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Latvian historian: Possible to declassify MS Estonia documents earlier

MS Estonia sank in the early hours of 28 September 1994.
MS Estonia sank in the early hours of 28 September 1994. Source: Postimees/Scanpix Baltics

Classified documents related to the sinking of the MS Estonia ferry in 1994 could be made available ahead of their time limit according to a Latvian historian, Latvian public broadcaster LSM's English language portal reported.

LSM reported that the comments of Kārlis Kangeris, who worked at the Swedish State Archives at the time of the disaster.

Saturday marked the 25th anniversary of the disaster, which took the lives of 852 people, when the MS Estonia sank during a storm in the Baltic sea. Various conspiracy theories have abounded in the aftermath of the sinking. The MS Estonia's resting place is a protected site which is about 22 nautical miles (41 km) from Utö island, Finland.

A 1997 international commission report said that a combination of faulty design and bad weather were the cause of the disaster, but according to the LSM article, a section of the findings were classified for a 70-year period (i.e. until 2067), which Kangeris says is a standard term under Swedish law.

However, Kangeris questions why the length is needed in this case, saying that: "I was living in Sweden at the time, and there was a lot of discussions – what should be done with the wreck, whether it should be made an official grave."

Kangeris also questioned whether the vessel was carrying secret materials and noted that an archive law, which has been adopted in Sweden, suggests a classification limit of 40 years, which could also help victims' relatives get closure on the matter.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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