The new Estonian government is determined to continue the investigation into the disaster involving the sunken ferry Estonia. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told her Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven of this in a telephone conversation on Friday evening, 29 January.
‘This is a path that Estonia, Finland and Sweden must take together. We agree that the investigation should be done by independent institutions,’ Kallas said in a statement. Her government was installed on Tuesday.
Last year, the previous government in Estonia decided to push for a reopening of the investigation into the major disaster in 1994 after new facts came to light. The Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea in 1994 on its way from Tallinn to Stockholm. Of the 989 people on board, 852 did not survive. It is the largest European shipping disaster since the Second World War. Investigators initially concluded that the disaster was probably caused by a problem with the bow visor, although all sorts of alternative theories also circulated.
An article by SWZ|Maritime editor Björn von Ubisch in SWZ’s November issue discusses both previous and current investigation findings. Read it here.
Hole discovered in the wreck
Documentary makers announced last year that they had discovered a 4-metre-long hole in the wreck’s hull using a diving robot. The foreign ministers of Finland, Estonia and Sweden said, in response to this discovery, that a new and joint investigation must take place. They also want to include previous findings and investigations.
However, a common agreement is needed. Because many of the victims could not be recovered, the wreck of the ship has been declared a seaman’s grave and diving is prohibited. The Swedish Government would like to amend the law in order to reopen the investigation, which would make it possible to carry out new investigations at the site of the disaster.
Picture: Model of M/S Estonia (by Leif Jørgensen).