On Tuesday, an international research team began its journey to the site of the MS Estonia ferry wreck which sank in 1994 in one of Europe's worst peacetime maritime disasters.
The research vessel Viking Reach set off from the Swedish port of Karlskrona on Tuesday, with the team set to begin work on the wreck of the MS Estonia on Wednesday.
The maritime work is being carried out by the Estonian Safety Investigation Bureau and the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority in cooperation with the Finnish authorities. Norwegian company Reach Subsea AS has been contracted to conduct the maritime work, with the investigation to be carried out by the research vessel Viking Reach.
Depending on the weather conditions, the work at sea, including voyages to the target sites, is expected to take between seven and eight days.
The researchers plan to take several samples from the site of the wreckage, including from the damaged starboard side of the ferry and the surface of the hull. They also aim to film the Estonia's car deck as well as retrieve the bow ramp and sections of the hull's plating from the seabed.
The underwater surveys will be carried out by submersibles, with no divers entering the wreck.
The Safety Investigation Bureau launched a preliminary investigation on October 2, 2020 on the basis of video footage released by Monster Media Group Limited in September the same year. The footage showed that there was a hole in the starboard side of the wreck.
To conduct the preliminary investigation, the bureau requested assistance from both its Swedish and Finnish counterparts.
Surveys carried out in 2021 showed that the bow ramp is no longer attached to the hull, so it is therefore possible to recover the ramp from the seabed.
Editor: Michael Cole