MS Estonia: new mission confirms official accident report

Estonian, Finnish and Swedish safety investigation authorities said Tuesday that a new research expedition to the wreck of the M/S Estonia ferry that sank in the Baltic Sea in 1994 did not provide new evidence that contradicts the official investigation report into the accident.

The sinking of the M/S Estonia ferry 27 years ago was one of the deadliest maritime disasters in Europe in peacetime.

It sank on its way from Tallinn to Stockholm, killing 852 people.

The wreck is now located on the sea floor about 80 meters below the surface near Otto Island.

The fate of the ship has sparked several conspiracy theories, including: collision with a submarine An explosion inside the ship.

The official 1997 report from Estonia, Finland and Sweden concluded that the ferry sank when its arched door locks failed to open during a storm, causing widespread flooding.

But the results of the joint official investigation were questioned When a large crater was discovered that was not mentioned in the 1994 survey.

The ferry wreck had a 22-meter-long, four-meter-high crater, but it was not self-made, said Rene Arikas, executive director of the Estonian Bureau of Safety Investigations, which provided the initial results of diving by underwater robots in July. .

Arecas determined that the wreck was resting on a slope on the sea floor and that the wreck’s position had changed due to changes in the sea floor over the years.

So the deformation on the chassis became more and more obvious. The new knowledge that the sea floor is extremely rocky came as a surprise to investigators.

With the help of a study by Martin Jacobson, professor of marine geology and geophysics at Stockholm University, Jonas Backstrand, deputy director general of the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority, believes that it is likely that the injuries were caused by the ship’s contact with the sea floor. .

“Based on the Stockholm University report, there is at least a high probability that damage to the starboard side of the ship could have been caused by contact with the sea floor,” Backstrand noted.

However, researchers still have no evidence to substantiate the official report on the drowning.

During the initial assessment of the Estonian wreck in the summer of 2021, the main activities included a pre-geological and geophysical survey of the wreck site, surveys of underwater robotics, and a 3D survey of the wreck.

Subsequent surveys will be conducted in March-April when it is likely to have the best possible view of the sea floor.

In addition to seafloor surveys, investigators want to speak to 137 survivors of the accident.

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