In a report issued in May the German 'Group of Experts' has provided investigation details of the foundering of the M. V. ESTONIA, a disaster that has taken the greatest toll of human life in the Baltic Sea in times of peace. The 'Group of Experts' has during the past five years performed a difficult investigation in a partly hostile and reluctant environment. The work was carried out during the first two years in 1995/1996 in close co-operation with the Joint Accident Investigation Commission of Estonia, Finland and Sweden (JAIC), and other numerous parties involved.
The investigation results included information concerned the design, construction and building of M. V. ESTONIA in general and the locking devices of the bow visor in particular, including the load calculations. Furthermore, detailed evaluations of all survivors' statements, statements and other documentation such as photos and videos showing the condition of safety relevant parts of the ferry before the casualty obtained from previous passengers and crew members were submitted.
During the first half of 1997 it became evident that the JAIC would not change its first technical findings and conclusions published in the so-called Part-Report in April 1995 in spite of all the evidence submitted by this 'Group of Experts' and others which indicate a totally different chain of events.
This Investigation Report covers all the evidence available to this 'Group of Experts' until 27.11.1999. In summary this investigation reveals that M.V. ESTONIA was unseaworthy when she left Tallinn on the evening of the 27.9.1994 for her last voyage, this condition was due to reckless operation and careless inspections. It also concludes that the earlier report of the JAIC misleads its readers.
The Report is available on CD-ROM at the cost of $50. This amount will be donated to an Estonian foundation for orphans following the "Estonia" accident. CD-ROMs may be ordered from Marine Claims Partner (Germany) GmbH, Mr. Werner Hummel email@example.com , Tel.: +49 - 40 - 374 119 20, Fax: +49 - 40 - 374 119 11 More information: Investigation Report by the German Group of Experts
Other independent opinion about the accident was published by Heiwa Co., which has been involved with ferry operations since 1989. When the Estonia sank in September 1994 with the loss of 852 lives, the Heiwa Co. quickly concluded that the official sequence of events was unlikely and sugested that the accident and its consequences could have been prevented by proper safety measures.
More information: Lies and truths about the M/V ESTONIA accident by Mr. Anders Björkman M.Sc., Naval Architect