AK: Swedish law change to ease MS Estonia investigations

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Memorial stone at the MS Estonia monument in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Sweden is planning to amend its grave peace law pertaining to the 1994 Estonia ferry disaster, to enable authorities to dive to the grave site for the purpose of re-examining the wreck, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Monday.

Survivors and relatives of those killed in the disaster are expecting an independent and impartial investigation into the sinking of the ferry, particularly since a Swedish-made documentary which first aired on the Discovery Channel in fall 2020 presented filmed evidence of a large hole in the hull of the wreck, lying in around 100 meters of water, south of the Turku archipelago.

The documentary itself was filmed illegally, with its principal maker currently residing in neighboring Norway and facing a criminal hearing at home.

At the same time, authorities say they want to make it easier for officially-sanctioned dives to take place, without opening the door to illicit leisure dives.

"I think it will be a permanent change of law, but a very strict change which doesn't allow dives in general, but only enables authorities to do their work," Sweden's Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg said.

Swedish authorities have estimated that the new probe into the sinking of the Estonia ferry will cost close to €5 million.

Damberg said that the new investigation will be given the go ahead before the summer.

MS Estonia sank on the evening of September 28, 1994. The disaster claimed the lives of 852 people, with just 137 rescued. The official cause of the sinking reported in the original investigation was a sheared-off bow visor which, in the heavy seas, allowed water to flow in and compromise stability.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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