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3.18 The Accident according to the Germans - the Sauna was flooded
The Germans concluded already in 1997, before the Final report (5) of the Commission was published and before they lost their own credibility 1999, after having reviewed the available testimonies (24), that the below facts a) - r) could be established.
Parts of the conclusions a) - r) below had been told to the Commission in a letter of 27 July 1996 (act B155** 1.22).
The Commission made this information secret and it was not made official until March 1998 - three months after the publication of the Final report (5) and two months after the writer's first book (1) was published. The Germans did not protest that they were censored by the Commission.
Note the proposed (German) event c) - that a compartment on deck 0 was flooded and connected - leakage - to the sea, and that the time was 01.02 hrs - fact j)! Water inside the ship just at the time of the sudden listing can only have been caused by leakage below the waterline of the hull.
The leakage of the hull thus must therefore have started earlier but the Germans never present any further thoughts about the matter. Note also fact/event f) that the speed was reduced before 01.02 hrs and the course changed to port. This means that the crew knew that something was wrong, but the Germans do not seem to understand that. Evidently no detailed evidence was produced by the Germans to support their observations.
No German Observations investigated
None of the German conclusions have been investigated by the Commission and none are mentioned in the Final report (5). The writer will not present the background and comments of the German statements here, but one statement - o) - below is definitely not correct. Thus the Germans suggested in 1997 below events left (with the writer's comments right):
The stable Condition
Re point o) above about the stable condition at 40-50° heel, it is an impossible statement unless there is 500-1 000 tons of water on deck 0 at this time. There is no stable condition at that angle of list 1.9 with a dry undamaged hull below deck 2 and with water on deck 2 in the superstructure open to the sea and the deckhouse being flooded.
It must be recalled that the German 'stability' expert was no less than Mr. Veli-Matti Junnila, who had (a) initially approved the stability of the 'Wasa King'/'Estonia' in 1991 and later had provided the Commission with false stability calculations, that the ship was stable with >40 degrees list, 3.12 and 2.17.
The Swimming Pool flooded - the Ship was leaking
The sauna/swimming pool is on deck 0 forward Figure 3.18.1 Swimming pool on deck 0 below cabins nos. 1076-1096 on deck 1.
(i) water in the sauna/pool compartment on deck 0 in the hull, i.e. hull leakage and
If you slow down before an incident at 01.02 hrs you know something is wrong. But the Commission maintains that full speed - 15 knots - was maintained until after the 'incident' - the sudden heeling. Actually, there is no evidence that the speed was maintained after the first, sudden listing - just a statement by the Commission.
The old Problem with the Ramp
It seems the Germans believe that at least three persons were in the superstructure on the car deck behind the ramp trying to secure it, when the sudden listing occurred. This is highly unlikely for the following two reasons, A and B, apart from the fact that the best solution would have been to stop for a while with the visor/ramp away from the waves:
(A) The three persons in the superstructure must be able to escape from the no. 2 car deck after the sudden listing to starboard, which was caused by the water in the hull on deck 0 and which they could not have anticipated.
This writer therefore does not believe the German suggestion that the three persons were working inside the superstructure with the ramp at 01.00 hrs. They may have been working there or on the open deck 4 earlier to secure the ramp with ropes, but the main problem was evidently the water on deck 0 in the hull, and it could only have been caused by a serious leakage.
Why the Germans never spell out clearly that the 'Estonia' was in fact leaking before the sudden listing is not clear. The Germans finally suggest that the ship sank due to bad maintenance, which is nonsense. Bad maintenance is not the proximate cause of the accident - only a contributory cause.
Strangely enough the Germans never pursue the statements of Sillaste 1.3 that he had started the bilge pumps to pump compartments on deck 0 dry - before the sudden listing!
Speed reduced before the Accident - Crew aware of Problems - no Alarm
It is interesting to note that the Germans suggest, based on unknown testimonies, that the speed was reduced before the sudden listing. It means of course that the crew and the Master were aware of some problem - probably leakage - as you do not slow down in the middle of the ocean at night unless something is seriously wrong and then the Master is informed. Maybe the Master was on the bridge already at 00.50 hrs (or earlier) after having been alerted at 00.45 hrs (or earlier) - such information the Commission had to censor, as it indicated that the crew was aware of a problem long before the ship listed at 01.02 hrs - or according to the Commission at 01.15 hrs. The Germans never comment upon the fact that no alarm was raised, when the speed was reduced.
The Germans believe that two (or three) persons in the ECR escaped 14-16 minutes after the sudden listing, but this is hardly realistic or logic 1.48. They could not get out so late, but the Germans apparently believe so.
The German early assumption that the visor fell off about 18 minutes after the sudden listing was probably based on the information that the visor was allegedly found 1 560 meters West of the wreck. The Commission evidently suggests that the 'Estonia' then at 01.15 hrs was heading West, while the Germans propose that the 'Estonia' then at 01.20 hrs was heading East at no or little speed, but the Germans never attempt to recreate the course of events before or after the sudden listing (heading West) at 01.02 hrs, after the loss of the visor (heading East) at 01.20 hrs and before the sinking, which the Germans believe took place at after 01.50 hrs. It is more likely that the visor was attached to the ship, when it sank. Later the Germans have hinted that so was the case.
The 'Estonia' sank at 01.35 hrs
That the 'Estonia' sank at 01.35 hrs (and not 01.53 hrs) is based on the statement of the mate of the 'Mariella'.
The Commission apparently changed the sinking time to 01.53 hrs to permit the vessel to drift to the wreck position in dr Huss' false plot, which the Germans never noted.
Actually the sinking time 01.53 is absolutely false and manipulated by the Commission. The reason is that the Commission decided to change the time of the 'accident' - the listing and the alleged loss of visor from 01.02 to 01.15 hrs, i.e. 13 minutes delay. Then neither the Commission nor dr Huss could admit that the ship sank as early as 01.35 hrs, because it was then too short time to sink and drift, so they added, in a first attempt 13 minutes, when the ship was sinking at 01.48 hrs, and later 17-18 minutes, when the official sinking time became 01.52-01.53 hrs to enable the ship to drift Northeast >1 200 meters at >2,2 knots the last 20 minutes.
That everything the Commission suggested about the sinking are lies has been shown in 1.9, but the Germans have never pointed this out in their reports. Actually, the Germans have ignored every observation in this book. Is it because the 'Viking Sally' that later became the 'Estonia' was badly - incompetently - designed and built at 1979 with 22 watertight doors and defective life saving equipment? Could not the Germans admit that there were some inherent defects in the ferry?
Of course - the Ship should have capsized
The Germans developed and modified their conclusions 1997-1999. In 1999 a leakage of the hull below waterline must have contributed to - but not caused? - the accident, the Germans thought, but they had still no idea what caused the leakage. In an interview in the Swedish daily newspaper FinansTidningen 12 August 1999 by KC the Germans (WH) explained:
On 30 December 1999 the German group of experts handed in its Final report to a court at Stockholm. A few days later the Swedish 'Estonia' minister Ms Mona Sahlin stated that it didn't contain any new revelations.
New Findings never investigated
The German final report contains at least eleven additional new allegations, without complete evidence, which had not been reported before and which, evidently, are not examined in the Commission's Final report (5) Appendix 5. The new allegations are below left (with some writer's comments right):
These new, fantastic observations, which contradict many earlier German suggestions, support the theory of the writer that a severe leak in the hull below the waterline caused the accident and that the crew must have been aware of it before the listing occurred. The Germans may have misunderstood Linde - it must have been a serious leak on deck 0 - not the car deck - that Linde (or Treu) raised an alarm about at 00.45 hrs and that was why they slowed down.
The ramp on the car deck in the superstructure was evidently also leaking all the time, but it did not cause the accident. It was only when the hull started to leak and when water flowed in on deck 0 in the hull that the trim changed and leak water started to collect inside the ramp on the no. 2 car deck/superstructure. Then there were two bangs - the ship may have got even trim, while pitching - and the little water on the car deck flowed aft and was heard by the passengers on deck 1 below. Then there was the sudden listing due to massive amounts of free water on deck 0. That the ramp was then still closed is obvious. The ramp was obviously closed all the time, even if the Germans never make a big point about it.
The German Final Report - vital Information missing - no Logic
The German Final report is available on the Internet at www.estoniaferrydisaster.net. It contains a lot of valuable information.
However it also lacks a lot of very vital information;
The German Final report only mirrors the official report (5) and points out many errors in the latter.
The Germans never dared to state that all essential information in the official report (5) is false and that plenty of information was completely missing.
This is one of the reasons for this book.
The Germans have in fact behaved very strange towards this investigator. The Germans had regularly asked the writer for information and have even visited the writer's office and the writer has provided all information available in (1) and in this book.
The Germans have repeatedly proposed to the writer that his stability calculations 2.17 are wrong! But it is not the writer's stability calculations - it is basic, elementary stability calculations taught in schools.
For several years the Germans disagreed, like Stenström, with the simple conclusion that the 'Estonia' would have immediately capsized and floated upside down with >1 500 tons of water on the car deck in the superstructure.
It is one of the mysteries of the Germans! Why did they never point out this basic lie of the Commission - that water would only capsize the ship?
Furthermore, the Germans have withheld a lot of information from the writer, e.g. simple drawings of the ship, escape arrangements, swimmingpool design, etc.
The German Final report also includes information about various strange damages - e.g. holes in various plates - in the fore ship of the superstructure, which explosive devices are assumed to have caused before the 'accident'. The Commission denies their existence in spite of the fact that the damages can be seen on the video films taken. And there is no logic in the German reasoning: on the one hand the crew was trying to secure the ramp from inside, on the other hand unknown persons were blowing off the visor outside the ramp at the same time.
The Germans must have been asked by the Commission to present a stupid report - a little criticism of the Commission but not too much. And to add some conspiracy theories! This writer believes that the Germans and the Commission are today cooperating in confusing the public.
Stupid Conspiracy Theories
Various conspiracy theorists - including the Germans - suggest that the explosive devices exploded, when the ship was still afloat, in an attempt to stop the ship - and to sink it!
The conclusion is silly - if anybody would have blown off the visor, the ramp would only have got stuck in its frame, etc. and nothing would have happened.
This writer believes the damages in the fore ship of the superstructure were caused under water in (a) successful attempt to remove the visor from the bow, so that it sank to the bottom 10-15 meters below the bow, and (b) in an unsuccessful attempt to open the ramp. The reason for this strange and unusual undertaking must have been to give credibility to the alleged cause of accident of the Commission that the visor had (c) fallen off the superstructure under way and (d) pulled open the ramp. This very peculiar job should have taken place 3-4 October 1994.
It is thus easy to verify - check the video films taken on 2 October 1994 and compare with the films taken on 9 October 1994! The big hole in the front bulkhead 3.10 should have been made between 2 and 8 October 1994 under water to remove the visor. Strangely enough the Germans never pointed out this evident damage.
More comments about the German report Appendix 9.
So what caused the damages to the visor? A collision?