that it may have 'jumped' over the ramp.
The visor may have been ripped off later - when the ship sank - but then the visor position cannot be correct. Probably the visor was never ripped off at all but simply removed under water after the accident.
Photos of the damaged visor parts in (5) indicate that the list was 40-50 degrees, when certain vital parts of the visor where broken and bent sideway, first by the impact load and later by the visors own weight. The Atlantic lock was definitely broken by a sideway force (it may have been broken before the accident and was not in use). It is also probable that the deck hinges sheared off sideway, but see also 3.10 how the visor could have turned/tipped off, when the list was >90 degrees, when the ship sank and was still hanging from the starboard side. Scrape marks (or the lack of them) on the hydraulic lifting lugs under the hinge arms indicate that they did not cut open the weather deck, when the ship was upright. That the visor was lost after the listing is clear - how it actually fell off need still to be clarified.
Regardless - the ramp could never be ripped open by the visor, if the latter fell off sideway.