Swedish authorities suspect two citizens of disturbing Estonia shipwreck

The MS Estonia.
The MS Estonia. Source: ERR

Swedish authorities suspect two citizens of having disturbed the peace of the shipwreck of the MS Estonia, reported Swedish public broadcaster SVT and paper Dagens Nyheter.

The incident is connected to a trip made by the Fritz Reuter, a vessel sailing under the German flag, to the site of the sinking of the Estonia, reported Finnish public broadcaster Yle (link in Finnish).

The West Finland Coast Guard District of the Finnish Border Guard monitored the movements of the German vessel on September 23-25, and began suspecting that a robot used for filming was launched from the ship.

The wreck of the Estonia lies in international waters, but within the Finnish Exclusive Economic Zone. According to an agreement regarding the peace of the shipwreck signed by Sweden, Finland and Estonia in 1995, such activity is illegal. Germany and Norway, however, are not signatories of the agreement.

A preliminary investigation into the incident was launched in Sweden in order to determine whether Swedish citizens onboard the German vessel should be charged with disturbing the peace of a gravesite.

Upon its arrival at the site, a total of 11 people were onboard the Fritz Reuter. According to the information of Finland's National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), three Germans, three Swedes and two Norwegians were on board the vessel, and the four-person crew consisted of Germans and Poles. The passengers were members of a film crew involved in the production of a documentary for a Norwegian company.

Swedish prosecutor Helene Gestrin told SVT that it is difficult to analyze the case of the two Swedish men, as they lack precedence.

September 28 marked the 25th anniversary of the sinking of the MS Estonia en route from Tallinn to Stockholm, which claimed 852 lives. The remains of most of the victims lie within the wreck.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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