New documentary claims Estonia ferry has hole in wreck

Underwater footage of part of the Estonia's submerged hull.
Underwater footage of part of the Estonia's submerged hull. Source: Video screenshot

Authors of a new documentary about the Estonia ferry disaster that sank 26 years ago, claim to have found a big hole in the shipwreck.

The four-meter high hole was partially hidden in the seabed, Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported. The authors of the film say that the findings confirm the theory that the quick sinking of the ship was helped by the hole in the ship's hull not only the tearing of the bow visor. Until now, the hole theory has been ruled out.

"It is not excluded that the damage played a big role in the sinking," Professor of Marine Technology Jorgen Amdahl at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) said in the documentary.

The documentary team was lead by the author and journalist Henrik Evertsson and Linus Andersson, one of the leading shipwreck damage documenters in the Nordic countries also took part in the project.

According to the documentary, the damage is on the starboard side, the hole is four meters high and 1,2 meters wide at the widest part.

To answer questions about how and when the hole appeared, the team consulted with several experts. The experts have disproved the theory that the hole appeared after an explosion. Most experts think the hole appeared after a collision with a large object.

The first episode of the documentary series will air in Sweden on Monday, September 28.

Ratas: Validity of the news information has to be confirmed

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) announced by social media post on the anniversary of the Estonia ship sinking that he is convinced that the final report of the International Commission of Inquiry into the incident, completed in 1997, contains the best knowledge and assessments of the causes of the ship's fate on that stormy night.

"At the same time, it is also clear that if we receive information about any new circumstances that were not known at the time, then the issues raised must be addressed and answered. Of course, this must be done in a respectful and dignified manner," Ratas wrote.

The ferry sank on the night of September 28, 1994, sailing from Tallinn to Stockholm. The sinking of Estonia is the largest maritime disaster in peacetime in the Baltic Sea, killing 852 people from 17 countries.

The shipwreck was investigated by a joint committee formed by the governments of Estonia, Finland and Sweden in 1994-1997 and by a government commission led by the Public Prosecutor's Office in 2005-2009.

In 1995, Estonia, Finland and Sweden signed a gravesite peace agreement to protect the shipwreck, which prohibits diving into the wreck.

The Estonian wreck lies on the seabed in Finland, but in international waters, where the Finnish authorities can only restrict ships registered in Finland.

The diving for the documentary was carried out with a ship with a Germany flag and under Germany's law, it is not prohibited.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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