Legal Affairs Committee waits for government' opinion on Estonia ferry ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

The MS Estonia.
The MS Estonia. Source: ERR

The Legal Affairs Committee discussed an appeal that suggested raising the wreck of the sunk cruise ship Estonia. The committee decided to look into the possibilities of changing the international treaty signed between Estonia, Finland and Sweden, because without changing the treaty, they think there is nothing they can do.

Hando Tõnumaa, who represented people who signed an appeal, recognized the committee's wish to carry on with the issue, ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported. 

Tõnumaa said the reason the appeal arose is that many people do not believe the official justification for the accident. The appeal has 1907 signs. 

"There are also loved ones who don't believe the story and there are many different theories. This is the main reason - there are so many theories and most people don't believe the story, so I need answers," Tõnumaa said.

The chairman of the Legal affairs committee Jaanus Karilaid (Center) said Estonia on its own can't do anything with the wreck, because the country has signed have a treaty with Sweden and Finland.

"Primarily, we need to agree on cooperation between the countries, to achieve a mutual political will and to make following decision. One minister or a member of the parliament saying that, in his opinion, the wreck should be raised or that additional studies should be made is not enough. International law is explicit here," Karilaid said.

Karilaid said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is investigating the opinions of Sweden and Finland for changing the treaty.

The government is going to send the Legal Affairs Committee a proposal to raise the wreck made in the appeal to help shape their opinion.

Among the members of the parliament, there are some who are for the proposal and some that are against it. Member of the Reform Party Valdo Randpere doesn't approve of the idea, because the answers will not be found on the seabed.

Randpere said the fatalities should have been brought up from the wreck 25 years ago.

"It wasn't done, it was a mistake. But nowadays, we can't fix a mistake like this, I think, with some things, after some time, we need to accept how it is, no matter how sad or hard it is for us. But in my opinion, the treaty should still apply and the Estonia should stay where it is," Randpere said.

At the end of January, the government decided to form an expert working group to deal with the requests of passengers and relatives of the victims of the Estonia. The group will report their plans by the end of March.

Relatives of those killed in the Estonia ferry disaster have requested a new investigation from the government about the sinking of the Estonia, and the Swedes want to do the same.

The passenger ferry Estonia sank on September 28, 1994 on route from Tallinn to Stockholm. 137 people escaped but 852 died.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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