50 people take part in a private expedition heading to the Estonian shipwreck. There they will try to get a clearer idea of why the ferry sank in 1994.
– The main objective of the expedition is to investigate, film and scan the damage of the shipwreck. The goal is simple, we want to find out why Estonia sank, says project manager Margus Kurm.
Previously, he was responsible for the Estonian investigation and led the government’s investigation into the disaster between 2005 and 2009.
Almost 50 people are involved in the new expedition, says Kurm. The German-owned RS Sentinel set sail from the Dutch city of Eemshaven this weekend, heading for the Estonian shipwreck in the Baltic Sea.
The passenger ferry sunk on the night of September 28, 1994. 852 people lost their lives, six of whom were Norwegian.
Documentary revealed new discoveries
The new polls will be conducted with “an open mind” and all information will be available to the public and the relevant authorities, Kurm promises.
Last year came the television documentary “Estonia – the discovery that changes everything”, which had new information that may be related to the cause of the shipwreck. Among other things, hitherto unknown holes were found in the hull. Many family members and survivors have questioned for many years whether the cause of the wreck has been fully mapped.
February 1Photo: Animation of the Dplay Estonia documentary: the find that changes everything / Monster
This summer, the Swedish Accident Investigation Board carried out further investigations into the wreck. But the expedition leader, Kurm, believes that authorities have tried to hide information about the accident.
– I see no other explanation for the many inexplicable decisions and dubious actions that the authorities have taken in the last 27 years, he says.
The Swedish Accident Investigation Board has previously told TT that they do not want unauthorized persons to go down into the wreck. Kurm is critical of that.
Nine questions and answers about the Estonian disaster and the new findings
– It should be in the best interest of the authorities to involve civilian observers as much as possible. Only through openness and cooperation with outsiders can they make survivors, family members and the public trust their research, Kurm says.
Disagreement over Swedish law
When the divers went down to the wreck in connection with the filming of the television documentary, two Swedish divers ended up in court, accused of violating Swedish law on grave peace.
But the two were acquitted in court as the film crew operated from a German-flagged ship. International law must be emphasized before Swedish law, the court ruled.
Prosecutor Helene Gestrin, who was the prosecutor at the trial last year, notes that only the state or someone on behalf of the state can dive into the wreck.
– Everything else is still prohibited according to the serious peace law, says Gestrin.
While the expedition ship is now heading to the wreck site, Margus Kurm will say nothing about who is on board or what nationalities are represented. It is also unclear if the police will meet them at the scene.
– In general, we cannot speculate on what measures the police will resort to until there is talk of suspicion of a crime, says a police spokesman.