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Hei arvoisa lukijani!

Jo jonkin aikaa on ollut mielessäni kirjoittaa Estonia uppoamisen syistä, nyt kun villit salaliittoteoriat lentelevät taas netissä ufojen lailla. Perustan mielipiteeni yleisesti saatavilla olevista materiaaleista kerättyihin tietoihin, joiden lähteet luettelen artikkelin lopussa.

Vielä ennen todisteiden läpikäyntiä kerron, että en ole kovinkaan vakaasti uskonut aiemmin viralliseen selitykseen uppoamisesta, ehkä osin siksi, että virallisessa selityksessä ei ole mielestäni annettu riittävästi painoarvoa niille mysteerisille seikoille, jotka ovat sitten laukaisseet hurjiakin salaliittoterioita ilmoille. En myöskään usko mihinkään sukellusveneen aiheuttamaan uppoamiseen, räjähdyksiin tai, että kukaan olisi avannut keulavisiiriä kesken matkan työntääkseen sieltä ulos jotakin.

Kysymyksiä on silti avoinna paljon, eikä asioiden salailu auta ainakaan hälventämään mysteeriä!

Estonian perustiedot lyhyesti

Estonia oli Viking Linen rakennuttama autolautta, joka oli valmistunut keväällä 1980 saksalaisella Meyer Werftin telakalla. Se kulki useilla eri nimillä, kunnes viimeiseksi 1993 alkaen Estlinen Estoniana.

Keulavisiiri

Estonian rakennusaikaan keulavisiirin kiinnikkeille ei ollut kovin tarkkaa vaatimustasoa.

Otkesin (Onnettomuustutkintakeskus) viisiirin ja rampin kiinnekkeiden vaatimuksiin liittyvästä dokumentista ilmenee, että “Bureau Veritas’n (Maailman johtava testaus-, tarkastus- ja sertifiointipalveluja tarjoava yritys) säännöt eivät määränneet vähimmäiskeulapainetta sovellettavaksi visiirin vaaka- ja pystypoikkipinnoille.”

Ja, että “IACS 1982 määritteli lukkoa kohti suunnittelukuormat, jotka olivat noin kaksinkertaiset verrattuina ESTONIAn suunnittelussa käytettyyn lukkokohtaiseen suunnittelukuormaan. Kuitenkin Germanischer Lloyd antoi jo vuonna 1978 visiirin suunnittelukuormalle määrityksen, joka
olisi antanut kolminkertaisen suunnittelukuorman ESTONIAn suunnittelussa käytettyyn nähden.” IACS = (The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) is a technically based non-governmental organization that currently consists of twelve member marine classification societies. More than 90% of the world’s cargo-carrying ships’ tonnage is covered by the classification standards set by member societies of IACS).

“näissä suunnitteluohjeissa sallittiin suunnittelukuorman jakaminen tasan heloille poislukien saranat. Komission käsityksen mukaan telakan laskelmat johtivat selkeästi alhaisempiin kiinnikekohtaisiin suunnittelukuormiin kuin realistisempaa suunnittelukuorman jakoa sovellettaessa.”

“Telakka käytti kiinnikkeiden teräsosien kuormaa kantavien minimipoikkileikkausalojen laskemisessa kiinnikekohtaista suunnittelukuormaa ja sai arvon 6 100 m2 yhdelle kiinnikkeelle. Tämä tulos saatiin soveltamalla vetoon jännitystä 164 N/mm2. Tämä jännitys oli saatu jakamalla tavalliselle laivanrakennusteräkselle sallittu vetojännitys 123 N/mm2 korkealujaan teräkseen sovellettavalla
materiaalivakiolla 0,75, sillä tarkoituksena oli ollut käyttää lujempaa terästä St 52-2. Laskelmissa ei otettu huomioon alhaisempaa lujuutta leikkauskuormituksessa eikä sitä, että useat lukko-osat olivat leikkauksen alaisia. Jäljennös telakan laskelmista on tämän raportin liitejulkaisussa (Supplement 204).
Telakan käsin kirjoitettuja laskelmia ei annettu Bureau Veritas’n hyväksyttäviksi. Asennetussa pohjalukossa ei ollut laskelman mukaista poikkipintaa. Mikään komission tutkimista lukkokorvakkeista ei ollut valmistettu korkealujasta teräksestä.”

“kiinnityslaitteiden hyväksymiseen liittyvien toimenpiteiden sekava ajoitus näyttää johtaneen siihen,
ettei sen paremmin Bureau Veritas kuin Suomen Merenkulkuhallituskaan tarkastanut lukituslaitteiden kiinnitysten laskelmia ja suunnitelmia”

“Jotta pohjalukko olisi täyttänyt telakan mitoituslaskelmien vaatimukset, korvakkeiden vähimmäispoikkipintaalojen olisi pitänyt olla suuremmat.”

“On todettu myös, että mitoituslaskelmat pohjautuivat suunnitelmaan käyttää korkealujaa terästä, vaikka kiinnityskorvakkeet valmistettiinkin todellisuudessa tavallisesta laivanrakennusteräksestä. Tavallisesta laivanrakennusteräksestä valmistettujen korvakkeiden poikkipintojen olisi pitänyt käytettyjen laskentaperusteiden mukaan olla noin 8 300 mm2, kun toteutunut poikkipinta oli, ottaen huomioon pienet hitsit ja vain kahden korvakkeen osallistuminen voiman kantamiseen, vain noin 4 600 mm2.”

“alukseen asennetun pohjalukon kuormankantokyky ei vastannut suunnittelukuorman mukaisia vaatimuksia eikä mitoituslaskelmien mukaista vähimmäispoikkipinta-alaa.”

“Korvakkeet repeytyivät irti visiiristä. Kumpikin vei mukanaan osan visiirin takalaipiosta”

“Talteen otetun laakeritukiholkin kiinnityspienahitseistä löydettiin merkittävää säröilyä, erityisesti alasektorista. Tämä säröily oli saanut alkunsa pienahitsien juurista ja kasvanut hitsien läpi, erityisesti toisessa fuusiovyöhykkeessä. Parissa kohdassa säröt jatkuivat hitsin ulkopintaan asti, kuten myös maalaustöitä aluksella tehnyt opiskelija oli raportoinut. Normaalikäytön yhteydessä syntyvät voimat on arvioitu tarpeeksi suuriksi väsymissäröjen ydintämiseksi hitsien juurivirheisiin ja kasvattamiseksi.”

“Saranalevyjen holkinreikien pinta oli suurelta osalta erittäin epätasainen kuin ne olisivat olleet käsiohjauksella polttoleikatut. Tämä koskee kaikkia neljää saranalevyn holkinreikää, mutta eniten oikeanpuoleista saranaa. Polttoleikkausjälkiä oli vain saranalevyjen rei’issä eikä vastaavaa ollut talteenotetun holkin puolella. Tämän lisäksi reiän etureuna oli oikeanpuoleisessa saranassa noin 10 mm
edempänä kuin vasemmanpuoleisessa suhteessa saranapalkkien ulkoreunoihin.
Ei ole ollut mahdollista löytää syytä reikien rosoisuudelle – selvittää onko kysymyksessä saranoiden säätötoimenpide niiden asennuksen yhteydessä vai myöhempi korjaustoimenpide. Mitään asiakirjaa korjauksesta tässä kohdassa ei ole löytyny”

“Komission käsityksen mukaan saranoiden lujuustaso vastasi yleisesti ottaen suunnittelussa asetettuja tavoitteita. Normaalin käytön yhteydessä syntyneet säröt merkitsivät kuitenkin sitä, että saranalevyjen holkinreikien kannakset ja laakeritukiholkkien hitsaukset eivät olleet kyllin lujia.

“Visiirin molemmilla puolilla olleisiin käsikäyttöisiin lukkoihin kuului kaksi levykoukkua, jotka oli hitsattu visiirin takalaipiolevyn pintaan sekä laivanpuoleiset lenkkiruuvit, jotka voitiin kääntää koloissaan visiirikoukkujen väliin niin, että ruuvien mutterit voitiin kiristää visiirikoukkuihin. Mikäli ne olisivat olleet
lukittuina, ne olisivat lisänneet jossakin määrin visiirin koko lukituslaitteiston lujuutta
. Se, ettei niille ollut käyttöohjeita, on kuitenkin ymmärretty merkiksi siitä, ettei niitä pidetty toimivan lukitusjärjestelmän osina.”

“Ramppi oli suljettuna ollessaan lukittu kuudella lukolla, joista kaksi oli kiinnivetokoukkuja rampin yläpäässä ja neljä kiilatapin avulla kiristettäviä tappilukkoja, kaksi kummallakin sivulla. Rampin sivulukkojen lukkotapit sopivat rampin sivupalkkeihin hitsattuihin koloihin. Nämä kolot repeytyivät auki hitsien petettyä. Vasemman puolen alin lukko ei ollut vaurioitunut. On päätelty, ettei se ole ollut lukitussa asennossa, kun
visiiri on pakottanut rampin aukeamaan.”

“Lukot murtuivat yksi kerrallaan visiirin kuormitettua ramppia ylhäältä vasemmalta alkaen.”

“Hitseistä on löytynyt joitakin viitteitä vanhoista säröistä, erityisesti alaetukulman tukipalan ja sivulevyjen liitoksista sekä pohjalevyn ja sivulevytyksen liitoksista. Osa näistä on ollut jaksottaisten
kuormitusten alaisia. Nämä kuormitukset ovat aiheutuneet visiirin avaamisesta ja sulkemisesta sekä aalloista ja jäistä.
Väsymissäröjä on voinut syntyä jännityskeskittymiin hitsipalkojen juurissa. Säröjen laatua on ollut vaikea selvittää tapahtumien jälkeisen runsaan korroosiontakia.
Keularangan alapään tukipalassa, joka oli taipunut sisään visiirin alle, oli etupuolella neljä poikittaista säröä. Nämä säröt ovat oletettavasti syntyneet tukipalan taipuessa visiirin iskuissa vasten jääkynttä, vaikkei voidakaan sulkea pois sitä mahdollisuutta, että säröt olisivat syntyneet jo aiemmin ennen onnettomuutta”

“Kaksi pitkittäistä lattarautaa, joiden piti olla pohjalevyssä olevan kohdistussakaran kolon molemmin puolin, puuttuivat kokonaan, vaikka ne oli merkitty visiirin piirustuksiin. Näyttää siltä kuin niitä ei olisi asennettu. Visiirin pohjalevyssä ei siten ollut muuta rakenteellista vahviketta kuin takimmainen poikkipalkki, johon pohjalukon korvake oli kiinnitetty. Visiirin pohja oli siten tarkoitettua heikompi, etenkin pystysuunnassa vaikuttavia voimia vastaan. Tämä on saattanut vaikuttaa myös pohjan painumisen
määrään, koska heikompi pohja antoi vain vähän muodonmuutosvastusta pystyvoimia vastaan onnettomuuden aikana.”

“Visiirin sisällä on useita vaakasuorassa olevia likarajoja merkkinä visiiriin nousseesta ja siellä seisoneesta vedestä. Öljyä, otaksuttavasti hydrauliöljyä, joka on vuotanut pohjalukon hydrauliikasta, on kellunut veden pinnalla ja jättänyt jälkiään visiirin pystyseinämiin ”vesirajoiksi”. Visiirin ja keulapiikin kannen välinen tiiviste ei ollut aina riittävän hyvä pitämään visiirin sisäpuolen alaosia kastumatta.”

“ESTONIAn visiiri ei ollut täysin vesitiivis ja vettä tunkeutui visiirin sisään voimakkaassa vastaisessa ja sivuvastaisessa aallokossa, jossa laiva teki matkaa.”

“Vihreä vesi visiirin kannella olisi voinut olla kriittinen johtuen epäedullisesta vipuvarresta, koska visiirin saranat olivat melko takana. Metri vettä kannella olisi kaksinkertaistanut visiirin painon, mutta kiinnikkeiden murtamiseen tarvittaisiin monta kertaa enemmän vettä. Mallikokeiden ja numeeristen simulointien perusteella todennäköisyys, että kannella olisi vallinneessa merenkäynnissä ollut merkittävä vesimäärä, on mitätön.”

“Komissio päättelee, että suurimmat aaltokuormitukset vallinneissa olosuhteissa olivat suurempia kuin visiirin kiinnikkeiden yhdistetty lujuus ja saivat siksi kiinnikkeet murtumaan ja lopulta visiirin irtoamaan laivasta. Merkille pantavaa on, että visiirin kiinnikejärjestelmän lujuus oli samaa luokkaa suunnittelukuorman kanssa ja kohtalokas aaltokuormituksen taso syntyi sääolosuhteissa, jotka olivat vielä kaukana niistä, mitkä laivan voitiin olettaa joskus kohtaavan. Visiirin kiinnikejärjestelmän lujuuteen ei siten ollut rakennettu mitään varmuusvaraa.”

“Komission mielestä on ilmeistä, että visiirin kiinnikkeiden murtokuorma olisi ollut huomattavasti suurempi, jos kuorman kanssa yhdensuuntaisten leikkauspintojen alempi lujuus olisi otettu huomioon ja kiinnikkeet olisi rakennettu suunnittelussa tarkoitetulla tavalla”

Evakuointi Estonialla

Otteita Otkesin raportista:

“Eräiden miehistön jäsenten kohdalla havaittu passiivisuus, hälytyksen
antamisen viivyttely ja komentosillalta tulevan opastuksen puuttuminen viittavat siihen, että koulutus ja valmistautuminen ei ollut riittävää.”

MAINOS:

MAINOS PÄÄTTYY

“Kasvavan kallistuman lisäksi ESTONIAn rakenteet tekivät evakuoinnin vaikeaksi.
Useimpien käytävien ja asuintilojen portaikkojen leveys oli 1,2 m. Tämä oli luultavasti riittävä tila kahdelle normaalikokoiselle ihmiselle toistensa ohittamiseen, mutta kun ihmisiä tungeksi, seisoi paikallaan ja makasi tai ryömi lattialla, oli vaikea liikkua niin pienissä tiloissa toiset huomioon ottaen ja tunkematta toisten tielle. Näin kapeissa pitkittäissuuntaisissa käytävissä oli myös ilmeisen vaikea liikkua, kun kallistuma ylitti 30°. Kallistuman saavuttaessa noin 45°, tehokas liikkuminen käytävillä kävi lähes mahdottomaksi normaalikokoiselle aikuiselle.”

“Komissio arvelee, että komentosillalta kaiutinjärjestelmän välityksellä annettu informaatio olisi voinut vaikuttaa matkustajien käyttäytymiseen, varsinkin jos järjestelmää olisi käytetty käskyjen antamiseen sekä matkustajille että miehistölle. Määrätietoiset ohjeet olisivat saattaneet pelastaa monia hämmentyneitä ihmisiä ja ne olisi pitänyt antaa onnettomuustapahtumien ensimmäisten minuuttien aikana.”

“Komissio on arvioinut, että mahdollisuudet pelastautua ESTONIAn avoimille kansille katosivat, kun kallistuma oli noin 45°–50°. Suunnilleen näillä kallistuskulmilla joillakin kyllin tarmokkailla henkilöillä, joilla oli sopivat jalkineet ja jotka saivat apua toisilta sisällä tai ulkona kannella olleilta, on yhä saattanut olla pienet mahdollisuudet päästä ulos. Pääsyyn avoimelle kannelle oli aikaa vain 15–20 minuuttia alkaen siitä, kun ihmiset lähtivät liikkeelle siihen, kun kallistuma oli 45°– 50°. Suurimmalle osalle laivalla olleista,
jotka eivät havahtuneet ennen ensimmäistä kallistumaa, tämä aika oli noin 10 minuuttia. Kun muistetaan käytävien kapeus ja pelastettavien suuri määrä, aika oli erittäin lyhyt.

“Ainakin yksi säilytyslaatikko, jossa oli pelastusliivejä, irtosi ja putosi mereen. Monet eloonjääneistä ovat sanoneet, että pelastusliivit vaikuttivat vanhanaikaisilta ja pelastettujen keskuudessa oltiin yleisesti sitä mieltä, että oli vaikea ymmärtää, miten niitä käytetään ja miten ne puetaan. Monet pelastusliivit
oli sidottu yhteen kolmen kappaleen nippuihin ja niitä oli vaikea erottaa. Pelastusliivejä repeytyi myös pois ihmisten iskeytyessä veteen. Pelastuneet kertoivat, että pelastusliivit vaikuttivat puutteellisilta, nauhoja puuttui tai ne vaikuttivat liian lyhyiltä. Ihmisten piti auttaa toinen toisiaan ymmärtääkseen, miten
ne puetaan ja myös niiden pukemisessa.”

Onnettomuuden syyt Otkesin mukaan

“ESTONIAn keulavisiirin lukituslaitteet pettivät, koska aaltojen iskuista aiheutuva kuormitus synnytti avaavan momentin kannen saranoiden suhteen.
“ESTONIA oli ainoastaan kerran tai kaksi aikaisemmin matkalla Tallinnasta Tukholmaan joutunut yhtä ankaraan merenkäyntiin kuin onnettomuusyönä. Todennäköisyys kohdata voimakas vasta-aallokko oli aluksen aiemmilla reiteillä ollut hyvin pieni. Näin ollen onnettomuus tapahtui olosuhteissa, joissa aaltojen aiheuttama kuormitus oli todennäköisesti pahin,minkä alus koskaan kohtasi.”

“Visiirin kiinnityksen suunnittelu ei perustunut realistisiin oletuksiin muun muassa suunnittelukuorman
suuruusluokasta, kuormituksen jakautumisesta ja murtumistavasta. Kiinnikkeitä ei ollut rakennettu niin
vahvoiksi kuin tehdyt yksinkertaiset laskelmat edellyttivät.”

“ESTONIAn kaatumisen syynä olivat autokannelle päässyt suuri määrä vettä, vakavuuden menetys ja näitä seurannut vuoto yläkansien kautta sisätiloihin. Avoin, koko aluksen levyinen autokansi myötävaikutti kallistuman nopeaan kasvuun. Käännös vasempaan altisti aluksi avoimen keulan ja myöhemmin kallistuneen kyljen aalloille ja lyhensi aikaa, joka kului ennen kuin ensimmäiset ikkunat ja ovet särkyivät. Tämä johti lisääntyvään veden sisääntuloon ja uppoamiseen.”

“Komentosillalla ollut päällystö ei vähentänyt nopeutta saatuaan kaksi ilmoitusta metallisista äänistä ja määrättyään keula-alueen tutkittavaksi. Pikainen nopeuden alentaminen tässä vaiheessa olisi merkittävästi lisännyt selviytymismahdollisuuksia.”

“Visiiriä ei voinut nähdä ohjauspaikalta, mikä on komission mielestä merkittävä kaatumiseen myötävaikuttanut seikka. Kaikissa komission tuntemissa tapauksissa, joissa visiiri on avautunut merellä lukituslaitteiden pettämisen takia, avautuminen on voitu visuaalisesti havaita komentosillalta ja vahtipäällystö on voinut nopeasti ryhtyä tarpeellisiin toimenpiteisiin.”

“Eräät merkit viittaavat siihen, että miehistö ei käyttänyt kaikkia keinoja tapahtumaan liittyvän tiedon hankkimiseen tai tietojen vaihtoon siinä vaiheessa, kun olisi vielä ollut mahdollista vaikuttaa onnettomuuden etenemiseen. Komentosillalla olleet miehistön jäsenet eivät ilmeisesti katsoneet TV-monitoria, josta he olisivat havainneet, että autokannelle pääsi vettä, eivätkä he myöskään kysyneet
tai saaneet tietoja konevalvomossa olevilta, jotka olivat havainneet veden tulon.”

“Visiirin lukituksen ilmaisevien merkkivalojen anturit oli kytketty sivulukkojen tappeihin sillä tavalla, että valo komentosillalla osoitti visiirin olevan lukittu jopa senkin jälkeen, kun se oli pudonnut mereen. Visiirin tilaa koskeva epäsuora tieto oli näin ollen harhaanjohtava. Rampin lukituksen merkkilamppu ei luultavasti palanut, koska yksi lukkotapeista ei ollut täysin kiinni. Yksikään merkkivalo ei siis varoittanut, kun visiiri oli pakottanut rampin osittain auki ja se nojasi visiiriin sen sisällä.”

German group of expertsien löydöksiä:

“The German ‘Group of Experts‘ was formed in the beginning of February 1995 in accordance with a decision of the Managing Director of Jos. L. Meyer GmbH, in Papenburg – Dipl. Ing. Bernard Meyer”

“VIKING SALLY was built for the Viking Line service between Turku, Mariehamn and Stockholm, i.e. the longer part of the voyage was leading through the archipelago off the Finnish west coast, respectively off the Åland Islands. The longest distance across the open sea was between the exit of the Åland archipelago and the northern entrance to the Stockholm archipelago (Söderarm) viz. 28 nm, i.e. the vessels were never more than 14 nm away from the nearest land or, in SOLAS terms, the vessels were always sailing in “sheltered waters”

“This ‘Group of Experts’ is therefore convinced that it had been the wish of owners, and was approved by the Classification Society as well as by the National Shipping Administration, F.B.N., already during the planning stage of the newbuilding that the bow ramp should act as upper extension of the collision bulkhead above bulkhead deck, although its location did not comply with the respective requirements of SOLAS 1974.”

“Since the position of the bow ramp of ESTONIA did not satisfy the SOLAS requirements for an upper extension of the collision bulkhead an exemption certificate should have been issued on the condition that the vessel in the course of its voyages did not proceed more than 20 nautical miles from the nearest land. This was the intention when the ferry was built and actually she sailed in “sheltered waters” with certainty for the first 101/2 years of her life.” Linkki.

Åke Sjöblom and Gunnar Zahlée – On the day after the casualty, 29 September 1994, Chief Inspector Åke Sjöblom and Inspector Gunnar Zahlée returned from Tallinn to Sweden with their knowledge of the extremely bad condition of visor and bow ramp, the incompetence of the crew and finally the impossibility to stop the ferry from departing despite all their endeavours.

Already on the following day a confidential meeting behind closed doors took place which was chaired by the then head of Sjöfartsinspektionen, Bengt-Erik Stenmark, with the heads of the Stockholm and Gothenburg offices of Sjöfartsinspektionen and their assistants attending. Åke Sjöblom informed those assembled about his real findings and his desperate but futile attempts to stop the ferry from departing. The very far reaching consequences were discussed, but then it was decided to inform the public that only minor deficiencies had been found, moreover that the inspection had only been on-the-job training and not a real PSC.”

Hi Börje, Attached is what I think should be roughly enough to have stopped her from sailing on 27.09.94.  (Handwriting of Åke Sjöblom.)
The 2nd note at the bottom in another handwriting reads: If she would have been stopped on the 27th to correct all the 17, they would probably quite quickly have found the rest of the damages (failures) and in that case the ship would have been detained for a few weeks in  Estonia. Best regards, L.Å.Linkki.

Early Indications of Something Unusual – attention has to be drawn to certain developments in Tallinn and Stockholm throwing some light on the situation existing before the last departure of the ESTONIA, and the consequences thereof:

  • The Estonian Estline Director, Johannes Johanson, told Reuters on the day of the casualty that Estline had received warnings last year that an accident might occur in the Baltic Sea. Thereafter security measures had been intensified.
  • Andi Meister writes in his book “The Unfinished Logbook” on page 21 among other things after the wreck had been found: “On the recordings of the search vessel the front side of the vessel was flat and then for the first time the idea came up that the waves had torn off the visor and that water had penetrated the car deck via the bow ramp which was also confirmed by survivors. Another possibility seemed not to exist. On the other hand, a bomb could also not be fully excluded.”
  • The watch A.B. onboard of the training vessel “LINDA”, having been berthed in Tallinn on the evening of 27 September 1994, told SPIEGEL TV in December 1999 that he had overheard a VHF conversation between the ESTONIA and “Port Control”, i.e. the Harbour Master’s office. “Port Control” had asked the ESTONIA either shortly before or after the departure whether the search for bombs had brought any result. ESTONIA’s answer was: No.” Linkki.

Difficulties with visor and bow ramp:

  • Manfred Salzberg – travelled together with his wife on 01.02.94 to Tallinn on board ESTONIA by car. Upon arrival in Tallinn the crew was unable to open the bow ramp. It took one hour before they were able to open it by means of heavy hammers. (Why didn’t they warm it up?) It was frozen fast. He has a number of pictures showing the forepart.
  • Henning Frederiksson: Out of 6 trips, the last one on 12/13 June 1994, he and his wife saw 5 incidents when crew members were banging on the locking bolts of the bow ramp with sledge hammers. He recalls the upper starboard and lower port bolt. It took the crew 10 minutes and more to open or close one bolt. They always drove on board among the first cars at Stockholm, thus were close to the bow ramp and could observe the activities of the crew rather closely.
  • Åke Eriksson – travelled on the ESTONIA in September 1994: The car deck was wet. Upon departure from Stockholm the crew was unable to close the visor. Quite a number of crew members were jumping around on the forecastle deck. Upon departure from Tallinn, one week later, the departure was delayed by 2 hours because the visor could not be closed.
  • Veronica (ex crew member): Draws attention to the not locked watertight ramp as entrance to the car deck and the smuggling of strategic material in 1994.
  • Anton B. Paulomo: In July 1994 two of his friends were travelling by bus from a place in Lithuania together with a couple of others via Tallinn on the ESTONIA to Stockholm for shopping. On the way back they had to wait for 3 hours in Tallinn before the crew was able to open the visor, which was only possible after some burning/cutting had taken place. They left the bus and went up to the 8th deck overlooking the forecastle deck from where they observed what the crew and subsequently also workers from ashore were doing. The statements of Anton Paulomo and his two friends will be available.
  • Gerhard Stenhammer – a Stockholm pilot and now retired, had observed shortly before the casualty that after departure from Frihamn Terminal the crew tried to close the visor for 15 minutes by opening/closing with loud bangs until it became silent. The master explained that the crew again had problems with closing the visor. The pilot asked the master whether the locking devices would still fit and the answer was ‘no problem’. In the opinion of pilot Stenhammer the visor was ‘out of geometry’.
  • Lars Lindström – was on board as a passenger with car the last week in July 1994. Their car was the last one to roll on board in Tallinn, the bow ramp was closed behind them and they were leaving the car when he realised that 2 crew members were trying to lock the starboard lower bolt of the bow ramp, which did not work. A third one came with an iron bar in his hand, was hammering a couple of times on the pocket, without the bolt moving at all, whereafter they turned round and walked away by saying: “It can remain as it is”, although the bolt was not locked. (He speaks and understands Estonian.) He has subsequently written a letter to Estline AB and complained about the above, whereafter he received a letter stating that the securing bolts and locking devices were the responsibility of a Finnish engineer company, the name of whom he also received. He wrote to them as well as to Det norske Veritas, but never received a reply. (The respective memo is attached as Enclosure 12.4.3.154.)
  • Kari Holmsten (trained as a shipyard welder) made more than 50 trips on the ESTONIA, lost his wife and children during the casualty.
    It was on 3 March 1994 when they arrived in Tallinn and when for the first time he noted that something was wrong with the ferry. His car was the second one from forward and he watched how the crew tried in vain to open the visor, he was nervous because he had to reach the Belorussian Embassy before they closed to obtain a visa. He speaks and understands the Estonian language, thus picked up from crew members talk that they were unable to unlock the side locks of the visor, he left his car and told the crew members to lift / lower / lift / lower, etc. the visor in short intervals and, when lowering, try to open the side locks simultaneously, they followed the advice and after about 30 minutes they finally managed to open the visor and subsequently also the bow ramp, which did not create problems. There was no ice in the port of Tallinn at the time, however, he seems to remember that there had been ice at sea.
    Later, probably on 27 March 1994 he was again on his way to Tallinn when the same happened, but this time it took the crew only 15-20 minutes to open the visor.
    He had the definite impression that the visor was totally misaligned and did not fit anymore into the locking devices. The interview is attached as Enclosure 12.4.3.155.
  • Captain Joel Haukka (retired, 68 years)»I have made at least 20-25 trips between Tallinn-Stockholm on the ESTONIA.
    I knew Captain Arvo Andresson personally, have been on the bridge at least 3 times. He made a sympathetic, open and experienced impression on me, however, I don’t know anything about his behaviour in unusual situations.
    Concerning the bow ramp I would like to state that in January 1994 in Tallinn I, together with many others, had to wait for ca. 45 minutes because they were unable to unlock the ramp. It could not be opened. My car was the first one to leave the car deck which I had arranged respectively with the chief officer. The car was the first in line at port side, directly next to the hydraulic pump controls which were at port side.
    They had a problem with the system and alleged that the ramp was frozen fast.
    The Estonian crew members tried to open the bow ramp in vain for about 20 minutes by operating the hydraulic different ways, then started to hammer against the what he believed were the securing bolts, also in vain, then they asked the Swedish adviser to come down and he believes it was Karl Karell. He stepped out of the car, shook hands with him and said: ‘Why do the Estonians switch off the hydraulic system at sea?’ He shrugged and said something like “one year with Estonians is more than enough”, but he did something whereafter it was possible for the crew to open the bow ramp and they left the ferry.
  • Tommy Hernertz – a truck driver – was on board ESTONIA on the voyage before the casualty when they had to wait in Tallinn for 4 hours before the crew was able to open the bow ramp, which was only possible after they had cut off something by burning at the right side of the ramp. He could not see from his truck what it was.
  • Torbjörn Cederqvist – a truck driver – with more than 50 voyages on ESTONIA.»I have very often waited on the car deck for 1-2 hours, once in May 1994 even 4 hours before the crew was able to open the visor and/or bow ramp. In May 1994 the crew was unable to open the visor in spite of all sorts of attempts. Finally crew members brought 2 gas bottles plus burning gear to the door in the starboard side house. The 2 gas bottles were on wheels and were left in front of the door whilst the crew members pulled the hoses into the side house together with the burning gear. I was curious what they would now do and tried to enter the door, however, I was blocked off by crew members. I saw sparks falling down further forward and after some time visor and bow ramp opened. The bow ramp could only be opened or closed after 3-4 ups and downs, i.e. the crew was unable to open or close the ramp in one go.
    My friend Jonny, who is also a truck driver in the same trade, once told me that he had observed from the car deck side that the crew was unable to close the ramp, because only the starboard side came up whilst the port side remained down. Only after several ups and downs of the ramp and something else he could not identify, the crew managed to close the ramp. I do clearly remember that the ramp was visibly bent.
  • Carl Övberg – a truck driver and businessman.»I have actually seen crew members working at the bow ramp many times by hammering, welding or cutting (burning). I have seen the gas bottles and considered it to be very dangerous. As I am quite familiar with the way the crews from ex Eastern Block countries work, I was, however, not too surprised. It was clearly visible that the bow ramp was severely misaligned respectively bent. In open condition the port side was much lower compared to the starboard side. The bow ramp could not be opened in one go, but had to be raised/lowered several times before it was finally down.
    Before the ramp was lowered down completely to the quay two crew members jumped on the quay and rolled one or two rope coils underneath the starboard side of the ramp, which was still 30-40 cm above the quay when the port side was already resting on it. I remember also to have seen that wooden pallets were placed underneath the starboard side of the bow ramp instead of the rope coils.
    I am also of the opinion that, at least during the last months before the catastrophe, the bow ramp could not be closed completely anymore, because several times I observed from my position at the fore part of the car deck that light was falling on to the car deck as soon as the visor began to open, i.e. before the bow ramp itself was even moved. This, in my opinion, is only possible if the bow ramp was already open to a certain extent when the visor opened. The light came in at the upper port side. The whole ramp was badly misaligned, in particular the port side looked very bad, whilst the starboard side looked quite in order. Once I saw a crew member standing on a wooden pallet which was lifted up by a forklift standing behind the closed bow ramp at port side. The man was lifted up to a position just underneath what I believe was the upper bolt. After some hammering to the area where the bolt was located the man was lowered down to the car deck again.
    I also remember more or less always having seen a large number of wooden pallets on the car deck, which were stowed behind the side houses at both sides.
    On my last trip to Tallinn before the casualty (I missed one sailing) my car was on the hanging deck at starboard side. Thus I could not see what was going on at the ramp and the visor when being opened. I saw, however, crew members working at the bow ramp before it was lowered down. When I drove down the ramp I saw the equipment for either welding or burning (gas bottles) laying at port side near ramp. We had to wait longer than normal, maybe half an hour or more before the bow ramp opened. I remember this clearly, because I had people waiting for me at the quay who had left before I was from board because it took so long. It could be the time when I saw the visor moving up and down several times before the bow ramp opened combined with banging noises and also hammering.
  • Bo Pettersson – manager of a non-marine company and passenger together with his wife for one trip Stockholm-Tallinn-Stockholm at the end of May 1994.»We boarded the ferry in Stockholm and were the last people to come onboard, because we had first gone to the wrong terminal. As we were late the ship left straight away. After we had settled down in the cabin, I believe on the 6th deck, which was overlooking the foreship, I went to the window and looked down onto the foreship while the vessel was proceeding through the archipelago. I immediately had the impression that it was a very old vessel in a bad condition. I saw a couple of empty foundations where the parts belonging on top, e.g. mooring winches and the like, had been taken away. I had a rather negative impression from the beginning, also that apparently a lot of paint layers were used without taking care for what was underneath. I also noted that the mooring ropes were substantially worn and in a bad condition. They looked simply worn and over-stretched.
    I also saw two crew members on the port side of the forecastle deck. The bigger man was standing on the visor facing me and was hammering with a big sledge hammer on the port edge of the visor which was extending the forepeak deck by some 10 cm. The gap was in any event big enough so that I showed it to my wife. We could see the water through the gap. The other man was standing on the forecastle deck opposite to the one with the sledge hammer and I could only see his back side. The visor was obviously not properly closed because its port side was standing upwards above the level of the forecastle deck, worse at the port outer corner on which the crew member was hammering, apparently without success, as far as I remember.
    The window could only be opened by force. I also checked the nearest way to the rescue station. I think we stayed in the cabin for about 1 hour, after some time the hammering stopped but the visor edge was still standing up.
  • Charley K. Dahlberg, engineer, ca. 40 years old, made about 30 trips on the ESTONIA, clearly remembers frequently having heard the splashing of water inside the visor at sea; realised the bad condition of the visor and of the bow ramp as well as the many cracked and re-welded welding seams in way, decided not to use the ESTONIA anymore when going from Stockholm to Tallinn, but to go via Helsinki instead. The complete interview is attached as Enclosure 12.4.4.158.
  • Torsten Sundberg, skipper of the Sandhamn pilot boat, wrote to the Swedish Commission on 14.02.95 as follows (office translation):“Reference is made to our earlier telephone conversation in December 1994 about observations concerning the lower bow part/bow visor of “Estonia”. There is a little uncertainty about the exact date which could have been the 02.09.94, but what can be of importance is my observation from the pilot boat. On the way out to a vessel we met “Estonia”, sea state was moderate, wind came from ESE. “Estonia’s” lower bow part was submerged in the waves and when the vessel rose out of the wave-trough masses of water were streaming out of the whole lower part of the bow visor, even out of the sides. This was repeated many times during this meeting with “Estonia”. The distance to “Estonia” was ca. 75 m during the observation and the visibility was good.”
  • Torsten Söder, ex Master of DIANA II and since 1993 Stockholm pilot, as well as a number of other pilots have frequently seen what Torsten Sundberg has explained in his letter of 14.02.95. When ESTONIA was approaching the pilot station and had reduced speed from ca. 20 kn to 7-8 kn water was pouring out of the visor, also in calm sea.”
  • Pilot Bo SödermanOn the 24 December 1993 I piloted “Estonia” to Stockholm at about 05.50 hrs I went alongside the ferry’s starboard side on board the Sandhamn pilot boat inside Svångens Light, wind and sea state according to the attached copy. Water covered the whole starboard side of the car deck ca. 3-5 cm high. On 26 December 1993 I piloted “Estonia” again, this time from Söderarm. The weather was now worse, according to my own notes ca. 22 m/s from East, with rough seas. I boarded the ferry about 1,5 nm outside Remmargrunds Light. Upon my recommen-dation the master turned to starboard to make leeway for the pilot boat. I jumped on board from the upper platform of the pilot boat, the port pilot door was open. Under such conditions one has to expect water splashing up from below between ferry and pilot boat. This time, however, surprisingly the water came from above out of the pilot door when the “Estonia” rolled to port. When I came on board the mate warned me that there was “plenty of water on deck!” On the way to the lift I walked through water high up the legs of my boots, ca. 20 cm. In my opinion there was 5-10 cm of water over the whole area of the vessel’s car deck. The water was splashing about 1 m high against the bulkhead of the stairways (centre casing).
  • Östen Lönnerström and Barbro Hellström – They met two ex crew members of the ESTONIA in October/November 1994, then probably on VIRONIA (subsequently renamed MARE BALTICUM) who told them the following:
    1. there was a continuous leak in the hydraulic system of the visor which was frequently reported to the officer, but not changed;
    2. the watertight doors could not be closed properly which was widely known on board;
    3. the Atlantic lock did not function properly;
    4. the visor could not be closed properly, they left port with a gap open and tried to close it properly outside;

Note: This was also observed by the watchman on the Sandhamn watch tower reported by visitors to the Second Exhibition of the ‘German Group of Experts’ in Stockholm.

  • since March 1994 there frequently was a lot of water on the car deck which was not due to the fact that the visor could not be closed, but due to the untight bow ramp.
  • Torbjörn Cederqvist – truck driver – “When we came back down to the car deck before or upon arrival at either side I remember that the car deck was always wet with water standing in the indentations. This was particularly in the forward part of the car deck behind the bow ramp. I have frequently observed when sitting in my truck watching the berthing manoeuvre of “Estonia” in Tallinn and the opening of her visor that water was splashing out of the visor when it was opened. I have also observed in Stockholm after I had left the ferry via the stern ramp and was then driving alongside the vessel forward that water was still streaming out of the closed visor.
  • Carl Övberg – truck driver and businessman –I saw welding and burning several times when the ramp was closed. It was the port side, mainly the lower bolt. There was always a ladder in the vicinity of the bow ramp. I once or twice came down to the car deck at sea during normal weather/sea state conditions, opened the door in the centre casing and saw at once that there was a lot of water on the car deck, I would estimate about 5 cm. This was the 2nd door from forward, i.e. in the forward third of the car deck. This was on voyage from Stockholm to Tallinn, because vice versa I had no reason to go to the car deck as I sold the cars in Tallinn.” “When I was down on the car deck at night, I have several times seen the flashing light of welding being performed in the forward part of the car deck near or at the bow ramp. When I was standing with my car close behind the bow ramp I could look into the open control panel located at the port side inner bulkhead behind the bow ramp. I remember that at least during the last months before the catastrophe there were only 1 (one) green and 1 (one) red light visible on the panel. The operator was always an ordinary crew member with boiler suit and walkie-talkie.
  • Carl-Magnus Ring – wrote to Minister President Göran Persson by fax of 18.04.96 that an ex Swedish crew member, who had worked on board, had told him the following: “The stoppers on which the bow visor was resting were ground down by the Estonians because they had no money to buy new rubber packings.
  • Linkki ja linkki

Oma huomioni: Keulavisiiri oli siis jo rakentaessaan ollut liian heikko avomerelle. Lisäksi se oli puutteellisen huollon vuoksi erittäin pahassa kunnossa, mm. tiivisteet puuttuivat joistakin osista kokonaan, mikä oli “yleisessä tiedossa” ja sen vääntyneet kiinnitysosat olivat tehneet visiiristä erittäin välyksellisen, jolloin sen avaaminen ja sulkeminen ei useinkaan onnistunut ilman voimakeinoja. Joskus laivasta pääsi ulos vasta tun tien kuluttua sen saavuttua rantaan, sillä laivahenkilökunnan piti polttoleikata se auki ja vastaavasti taas toisinaan hitsata kiinni ennen lähtöä. Tämä jatkuva hitsaaminen ja polttoleikkaaminen on entisestään heikentänyt sen rakenteita.

Maintenance, Damage and Repairs:

1. Maintenance

The vessel was drydocked at Turku between 4-8 January 1993 and the necessary inspections were carried out. At this time also some maintenance work was performed which had been partly ordered by the old owners, Wasa Line, and partly by the technical managers of the new owners, N&T, as outlined in detail in Subchapter 6.5.

Consequently in January 1993 during the time at the yard:

a) the locking devices of visor and bow ramp were neither serviced nor strengthened, and
b) the outer hinges of the bow ramp were not serviced nor were the bushings and bolts renewed, and
c) 15 m of the rubber packings of the visor and 10 m of the rubber packings of the bow ramp were not renewed.

As to (a):
Since the crew was unable to service and strengthen the locking devices of visor and bow ramp, they were never serviced and strengthened until the casualty. Since the crew was also unable to service the hinges of the bow ramp and to renew the bushings and bolts, in particular the port outer hinge, it is a fact that nothing was done to rectify the poor condition of – at least – the port outer bow ramp hinge. It is, however, known from Börje Stenström, head of the technical group of JAIC, that the crew had put the damaged port outer bow ramp hinge on the repair list a number of times, but that repairs were postponed by the technical managers until the next scheduled yard stay, probably in January 1995. The respective memo is attached as Enclosure 12.5.166.

As to (b):
Also the visor hinges required professional maintenance which the crew was apparently also unable to provide, because according to the testimony of the 2nd engineer Peeter Tüür in June 1996, who is responsible for the technical functioning of visor and bow ramp – the crew had problems to have the hinges properly greased and even had to add oil to the grease to ensure that the grease reached all parts to be lubricated – see Enclosure 12.5.167. Needless to say that the effect of grease is destroyed by adding oil. Due to the severely misaligned visor the hinges could no more be properly lubricated. This resulted in excessive wear of the bronze bushings which consequently had to be renewed.
Such renewal is normally effected by drilling out the steel and bronze bushing by means of a particular milling installation in order to avoid damage to the hinge plates, which would be created if the bushings would be burned out. Whereas drilling, including proper welding of new bushings, takes about 2 days in port – whilst the visor is detached from the vessel and the vessel thus has to be taken out of service – burning is much faster, however, is combined with a loss of material of the hinge plates, the creating of deep burning marks, each of which is a crack starter. It is obvious that such damage to the hinge plates reduced their weight carrying capacity and furthermore increased the propagation of fatigue cracks in the hinge plates. For further details see Subchapter 34.3. Although denied by the technical managers and crew, the steel bushings of both visor hinges were evidently burned out and replaced by new steel and bronze bushings which, however, were fitted in a very unprofessional way. This will be further explained in Subchapter 34.3.

As to (c):
On one hand the responsible inspector in the organisation of the technical managers, N&T, Ulf Hobro, stated before the JAIC on 17 February 1995:

»… we did not care for the rubber packings, we have never renewed any of them nor was it ever our intention to do so. The visor was full of water at sea and this was known to everybody.«

On the other hand, Lennart Klevberg, in charge of spare parts with N&T, did testify to the criminal police Stockholm, that

»rubber packings for the visor had been ordered but were not installed because Capt. Andresson and Tomas Rasmusson had decided to wait until MARE BALTICUM would be taken over in order to do the replacement on both ferries simultaneously.«

This does not make much sense, however, based on the underwater videos it is indeed a fact that the rubber packings of the visor were missing from forward of the Atlantic lock along the whole port side and about 1 m up the front bulkhead, whilst at the starboard side there were some rubber packings from forward of the Atlantic lock to the “corner of the mouth”, which was empty up to ca. 2 m of the front bulkhead.
It is obvious that the visor was no more weathertight and thus full of water at sea up to the outboard level as evident from the watermarks inside of the visor.

2. Damage and Repairs

The crew also denied ever having carried out repairs to the visor, the bow ramp and/or to their locking devices. This is true as far as the major repairs are concerned which would have been necessary to bring the visor back into proper shape and alignment, but which were never carried out. The crew, however, is wrong as far as numerous smaller repairs and rectifications to the visor, the bow ramp and their locking devices are concerned which were frequently performed to avoid the worst and keep visor and bow ramp best terms possible in workable condition. This had been observed by many passengers as outlined in Chapter 12.4. and was even admitted by crew members, for example by the safety officer Ervin Roden who told Spiegel TV on 02.05.97, among other things: “Something was always being repaired on board. There was always welding work being carried out. I am uncertain whether also to the visor. But everywhere repairs were carried out, also in the area of visor and bow ramp and also by the Finns.” The complete interview is attached as Enclosure 12.5.168.
Apart from the damages existing already when the ferry was taken over from the previous owners and which were not repaired by the new owners/ managers, it is quite obvious that the ferry sustained more damage to the visor and consequently also to its fixing points, the hinges and locking devices, when for example forcing ice at excessive speed as observed by various passengers. The observation repeated below is just one example:

»Observation by Henning Frederiksson on 24.03.94: It was stormy weather and “Estonia” was proceeding in open water at full speed with a following sea when she met pack ice, into which she crashed without any speed reduction. “Estonia” came fast into the pack ice with an enormous crash and had to go backwards and try again. There was 16 m/sec. storm, nevertheless, “Estonia” kept her high speed.«

The results of such reckless navigation are clearly visible on the large photo on the previous page which was taken on the following day, 25 March 1994, in Tallinn by the professional photographer Li Samuelson.
The ice damage sustained by the visor during the months of February and March 1994, when the Gulf of Finland and the Northern and Middle Baltic where more or less continuously covered by ice (see Subchapter 12.4.2), were roughly repaired by replacing parts of shell plating and bottom of the visor in Tallinn whilst the vessel remained in service. The renewed parts are still visible on the visor.

This is also confirmed by the observation of the passenger Christer Eriksson, who reported the following:

»I travelled to Tallinn on the “Estonia” on 3/4 May 1994 and left the vessel only at about 10.30 hours when all the other passengers had already gone ashore. The gangway was pulled in and I had to go ashore via the car deck and bow ramp. When I came down on the car deck I noticed a curtain of sparks falling down from the open visor on to the bow ramp and I managed to jump through it and saw on the bow ramp a giant red transformer turned 90° towards the ramp which in my opinion was Red Army surplus. Cables were running up to the port side of the forecastle deck/visor, where obviously heavy burning/ cutting work was in progress. When I returned from ashore at about 06.00 hours the workers were just collecting their tools, but the huge transformer was still on the bow ramp.«

The fax exchange reflecting the above is attached as Enclosure 12.6.169.
Although the work explained above doubtlessly falls into the category “maintenance & repair” and also could not be considered very minor, the repairs are not mentioned in the “List of Maintenance and Repair Works on M.V. ‘Estonia’, April 1993 – August 1994″ which is Supplement No. 230 to the Report of the JAIC. Since also other visible repairs do not appear on this list, it has to be assumed that the list is incomplete for obvious reasons.

Also Lars Gunnar Nyström informed the Swedish Commission that he had made many trips on the ESTONIA. In February and March 1994 he was on board when ESTONIA was forcing ice twice and arrived in Tallinn once with a delay of 1.5 hours.
The damage sustained by the visor while proceeding at full speed through ice barriers several meters high and using the vessel as an ice breaker is demonstrated by the preceding photo and can also be seen on the video image below made from a film of 30.03.94.

As a result of the sustained severe structural damages and in combination with the different lifting speeds of the actuators and severely worn out hinge bushings, the visor became increasingly misaligned and out of geometry.
All of this led to problems – observed and reported by passengers as described in Subchapter 12.4 – during the opening and closing which also affected the locking devices and reportedly the problems became worse and took more time to be overcome the nearer the day of ESTONIA’s last departure came. This is demonstrated by the following examples:

  • Åke Eriksson – who travelled on the ESTONIA in September 1994 reported: Upon departure from Stockholm the crew was unable to close the visor. Quite a number of crew members were jumping around on the forecastle deck until they finally managed. On departure from Tallinn, one week later, the departure was delayed by two hours because the visor could not be closed.
  • Anton B. Paulomo – In July 1994 two of his friends were travelling by bus from a place in Lithuania together with a couple of others via Tallinn on the ESTONIA to Stockholm for shopping. On the way back they had to wait for 3 hours in Tallinn before the crew was able to open the visor, which was only possible after some burning/cutting had taken place. They left the bus and went up to the 8th deck overlooking the forecastle deck from where they observed what the crew and subsequently also workers from ashore were doing. The respective letter from Paulomo is attached as Enclosure 12.5.170.
  • Gerhard Stenhammer – Stockholm pilot and now retired, had observed shortly before the casualty that after departure from Frihamn Terminal the crew tried to close the visor for 15 minutes by opening/closing with loud bangs until it became silent. The master explained that the crew again had problems with closing the visor. The pilot asked the master whether the locking devices would still fit and the answer was “no problem”. In the opinion of pilot Stenhammer the visor was ‘out of geometry’.Note: Rapid closing of the visor is only possible by opening the hydraulic valves at the actuators (hydraulic lifting cylinders) manually. Thereafter the simultaneous movements of the cylinders has to be readjusted by service engineers.

It had also been frequently observed that the lugs of the hydraulic side locks were cut off by burning and subsequently rewelded, which is confirmed by the following observations:

  • Torbjörn Cederqvist had very often waited on the car deck for 1-2 hours, once in May 1994 even 4 hours before the crew was able to open the visor and/or bow ramp. In May 1994 the crew was unable to open the visor in spite of all sorts of attempts. Finally crew members brought two gas bottles plus burning gear to the door in the starboard side house. The two gas bottles were on wheels and were left in front of the door whilst the crew members pulled the hoses into the side house together with the burning gear. He was curious what they would now do and tried to enter the door, however, was blocked off by crew members. He saw sparks falling down further forward and after some time visor and bow ramp opened. The statement is attached an Enclosure 12.4.3.157.
  • Jan-du-Rietz – retired captain, ca. 70 years old.
    He made 4 trips on the ESTONIA, the last one was in May 1994. When he saw on board the ESTONIA how the ship was being run he realised that they still had a lot to learn, no doubt the master was under pressure but this is no reason to push the vessel so hard against heavy head seas; after departure the crew told every passenger that it was strictly forbidden to go to the car deck, he went down, nevertheless, because he was curious due to the strange behaviour of the crew and saw that they were welding the forward part of the car deck in at least 3 different locations, but he was chased away by a gorilla-type sailor. He does not remember having heard any grinding sound. The interview is attached as Enclosure 12.4.1.148.
  • Anders – travelled on the ESTONIA 26/27 June 1994. Observed on 26.06.94 at Stockholm that the visor was partly open and that the bow ramp was down. He saw the flickering blue light from welding under the bow ramp and that people were working in the area of the Atlantic lock below the ramp.

3. The Bow Ramp was the upper extension of the collision bulkhead above bulkhead deck and as such had to be mandatorily weathertight. Therefore the ramp required regular maintenance of the rubber packings, the hinge arrange-ment and the locking devices.
As stated before 10 m of the rubber packings should have been renewed already during the yard time in January 1993, however, this was never done up to the casualty.
The same refers to the locking devices of the bow ramp which should have been serviced and strengthened already in January 1993, which was also never done.
Whilst damaged and missing rubber packings cause a bow ramp which is otherwise in proper condition to leak, this becomes much worse if the bow ramp is visibly misaligned and twisted.
This had been the case on ESTONIA for several months before the casualty and the condition deteriorated as time went by. It is a fact that water was penetrating the bow ramp already in 1993 according to the evidence of passengers and pilots. In particular the statement of the Stockholm pilot Bo Söderman – see Enclosure 12.4.4.161 – is striking.

MAINOS:

MAINOS PÄÄTTYY

Since the lower part of the deck opening with the missing and/or damaged rubber packings (see arrow on drawing) was below the 3rd stringer level of the closed visor, it is obvious that water penetrated the car deck already in calm sea when the vessel was on full speed (height of bow wave ca. 2.5 m). It is also obvious that the water inside the visor rose when the vessel was pitching in head seas. The height of the water inside the visor depended on the height of the outside water level, i.e. when the ferry was taking green water on the forecastle for a certain time the visor would fill up more or less completely with respective water pressure on the leakage of the bow ramp.

Since absolutely nothing had been done to improve the condition of the rubber packings and also no maintenance to the bow ramp had taken place since the vessel was put under Estonian flag, also the condition of the ramp hinges, in particular the port outer one, deteriorated continuously. This process was being sped up by the wrong loading of the car deck through the also apparently in this respect rather inexperienced Estonian officers, because the vessel frequently had a list during loading/unloading when the heavy trucks were rolling on/off board via the bow ramp and the effect on the already pre-damaged and weakened hinges of the bow ramp was disastrous. This finally led to the complete destruction of the port outer hinge and the breaking of the inner lug connecting the ramp to the vessel, whilst the outer lug slid off the hinge bolt apparently after the securing plate was broken off. The result is explained by a truck driver who witnessed this incident as follows:

»I drove on board as one of the last trucks and after leaving my truck I saw that the crew tried to close the bow ramp, which was not possible because only the starboard side came up while the port side remained down. Only after several ups and downs of the ramp and some other things done by the crew did they finally manage to close the ramp. Ever since then the ramp was visibly twisted and when the visor opened and the bow ramp was still “closed”, light fell in through the upper left corner.«

The above is based on a telephone conversation in December 1997. It has not yet been possible to take the statement of the truck driver.

This severe damage to the port outer hinge and to the ramp itself was reported by the crew to the technical managers and also put on the repair list several times according to Börje Stenström (see Enclosure 12.5.166). However, nothing was done to rectify this damage despite the fact that it constituted a severe violation of the SOLAS – and Class – requirements because evidently the open car deck was, via the leaking bow ramp, connected to the visor which at sea was filled with water.

As no maintenance took place the crew tried to seal the leaks as best they could by putting mattresses, blankets and rags into the openings between the ramp and car deck/bulkhead at the port lower corner. As a further consequence of the detached port lower side of the bow ramp the port lower securing bolt no longer fitted into the ramp pocket, whilst the upper port bolt fitted only to a limited extent and it is doubtful whether the port ramp hook was able to engage the lug at the ramp side at all.

These very severe deficiencies led to continuous problems for the crew when opening and closing the bow ramp and/or the locking devices which had been observed by many passengers, in particular by the truck drivers using the ferry twice a week or more as summarised in Chapter 12.4. These observations prove that the bow ramp as well as its locking devices had been in a very poor state of maintenance and that they no more fulfilled the SOLAS and the Class requirements. Linkki.

Estonian lähtö ja tapahtumat merellä Group of German expertsien mukaan:

“After the bow ramp had been closed as tight as possible by means of a tarpaulin at the top and a mooring rope in the winch drums – see Chapters 16/19 – and further, after the bolt of the Atlantic lock had been hammered by crewmembers through the 3 bent and misaligned lugs on the forepeak deck – see the footprints in the visor on Sheet 9 – Chapter 30 – the ferry quickly picked up speed when she followed the westbound lane in the TSS between the island Nayssaar and the mainland. Due to the missing and/or defect rubber packings on the forepeak deck – see Sheet 7 in Chapter 29.2 – the inside of the visor quickly filled with water to the outer level.
The water level inside the visor was raising the deeper the bow was pitching into the waves coming in from port forward. Simultaneously water penetrated to the car deck at the port lower side of the bow ramp in spite of the “sealing material” stuffed into the big gap by the crew. – See drawings on the following page 1051.
At the end of the TSS off Suurupi Lighthouse the course was changed to 262° and the ferry proceeded with all 4 main engines on full output along the Estonian North coast. Due to the increasing south-westerly gale the ferry heeled 2-4° to starboard and was pitching harder and harder. – See Chapter 30. Passengers started to feel unwell and several became seasick.” Linkki.

“In the course of the following 1 – 1,5 hours the bow was diving increasingly deeper into the wave troughs and finally the foreship was shipping green water onto the forecastle deck. Therefore, it has to be assumed that the visor had been filled up with water up to the 1st stringer level or even higher. This means that the weight of the visor increased from 55 ts to approximately 200 ts which had, among other things, the effect that the 0,5 m stern trim might have been reduced.
Due to the high water column inside the visor and the respective pressure on the unsecured ramp the port lower corner of which being plugged with “sealing material” the water quantities penetrating the gaps and streaming onto the car deck were increasing and accumulating at starboard to which side the vessel was continuously heeling since departure the scuppers at the starboard side being most likely unable to swallow all the water streaming into the car deck. To avoid the worst the crew seems to have opened the starboard stern ramp slightly and have kept it in such condition by means of the ice braking cylinders against which the ramp was pressed by the actuators to maintain the gap through which water was flowing from the car deck. The resulting high pitch hydraulic noise created by the aft hydraulic pumps disturbed the conference held on the 4th deck above to such an effect that it had to be closed down at about 20.45 hours. -See the statement of Rolf Sörman” Linkki.

“1. At ca. 20.45hrs. the aft hydraulic pumps were started on the STB. stern ramp opened slightly.
2. Due to the stern trim and the STB. heel of the ferry the water penetrating through the improperly
closed bow ramp streamed off the car deck through the slightly open STB. stern ramp.
3.The high and very disturbing hydraulic noise was hearg throughout the evening.
4. The vessel was pitching very hard in rough head seas.”

Miksi Estonia upposi?

“Many passengers heard low metallic banging caused by visor moving within play
of locking devices due to misaligned visor, damaged stempost and missing rubber packings.”

“At about 00.30 hours on 28 September 1994 the waypoint was reached and the course was changed 25° to starboard to 287°. The vessel began to roll in addition to heavy and hard pitching, because wind and sea came now about 4 points from the port side. The approximate condition of the ferry is demonstrated by the drawings following.

A little later the stabilisers were activated from the bridge, but it appeared that the starboard one did not move out of its pocket which was located about midships on 0-deck level. Sometime later the crew seems to have started to work on that stabiliser and have tried to hammer it out by means of sledge hammers. See the statement of Carl Övberg”

“At about 00.40/45 hours 1-2 heavy bangs, crashed were felt when the watchman A. B. Silver Linde came again to the car deck and must have seen big quantities of water moving between the cars and trucks, with personal cars already floating around in the forepart of the deck. Due to the heavily and hard labouring vessel there must have been heavy movement of the water.

Silver Linde alarmed the bridge at once by walkie-talkie shouting that there was much more water on the car deck and they had to leave the vessel. This was overheard by safety officer Ervin Roden, who had his walkie-talkie switched on when he was in his cabin – see statement of Paula Liikamaa Enclosure 21.3.4.352. The watch officer certainly informed the master who most likely told him to send the boatswain with some deckhands down to try to rectify the situation. Most likely the chief mate and the chief engineer were also called to the bridge and the 2nd mate Peeter Kannuussaar sent down to the car deck as well, which would be the normal procedure.”

“As the very weak condition of visor and bow ramp were with certainty known to the vessel’s command, the speed was reduced and the bow slowly turned to starboard in an attempt to reduce the load on the visor and to avoid green water on to the forecastle deck, because crew members had to work also there and had to enter the port side house from there as it was certainly not possible to reach the control panel from the centre casing. It was necessary for crew members to get to the forward port side of the car deck to the control panel to activate the hydraulic pumps in order to close the bow ramp best terms possible and probably also to hold the visor down hydraulically.”

“The vessel made slower but deeper pitch movements due to the speed reduction, but the rolling increased dangerously when the vessel got into or almost into beam seas. To reduce the rolling the ferry was turned back to port. The vessel was again in head seas, the heavy rolling stopped, but the deep pitch movements increased again and green water was taken on the forecastle, whereafter the crew had to abandon their attempts to close the bow ramp by heaving the mooring line. The bow ramp was then held by the actuators which, however, could only close the ramp to a final opening of about 5 cm. Thus water continued to stream onto the car deck and there was nothing the crew could do about it. It has to be assumed that the nautical advisor, Captain Juri Aavik, was also on the car deck/on the forecastle deck doing his utmost to get the situation under control, however in vain. It has further to be assumed that the 2nd mate and/or the boatswain informed the bridge continuously about the situation on the car deck.

Simultaneously the engine crew was working on the starboard stabiliser fin and sledge hammer noises were heard all the time. A further consequence of the vessel pitching against high seas from forward was the load increase on the visor attachments which had already been increased by about 150 ts of water moving forward/aft and side to side inside the visor. This caused the failure of the starboard visor hinge followed by the failure of the starboard side lock of the visor. – See the drawings on page 1062. Both components were considerably pre-damaged – see Subchapters 12.4.3/12.5 and Chapters 29/30 – and the load carrying capacity was substantially reduced. See also Subchapter 34.4. The Atlantic lock remained intact for the time being.” Linkki.

“The crew abandoned the attempts to hold the visor close to the bow ramp and rushed up to deck 7. The ropes remained around the bow ramp and on the winch drums on the forecastle deck.”

Oma huomioni: Tämä selittää miksi nämä henkilöt olivat ensimmäisten joukossa pelastusveneissä.

Mahdollinen räjähdys:

Result of investigations: Show remains of explosives aimed for civilian use with blasting works or of the most normal military explosives have not been found in the samples 1-4. They have not either found anything that indicates anything of self-made explosives in the tests.

Methods of investigation:

Thin layer chromatography
Liquid chromatography
Indications reactions
signed Criminal Chemist Raija Turunen
Marja-Leena Eskelinen Criminal Chemist
Linkki

Note: It is obvious that such a surface test would result in nothing because the samples had been under water for almost 7 weeks. Since the investigation of the TWA 800 crash it is public knowledge that explosives cannot be traced by means of the methods applied by the laboratory when the objects have been under water for more than one week. It would, even today and in 20 years time, be possible to prove explosion damage by scientific methods by means of which the destroyed molecular structure is examined. This, however, was not done according to the available documents.”

Laivan henkilökunta:

“As to ESTONIA’s crew recruited exclusively from ESCO staff, the author indicates by means of comparison between the power/breadth ratios of the Silja/Viking ferries in 1993, which was between 700-1000 kW/m and the ESCO vessels at the same time, which was between 100-300 kW/m except for GEORG OTTS being 600 kW/m, that the ESTONIA crew might not have had sufficient experience to handle the vessel competently.”

Oma huomioni: Tähän viittaa Estonian kova vauhti vaikeassa aallokossa. Kun Mariella ja Europa olivat jo pudottaneet vauhtinsa 10-11 aolmuun, jatkoi Estonia vielä täydellä vauhdilla eli 14 solmulla.

German group of expertsien loppupäätelmä:

  • Whilst being owned and managed by her previous Finnish owners (Sally and Silja) the vessel was reasonably well maintained. Design or construction defects were not noted, although the vessel cruised for twelve years in the Baltic Sea. At the time of delivery of the vessel to her new Owners, she had deficiencies, which were however quite normal for a ship of her age and in her trade. These deficiencies were reported by the staff on board to Silja, the then managers of the vessel. This report became known to the new managers, being Nordström & Thulin, who however chose not to take note. These deficiencies then developed fast to the worse and into a substantial contributing cause of the accident.
  • At Sea the vessel was operated recklessly in ice and during bad weather, which caused a further worsening of the deficiencies taken over with the vessel and added new ones, the most outstanding of which was, that the visor was pushed out of its geometry, vibrated and was constantly filled with water to the outside water level at sea. No attempt was made to rectify these deficiencies. It has to be assumed, that the responsible staff at Nordström & Thulin was aware of these further deficiencies as well.
  •  The most crucial deficiency developed in 1994: The port outer hinge of the bow ramp became twisted, could consequently not be secured properly anymore and lost it’s watertightness. Ever since water from the filled visor flowed into the car deck at sea, despite the efforts of the crew to prevent the ingress of water by plugging the gaps with linen and mattresses. As the watertightness of the bow ramp – when deemed to be the extension of the collision bulkhead above main deck – is a mandatory condition of SOLAS, the Rules of Bureau Veritas and the Load Line Convention, MV ESTONIA had lost it’s class notation and it’s seaworthiness, when being traded with an untight bow ramp.
  • It is common knowledge with the Owners or Operators of Ro-Ro Passengerships, that water on the car deck must under any and all circumstances be avoided as it unavoidably lessens the stability of the vessel, being the vital safety criterion of each passengership. It has to be assumed, that the responsible staff at Nordström & Thulin was aware of the loss of watertightness of the bow ramp and the consequential ingress of water onto the car deck from the water-filled visor. No attempt was made however to rectify this unacceptable condition.

There were further grave deficiencies in the vessel, when she left for her last voyage:

I. Due to fatigue cracks caused by the vibrations of the visor and unqualified repair work the hinges of the visor had lost nearly all of their design strength. (See Chapters 12.516.229.234.8 and 34.9)
II. The stempost of the visor had been cracked four times due to fatigue caused by the vibration of the visor. Consequently it could not support the weight of the visor anymore. The visor did instead rest on the forepeak deck which fact caused misalignment of the visor and all its locking- and holding devices far exceeding the permissible tolerances. (See Chapters 12.530)
III. The vessel left port with a starboard list, which was caused by uncontrolled water ingress into the vessel through a hole in the shell plating. (See Chapter 17.1) The cargo in the vessel was not lashed according to regulations despite knowledge of vessel’s command of the coming heavy weather. 

The available cargo documentation consists of the cargo manifest which was received from the Joint Accident Investigation Commission in the early days of the investigation and was said to reflect the description and numbers of trucks/trailers actually loaded, see Enclosure 17.1.211. Only recently the freight manifest – Enclosure 17.1.212 – and the customs list – Enclosure 17.1.213 – were received.

Both the cargo manifest and the freight manifest initially contained 38 trucks – although in the consecutive numbering a 39th and 40th truck had been included, of which the 39th was added in handwriting on both manifests. The recently received customs list however reveals that there were actually 40 trucks and trailers loaded. Linkki.

Outouksia mielestäni: Garco manifestin 39. ja 40. rekka, jotka oli lisätty manifestiin käsinkirjoittamalla. Tuskin liittyy uppamisen syihin, mutta herättää kuitenkin kysymyksiä..

According to the customs list the 40th truck, missing on the cargo manifest although the consecutive number on the manifest – 43 744 – had been left open, was a Scania truck with the registration no. AG 565 and with the Latvian driver Gunnar Gobins ((). Since the customs list does not state dimen-sions, weight or type of cargo, no more details are known. The 39th truck added to the cargo manifest in handwriting under the consecutive no. 43 749 was also a Scania truck with the registration no. NRY 806 and with the Swedish driver Leo Sillanpää ((). In the freight manifest – Enclosure 17.1.212 – which is the cargo manifest with added freight figures, both trucks are missing although the consecutive numbers 43 744 and 43 749 were left open. It is unknown whether this means that these trucks were carried free of charge and whether this could mean that these are the two trucks escorted into the port and on board by military personnel. (See Subchapter 17.3.)

Note: According to information received from a prisoner in the jail of Vaasa/ Finland (after the Luttunen interview) his friend Leo Sillanpää was the driver of a truck which had plutonium hidden between the regular cargo.

It is also evident from the customs list that the truck or trailer no. 46 with the number plate 417 EEE had no driver registered. It is thus possible that this was the truck or trailer which had been shipped on board the ESTONIA on the basis of incorrect documents and which contained between 148 and 174 Iraqi Kurds according to information from the files of the public prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand, Stockholm.

According to the statement of an Estonian lawyer, someone from Estline, Stockholm flew to Tallinn by the first plane on the morning of the catastrophe, collected all the cargo and passenger documentation available and flew back by next plane to Stockholm, whereafter the cargo manifest was made up. According to other sources the Estonian Security Police collected already in the early morning hours of the 28th the complete cargo documentation from the Estline office in Tallinn.

The responsible customs chief of Frihamn Terminal, Stockholm told Spiegel TV that they had always received the cargo manifest on the evening of the departure by fax, which, however, had not been the case on the evening of 27 September 1994. Even after several reminders they received the cargo manifest only in the afternoon of 28 September 1994 from Estline, Stockholm.

On the other hand, there is another ‘cargo manifest’ available, which, according to the print-out at the top of the pages, had already been sent at 18.38 hours on 27 September 1994, i.e. more than 30 minutes before the departure of ESTONIA, from Estline, Tallinn to presumably Estline, Stockholm. In any event, on 29 November 1994 it was sent by N&T to Industrietechnik, which was the old firm of Börje Stenström, where he worked until his retirement in April 1995, and from whom a member of this ‘Group of Experts’ received it in March 1995.

Although the contents appear to be identical on both ‘cargo manifests’ which were made up by the same E. Kurvits, the handwriting at the end of page 4 is different. This ‘cargo manifest’ is attached as Enclosure 17.1.214.

Consequently there were doubts from the beginning as to whether the submitted ‘cargo manifest’ actually reflects all the trucks/trailers having been on board and these doubts have now been confirmed by the customs list hidden for so long, as explained on the previous page. In fact, this list was sent already on 14 October 1994 by fax from the Finnish Embassy, Tallinn, to the head office of the criminal police, Helsinki.

The combined weight of all trucks/trailers was 970 ts according to the cargo manifest – Enclosure 17.1.211 – and the JAIC states the total truck/trailer-weight to have been 1000 t, therefore it has to be assumed that the weight of the 40th truck was 30 t.

On the basis of these weights a stowage plan has been made up always bearing in mind that as much weight as possible had to be placed on the starboard side. The stowage plan is attached as Enclosure 17.1.215 and reveals that it was impossible to place enough weight on the starboard side to create the alleged departure condition. There must have been about 200 tons of weight more at the starboard side elsewhere in the ferry.

This is confirmed by the calculations of Shipconsulting Oy, Turku – see Enclosure 17.1.194 – according to which there must have been about 200 tons more weight at the starboard side. Such a weight distribution would have created a 10° starboard list without the full port – and the empty starboard heeling tanks, which allegedly reduced the list to 1° starboard.

According to survivors trucks and trailers had been more or less equally distributed between the port and the starboard sides of the car deck, thus, a wrong loading of the car deck cannot have been the reason for the excess weight at the starboard side. Consequently it has to be assumed that there has been water in tanks and/or void spaces at the starboard side which was unpumpable. The reason could be that these spaces were holed and thus connected to the outside and therefore could not be pumped empty at all, e.g. the starboard heeling tank.

An indication for such reason could be the image from the “Mudline video”, shown below which was made during the diving investigation between 1 and 4 December 1994 – See Chapter 27. The image evidently shows a big hole in way of the starboard hull -/bottom plating area probably in way of the bilge strake. The enhancement of this part of the video tape by means of special equipment confirmed that the plating was indeed holed. – See Subchapter 34.6. Kuva Linkissä.

Sotilasmateriaali

According to information from Tallinn, about half an hour before the loading of the car deck was completed two big trucks were escorted on board by military personnel whereby the whole area around ESTONIA’s berth was shut off by military forces. This was also the reason why passenger Carl Övberg almost missed the ferry, because his friend could not drive – as usual – to the terminal building to drop Carl off in time. He just made it and as soon as he was on board the gangway was pulled in – see the statement Carl Övberg – Enclosure 12.4.2.151. Names and ranks of the soldiers having escorted the two trucks on board are known to this ‘Group of Experts’.

Reportedly the two trucks were loaded with sensitive military equipment of unknown origin which were sent by the Estonian Army directly to the Swedish military for on-transport to another Western country. The transport was accompanied by militaries of unknown nationality who were not identified as such on the passenger list respectively who were probably not even entered on the passenger list. Linkki.

Milloin Ruotsin hallitus tiesi laittoman sotilasmateriaalin kuljetuksista?

“Både i rysk och i lettisk press har förekommit intervjuer med dykare som påstår sig ha fått i uppdrag av ryska intressen att bärga en begränsad del av Estonias last.”

“Ombord på Estonia under olycksnatten ska det ha funnits två större lastbilar med utsmugglad vapenteknologi från [atomubåtsbasen] Paldiski. Bevakade av tre soldater och en sergeant skulle de ha kommit till Tallinns hamn under dagen och varit de sista fordonen som kördes in på bildäck närmast fören.”

“Strax före avgången spärrades hamnområdet av och två lastbilar kördes ombord eskorterade av estnisk militär. [Den tyska expertgruppen] har rang och namn på dessa män. Med bilarna följde utländska officerare, som inte står upptagna i passagerarlistan. Mottagare var svenska armén för vidare befordran till annat västland.” Linkki

Suom: On olemassa latvialaisten ja venäläisten sukeltajien haastetteluja, joissa he kertovat saaneensa tehtäväkseen pelastaa osa estonian uponneesta cargosta.

Estonialla oli uppoamisyönä kaksi rekka-autollista Paldiskin ydinasesukellusvene tukikohdasta varastettua aseteknologiaa. Ne saapuivat Tallinan satamaan päivällä ja olivat viimeiset autot, jotka lastattiin kyytiin.

Juuri ennen laivan lähtöä koko satama-alue suljettiin ja sotilassaattue saattoi nämä rekat kyytiin. Mukana saattueessa oli ulkomaisia upseereja ja saattueen oli määrä jatkaa Ruotsista eteenpäin erääseen toiseen länsimaahan.

Outouksia

  • Rockwater sukeltajat etsivät tarkkaan kannella 6 olleista hyteistä erästä salkkua, joka kuului tunnetulle salakuljettajalle, Voroninille. Voronin on tunnettu aseiden salakuljettaja ja sattumoisin selvisi uppoamisesta veljensä ja veljenpoikansa kanssa. Sukelluksesta kerrotaan Englanniksi täällä ja siitä on olemassa myös video netissä.
  • “The diver received his instructions through two earphones – one in each ear – and spoke into one microphone. On the video tapes available to the public only the voice of the supervisor into one of the earphones and the voice of the diver are audible. Only on some occasions does it become evident that the diver gets additional respectively other instructions when he reacts differently or replies differently, this being particularly obvious when he quickly turns his head away from areas which the public should not see as will be explained on the following pages. It is common practice – according to the diving expert Brian Braidwood – that divers carry two different earphones during an operation like the one under consideration here.” Linkki.
  • “Also these films were handed over to the video experts of Disengage/UK for analysis and evaluation – see Subchapter 34.6. One of the results was that – except videos 11 and 18 – all other video films – although made in the PAL format – had been copied by a PAL/SECAM machine without a converter in between. This results in poor copies, which are much too light and unclear – a fact which makes a proper evaluation of the video material very difficult, sometimes impossible. In addition, relevant parts had been cut out of these videos as will also be demonstrated in Subchapter 34.6. These videos were and still are being copied in Sweden by a private company called “FORSVARSMEDIA” which is said to work exclusively for the Ministry of Defence, and as such has security clearance. “
  • Reportedly Börje Stenström had decided before any copying was done which parts should be hidden from the public and cut out. These concern footage showing the hull above the starboard mudline including the starboard stabiliser and certain areas of the foreship and the bodies inside the wreck and on the bridge. While the video sequences showing undesired parts of the wreck were deleted – which fact has led to the discrepancies in the timing as shown by Disengage (see Subchapter 34.6) – the bodies have been made invisible by light spots, also the three “official” bodies on the bridge. Even though it is stated in the Rockwater Report, among other things: »The bodies on the bridge showed signs of decomposition, but were also undamaged.«, and the Sjöfartsverket Report added: »On the bridge, where many windows were missing, one body had been attacked by fish.«, the bodies on the bridge were allegedly not identified by their uniforms. This was explained by Börje Stenström, as follows: »The divers did not know any of the victims personally. So, how could they identify them?«
  • Note: By the stripes on their uniforms, as it had initially been assumed that all victims were officers.
  • This is most annoying, because the question who was on the bridge during the final minutes is of importance, in particular, whether the master was there. From the distress communication it is known that the watch officer – 2nd mate Tormi Ainsalu – the 3rd mate Andres Tammes and most probably also chief officer Juhan Herma – had been on the bridge until 01.30 hours – the end of the ‘Mayday’ communication – see Subchapter 22.1 – when the vessel was practically on the side. Of these three Ainsalu and Tammes were seen by Sillaste to leave the bridge, while Herma apparently remained inside. According to 3rd engineer Margus Treu, he was asked by 4th mate Kaimar Kikas at a rather late stage after the diesel generators had already shut down, whether he could pump freshwater overboard from the starboard tanks. Thus it could be assumed that the 4th mate also stayed in the bridge. The third body should be the master according to the “evidence” of watch A.B. Silver Linde, which in all probability is wrong because he had not been back to the bridge before, at or after 01.00 hours – see Subchapter 21.2.2. Nevertheless, the crew survivors were very certain from the beginning that Captain Andresson had died on the bridge, which is not surprising because it has to be assumed with certainty that at least one of the surviving officers/engineers had been on the bridge after the big heel and seen what had happened.”

“In summary this would explain the three bodies as found by the divers, viz.

1) close to the door leading out to the aft on port side, across the door leading to the inside stairway.
2) inside the chart room without further details.
3) in the starboard wing below the broken loose flagbox.

The above is revealed from the voice communication between two divers and the supervisors on board the SEMI 1 according to video tapes B40c and B40d which are available and from the Finnish report of the JAIC, page 131. In addition, more information about the bodies became publicly known partly through the Andi Meister book “The Unfinished Logbook” and partly through the Estonian media. These are:

– the body at the aft port door was wearing a brown or red/brown suit.
– the body underneath the flagbox in the starboard bridge wing had a tattoo on his right hand.

Reportedly neither Captain Andresson nor Juhan Herma nor Kaimar Kikas had a tattoo on their right hand and certainly none of them was wearing a brown or red/brown suit. So, who are the three bodies on the bridge and where does this information come from?

On the other hand, the detailed knowledge of the Estonians about the condition of the bodies inside the bridge indicates that they had been there with own divers. Furthermore, neither the descriptions above nor the few words of the divers audible on the videos indicate that any of these bodies was badly decomposed and/or had been attacked by fish.”

The inspection of particular cabins on deck 6.

According to video B40a and the video tape log page – attached as Enclosure 27.411 – the diver entered the forward part of deck 6 and tried to enter cabin 6132, which had been occupied by a member of the Stockholm Police ST-Section, but failed, then tried the next cabin 6135 but failed again and then 6134 also without success. The diver returned to the outside for tools and moved in again, broke open cabin 6132 – found a suitcase without name tag and left it behind. He then worked his way to cabin 6230 which was the 2nd cabin from port side of the four luxury cabins in the fore part of deck 6 overlooking the foreship. According to the statement of purser Andres Vihmar of 15.05.96 – see Enclosure 14.195 – this cabin had been assigned to the master of the second crew, Captain Avo Piht. In the alleyway in front of this cabin the diver found a body. The diver, obviously receiving instructions through his second earphone not audible on the available video, broke up the door and headed straight for a suitcase, which was open but – according to the diver – apparently nothing was missing (how could he know?) and the suitcase had a label with the name Alexander Vorodin. The diver carried the suitcase out of the accommodation and it was apparently hoisted up to the diving platform. The diver subsequently broke open or tried to break open the cabins in the vicinity of cabin 6230, all of which had been occupied by members of the ST-Section of the Stockholm Police. The owner of the suitcase, Alexander Vorodin, had been on board together with his uncle and nephew, and all three survived.” Linkki.

The inspection of the forward part of the 1st deck and the 0-deck.

According to video tape log RW/SEMiI/EST/D/011 page 1 – Enclosure 27.411.1 – the diver S. Jessop entered the forward part of the 1st deck through an opening cut by the divers into the shell plating. He examined the port side cabins, established that the only accessible watertight door was closed (all doors close from port to starboard, thus it has to be assumed that the door had closed by gravity due to the starboard list after the hydraulic pressure had slackened sometime after the sinking) and then – according to the video log proceeded at 14.54 hours towards the spiral stairway, which only leads to the sauna and swimming pool compartments on 0-deck, where damage to the starboard shell plating is assumed. Without any notation in between the log continues after 1 hour and 6 minutes without any explanation as to what the diver did during this time. Thereafter the diver left the wreck through the outside opening. The lower part of the video log page No. 1 – Enclosure 27.411.1 – shows the respective entries. Apparently the times 14.54 and 16.00 have been manipula- ted and the page was cut between these figures, something which had been written in between has been taken out and both parts of the page copied together.
The part taken away concerns the activity of the diver between 14.54 and 16.00 in the area at the end of the spiral stairway which is the 0-deck with sauna- and swimming-pool compartments. It is obvious that the JAIC did not desire that the inspection results were made public.”

 “The ROV has not been inside the car deck and the consequences.

In spite of five attempts and although the supervisor says so, the ROV cannot have entered the car deck through the bow ramp opening, because

MAINOS:

MAINOS PÄÄTTYY

(a) the video sequences do not confirm this, and
(b) the video depth shown on the ROV display – 81 m – is too deep for the car deck.”

“Nevertheless the ROV moves between pallets with cement bags and other objects looking like cargo apparently lying on the sea bottom. As it is highly unlikely that this intact looking cargo originates from other vessels, it must have come from ESTONIA even though the bow ramp and both stern ramps are closed or almost closed. Although the starboard stern ramp was certainly more open at some stage when the vessel was still afloat and severely heeled, it is very difficult to assume that cement bags on pallets should have fallen off some truck or trailer and then out through the open ramp and exactly next to the position where the vessel finally settled down. The respective video is B40b from 03.12.1994. Another open question which demands clarification.”

Oma huomioni: Kuten käy ilmi dokumentista Estonia – Mullistava löytö, käyvät sukeltajat autokannella, sillä heidän syvyysmittareidensa mukaan he olivat useita metrejä “mutalinjan” alapuolella, mikä on mahdollista ainoastaan mikäli sukeltajat ovat sisällä laivassa, eli autokannella ja laiva on uponnut useita metrejä mutaan.

Divers with other equipment were active inside the car deck.

“On video B40c the “official” diver was working on top of the bow ramp looking into the car deck when suddenly a frogman type diver appeared in the beam of his searchlight who rapidly tried to get away by swimming backwards, however, was picked-up by the camera.
On another occasion air bubbles are coming up from the car deck, although the “official” divers do not produce air bubbles and allegedly were not working inside the car deck at all. On a further occasion lights can be seen inside the car deck, although the “official” divers have not been there.
On another occasion the supervisor said: “They are getting their diver(s) back.” or “We have to wait until they get their divers back.” On another occasion the supervisor said to the diver: “We have to stay on the outside, the inside is no good for us” obviously meaning the car deck.
All this indicates that another diving operation by other divers went on simultaneously, longer or shorter, than the official one and it is indeed the question what these divers were doing inside the car deck and why their activity was and still is kept secret?” Linkki.

Oma huomioni: Kuten aiemmista lainauksista on käynyt ilmi, on virolaiset avanneet toisen “peräluukun”, kun autokansi on tulvinut vettä, päästääkseen vettä ulos takapäästä. Todisteena sukeltajien videolta:

 “The condition of the starboard stern ramp.

The image below shows the inside of the upper starboard stern ramp to be partly open. It was taken from the ROV video dated 09.10.94. The arrow on the picture further down points to the area in question. This fact will be explained in detail in Subchapter 29.7.” Kuva linkissä.

“Finally the parts officially recovered from the wreck on behalf of the JAIC have to be mentioned:

  • 1 visor hinge bushing (steel bushing + bronze bushing + securing plate)
  • all 3 lugs of the Atlantic lock
  • the bolt of the Atlantic lock
  • 1 broken lug of the port inner ramp hinge
  • 2 steel distance rings from the port outer ramp hinge
  • 1 EPIRB storage case
  • 1 GPS receiver
  • 1 portable lifeboat radio set
  • 1 ship’s bell
  • several smaller bits and pieces

After having measured the bolt of the Atlantic lock Börje Stenström threw it back into the sea, although according to his own scenario it was one of the most important pieces of evidence. This will be explained in Subchapter 29.2.
Also the sensor plate of the Atlantic lock and the electric cables of the sensors were cut off by one diver, but instead of putting them into the net together with the other objects brought to the surface, the diver threw both to the sea bottom apparently upon instruction of the supervisor.
The other objects recovered by the divers upon instructions of the police or other organisations are unknown to the public.” Linkki.

Avoimia kysymyksiä:

-Miksi ehkä koko laivaturman syiden selvittämisen tärkeimmät palaset, Atlanttilukko ja sen osaset heitettiin takaisin mereen?!

-Mikä oli se pieni alus, joka poistui Estonian luota hetki ennen uppoamista?

Oma päätelmäni:

-Lienee kiistatonta, että Estonian keulavisiirin vahvuus ei ollut koskaan ollutkaan valtamerikelpoinen, tai kuten suomalaiset olivat sen saaneet jotenkin “rekisteröityä” “Ice class 1A suitable for all seas” ja sen kykyä toimia moitteettomasti kyseisenä yönä oli entisestään heikentänyt keulavisiirin kokema rasitus mm. jäiden puskemisessa. Visiiri oli heikossa kunnossa, sillä sen huollot oli systemaattisesti jätetty tekemättä.

-Tapahtumat ennen keulavisiirin irtoamista olivat jääneet liian vähälle huomiolle laivahenkilökunnan taidottomuuden ja välinpitämättömyyden vuoksi.

-Virolaisten merenkulkutaidot sekä toiminta onnettomuustilanteessa olivat puutteelliset.

-Keulavisiirin falskatessa ja autokannen tulviessa vedestä, oli toinen autoramppi laivan perästä avattu, jotta vesi pääsisi ulos. Tämä toimi luultavasti lopulta eräänä uppoamista nopeuttavana tekijänä.

-Vaikka laivalla matkusti salakuljettajia ja varastettua sotilasteknologiaa Venäjältä, en usko, että ne olivat uppoamisen syitä. Nämä ovat kuitenkin en syyt, miksi asiassa on ollut niin paljon salailua.

-En tiedä mistä rungon reikä/reijät ovat tulleet, mutta en usko, että nekään merkittävästi nopeuttivat uppoamista.

Onnettomuustutkintakeskuksen linkkikokoelma Estoniaan liittyen, mm. useita tutkintaselostusdokumentteja, toiminta aluksella, olosuhteet jne.

Rockwaterin sukellusraportti

German group of experts (sivustoa selataan eteenpäin pienistä nuolista)

Author

Johanna Amnelin -Tuotekehittäjän erikoisammattitutkinto -Suorittaa parhaillaan luonnonkosmetiikan tuotekehittäjän tutkintoa Johanna on taiteellista sukua sekä äitinsä, että isänsä puolelta ja onkin taiteillut niin kynän, pensselin, kameran kuin tietokoneenkin avulla. Johannan valokuvia on kutsuttu näyttelyihin aina Sveitsiin ja Lontooseen saakka, lisäksi amerikkalaisen countrytähden Waylon Jennigsin tyttärenpoika, Struggle Jennings on käyttänyt Johannan kuvia usein blogeissaan. Koulutukseltaan hän on tuotekehittäjä, mutta ammatiltaan taivaanrannan maalari CV

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