Estonia sinking investigation initiator: Sweden has not been honest with us

Evelyn Sepp.
Evelyn Sepp. Source: ERR

The Swedish state has not been honest with Estonia from the initial investigation of the sinking of the MS Estonia ferry, said Evelyn Sepp, the initiator of the investigative committee in 2005.

Creators of a documentary on the 1994 disaster claim they have found a large hole in the shipwreck's hull. According to the filmmakers, their findings support the theory that a hole in the hull of the ship contributed to the rapid sinking of the ship, not just the shearing off of the bow visor as per the official investigation report from 1998. So far, this "hole theory" has been rejected by officials.

Evelyn Sepp told ETV's current affairs show "Ringvaade" Monday that the findings are not surprising, nor are they new information as such, because many sources and videos have previously proven the hole's existence, she said. She added that neither an international investigation committee nor Estonia's representatives have ever seen an adequate selection of evidence on the ferry' sinking.

Sepp said: "The evidence which has been used to draw conclusions has been distorted and there is no clear understanding for why many of the testimonies have not been considered, as they would prove a different version."

She added: "As for the official footage that was used as a base for the intenational investigative committee (in 2005 - ed.), those were also manipulated, cut, and the Riigikogu's special committee has gotten a rather grotesque overview of the filming process. Meaning, while the actual representative from Estonia was on the wreck site for the official investigation, but he was sent off to bed while they actually conducted the dives into the sensitive areas. And I will not speak about the rest. The manipulations in footage are time-stamped."

A new investigation conducted into the disaster should not be a purely technical follow-up to confirm the existing evidence, but rather a completely new investigation, she said.

"And actually, the ship's hull should be viewed as prime evidence. Conduct a detailed investigation into the hull, as it is the key location. And since we have never been given a full overview, we hold no circumstance to rely on that would prove one thing or the other."

Margus Kurm, head of the government's investigative committee looking into the sinking in 2005-2009, said on Monday that Swedish representatives can no longer be trusted in regards to the Estonia's demise.

Sepp concurred: "Let us think about the circumstances in 1994. A little less than a month previously, Sweden was our main partner and patron, thanks to whom Russian forces were removed from Estonia. The emotional connection must be considered and understood in the context of the era. Second, Estonia has not been - might still not be - a full-valued partner for Sweden, but rather a poor 'nephew' who must be told how to act and can be manipulated, using the so-called older relative's right."

She continued: "There is nothing to be done, but the Swedish state has not been honest with us from the beginning, both publicly and in terms of Estonia's interests. The question now is do we let this situation continue. Do we let ourselves be lied to again, be spoon-fed evidence, allow for the fact that Sweden has conducted investigations outside the official report to be covered up; that she (the MS Estonia - ed.) was being used to transport military equipment and certainly for more than just the confirmed two days, god knows how much more. These are all strict violations of international law."


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste, Andrew Whyte

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