Divers waiting for new MS Estonia wreck investigation orders

The government has agreed to allocate € 3 million to the investigation of the MS Estonia shipwreck on the seabed, but exactly what and how it will be investigated is not yet clear.

The government has given the Estonian Safety Investigation Bureau the task to prepare for an underwater forensic investigation to start after Finland and Sweden have changed their laws, which currently ban diving to the wreck.

The Maritime Academy's in-service training center's manager Ivar Treffner told ERR that a proper investigation should be carried out even though not everybody is completely happy with the idea.

He thinks that it is currently difficult to evaluate the € 3 million allocated to the investigation because the list of work to be carried out has not been submitted by the state.

"€ 3 million is not a large sum for underwater investigations. I will highlight environmentally dangerous wrecks as examples. The investigations there often cost tens of millions. This €3 million is enough money for a home-woven investigation. It should be known what is the expected outcome is," Treffner said.

Treffner highlighted that when a 3D model is wanted of the wreck, the price depends on what point density and detail it is wanted.

"When the aim of the investigation is known, it can be said which equipment is needed for it," Treffner said adding then it will be known if enough money has been allocated for the task.

The manager of Tuukritööde OÜ Kaido Peremeed told ERR that the cost of the investigation could also depend on the support vessel. He said that for underwater investigations, the company has a world-class underwater robot, which can go 300 meters deep.

Treffner also confirmed that the private sector has the capacity to perform underwater investigations. Currently, is not known if diving will take place.

The host said several investigations are planned. "I understand that it includes geotechnical investigations, mapping the seabed, and profiling to get a cross-section of the soil," he said.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said last week that finding out the new facts will be managed by the Estonian Safety Investigation Bureau independently and in cooperation between Estonia, Sweden and Finland. The costs will be covered by Estonia and Sweden.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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