The Estonian, Swedish and Finnish safety investigation authorities have agreed to raise the bow ramp and film the car deck of the MS Estonia ferry from the seabed. The ramp will be brought to Estonia for examination.
"The Swedish Accident Investigation Authority (SHK) has organized an international tender to find a suitable company to recover the ramp. The safety investigation authorities of the three countries will continue to plan and prepare for this work together. Estonia will be the lead country when it comes to the investigations, as was agreed in 2020 when we began the initial assessment," said Head of the Estonian Safety Investigation Bureau (OJK) Märt Ots.
"We have decided to retrieve the Estonia's bow ramp from the seabed and film the car deck," said SHK Deputy Director Jonas Bäckstrand. "During the 2021 investigation, it became clear that the bow ramp was no longer attached to the hull. So, we have decided to bring the ramp up to investigate this further," Bäckstrand added.
The Swedish government has allocated SEK 25 million (€2.2 million) for the work. "We decided to contract the Norwegian company Reach Subsea AS. The surveys will be carried out by the vessel Viking Reach," Bäckstrand explained, adding that the precise timing of the surveys is still to be finalized.
The representatives of the three countries' safety investigation authorities agreed that the ramp will be brought to Estonia, where it will be subjected to a thorough examination.
Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) researchers are continuing to work on creating a digital model of the MS Estonia in order to simulate its collision with the seabed. Their work is set to be completed by the end of August.
Interviews with survivors and other key people involved in the disaster are also set to continue. Preparations are underway for the modelling of the ferry's bow, which will be financed by Estonia.
Representatives of the Estonian, Swedish and Finnish safety investigation authorities met in Helsinki on Wednesday to continue planning the next steps in the investigation into the MS Estonia ferry disaster.
At a press conference this January, the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority (SHK) announced that it has organized a public tender to carry out the maritime investigations recover the bow ramp.
The Estonia's bow visor was recovered from the seabed in 1994 and is now in Sweden.
Editor: Michael Cole