Swedish court finds MS Estonia filmmakers guilty of violating burial site

MS Estonia investigation. June 2022.
MS Estonia investigation. June 2022. Source: Andi Kokk

Gothenburg District Court in Sweden has found two documentary filmmakers guilty of violating a burial site in filming the wreck of the MS Estonia in 2019. The MS Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea in 1994, killing 852.

In a statement, the court said that there is a strong public interest in maintaining the grave peace around the MS Estonia, which is the burial site for a large number of people, and that the protection of the grave is stronger than the interest in the protection of freedom of speech and information, public broadcaster Radio Sweden reported Monday.

In the framework of a Discovery Network project, two Swedish filmmakers had filmed the shipwreck using a remote-controlled vehicle in September 2019 and discovered previously unknown damage to the hull, reviving speculation about the cause of the disaster.

The district court fined the producer 22,400 Swedish krona, or approximately €2,085, and the remote-controlled camera operator 18,800 Swedish krona, or approximately €1,750.

On September 28, 1994, the MS Estonia sank while en route from Tallinn to Stockholm, claiming 852 lives. There were only 137 survivors.

The wreck of the Estonia lies in international waters, but within the Finnish Exclusive Economic Zone. The site of the wreck was declared a gravesite by Sweden, Finland and Estonia in 1995.

Following the release of the Discovery documentary, Sweden amended its legislation to allow more thorough investigation of the wreck. A new investigation of the MS Estonia is currently underway.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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