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Helme: Lifting MS Estonia not on the agenda, would cost over €100 million

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

Estonia has the capacity to dive to the wreck of MS Estonia, survey and study the hull and identify the hole revealed in a recent documentary, Minister of Internal Affairs Mart Helme said on Thursday.

Helme said that Estonia's capability to undertake an individual investigation is limited and that resources exist for preliminary surveys. The work would cost upwards of €5 million and grow to €20 million if divers are involved.

The minister added that Estonia is not weighing lifting the ship and lacks corresponding capacity. Helme said that lifting MS Estonia from the seabed would cost over €100 million.

Head of the Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) maritime safety group Marge Kohtla said that Estonia can start the investigation on its own. "We can use sonar, scan the seabed to get a preliminary picture of the situation. Next, we can use a diving robot," Kohtla said. The robot can dive to depths of 300 meters, while the wreck of MS Estonia lies at a depth of 80-85 meters.

Helme said that Estonia has diving capacity, while available equipment does not allow them do dive deeper than 50-60 meters. That is why a dive to the wreck would have to be entrusted to a private contractor.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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