As soon as partner is found Estonia ferry wreck investigation continues

Estonia ferry wreck survey.
Estonia ferry wreck survey. Source: Madis Veltman/Postimees

The second stage of the passenger ferry Estonia wreck preliminary survey will take the investigators to sea again to further investigate the confirmed damage identified on the hull earlier this year. Ministry of Economics Affairs and Communications PR spokesperson, and former government minister, Janek Mäggi says that the materials will be published on a special website.

State procurements of over €1 million are planned in the framework of the preliminary survey of the shipwreck. Head of the Safety Investigation Center Rene Arikas said that the state oil shale to electricity company Eesti Energia will be asked to help as a procurer.

"We ourselves don't have the capacity to conduct procurements. And that's the reason we had to find a partner who has the competence to conduct such complex and international procurements," Arikas went on.

One of the biggest tasks ahead will take the survey ships back to the Estonia wreck site. Using a ferromagnetic survey, all bigger metal objects will be searched for in the environs of the wreck and its sinking trajectory.

"The aim is to identify the route of the sinking and whether some metal objects were separated during the accident," Arikas said.

"As we are gradually approaching the autumn period, the weather is a key factor as well," Arikas added.

Digital models

The second, bigger task is creating digital models. Based on today's data, it is possible to create an accurate model of the ship getting filled with water and sinking.

"At the moment, we are mainly basing the survey on the reasons brought out in the final report published in 1997," Arikas said. He said that the survey is looking for confirmation of the conclusions made.

"And if were to transpire that making a simulation based on these conclusions for some reason doesn't give us a precise result or isn't possible, we will have to start looking into the factors," he said.

Arikas added that in creating the model, it is important to consider the water that accessed the ship through the bow and also the ventilation openings and which doors were closed on the ship and which were open. Another digital model will be made about what happened after the ship had already sunk.

"How did the sinking to the seabed exactly happen and what injuries were caused due to that," Ariklas continued.

He added that in addition to the digital models, two physical models will be ordered as well.

"One is a general model of the ship, which is relatively detailed and the other model represents the bow area of the ship, which would also have an opening bow visor and a ramp," Arikas said. "In this way we could show as accurate as possible a bow construction of the Estonia ferry."

Ariakas believes that the main tasks of the second stage will be finished by the end of the year, but some of it will be left for spring as well.

The main survey will include laser measurement in order to create a precise 3D model of the wreck.

Mäggi: Blurring out any human remains on the video shots will take time

anek Mäggi from the Economy and Communication Ministry is coordinating the communications aspect.

"I spend a couple of days per week in the in the ministry dealing with the Estonia topic," Mäggi said, adding that currently, procurement is being prepared to set up a separate website.

"I won't bother to add any historical background right now," Mäggi said. "We are forwarding new information what we have received and what is reasonable and can be shared with the public immediately."

Scenes from the seabed are planned to be viewable on the site in the future. Mäggi says he hopes that the promised information will be published by the end of the year at the latest. At the same time, he said that plenty of work needs to be done beforehand.

"We will blur out anything sensitive, for example, any human remains. But we won't edit or cut anything, this promise stays," Mäggi said.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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