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Riigikogu committee: New MS Estonia inquiry possible if new facts emerge

Riigikogu legal affairs committee chair Jaanus Karliaid (Center).
Riigikogu legal affairs committee chair Jaanus Karliaid (Center). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Riigikogu's legal affairs committee is to propose the government consider further investigation into the causes of the 1994 MS Estonia ferry disaster.

The proposal comes in response to an appeal to raise the wreck of the Estonia, which lies in around 100 meters of water between northwestern Estonia and the Turku archipelago off southwestern Finland, as well as requests from victims' relatives to launch a new investigation.

The government has set up a working group to report back by the end of March, according to ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera".

Legal affairs committee chair Jaanus Karilaid (Center) said that the committee itself was not taking a position on the necessity of a new investigation, but noted that if new circumstances emerge regarding the sinking, a new investigation should be initiated.

"We are asking for consideration to be taken on whether new facts have emerged as of 2020 to necessitate a further investigation," Karilaid said.

"This could be by turns a raising of the wreck, or exploration in situ using a robot," he added.

"The committee has not made a clear decision as of today about what should be done but if new circumstances are emerging - well, common sense would of course trigger an investigation," Karilaid added.

The Estonia  sank while en route from Tallinn to Stockholm in the small hours of September 28 1994, claiming 852 lives. There were only 137 survivors.

The sinking was investigated from 1994-1997 by a joint committee formed by the governments of Estonia, Finland and Sweden, and again from 2005-2009 by a government committee led by the Office of the Prosecutor General in Estonia.

Estonia, Finland and Sweden signed a treaty guarding the peace of the shipwreck in 1995 which prohibits dives to the wreck, located in international waters.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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