The Swedish Government has said that it is prepared to amend a law prohibiting diving on the wreck of the ferry Estonia which sank in the Baltic Sea. This was requested by the Swedish accident investigation authority so that the wreck could be re-examined.

The decision comes after documentary makers announced at the end of September that they had discovered an unknown four-metre-long hole in the ship. They had filmed the wreck with a remote-controlled diving vessel.

The Estonia sank in 1994 on its way from Tallinn, Estonia, to Stockholm, Sweden. Of the 989 people on board, 852 did not survive. It is the largest European shipwreck after the Second World War.

After the disaster, the governments of Sweden, Estonia and Finland decided not to recover the wreckage and the bodies of the victims. They designated the site as their final resting place and prohibited diving to not disturb the site.

‘We do not intend to repeal the law on the protection of grave rest, but we will see how the law needs to be amended to do the investigations,’ said Swedish Interior Minister Mikael Damberg at a press conference.

The Foreign Ministers of Finland, Estonia and Sweden said earlier after the gap was discovered that any investigation should be carried out jointly. They also want to take into account previous findings and investigations.

Bow visor

In 1997, researchers concluded that the disaster was caused by problems with the bow visor, although all kinds of alternative theories were circulating.

Survivors and relatives of the victims fought for more than two decades for a more complete investigation, with some claiming that the opening of the bow visor would not have sunk the ship as quickly as it did.

Source: ANP

Picture: Model of M/S Estonia (by Leif Jørgensen).

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