Relatives of Estonia Ferry disasters have organized a privately funded expedition to search for clues about one of the maritime industry’s deadliest peacetime tragedies.
Over the weekend, 46 people left the Dutch port of Eemshaven on board a research vessel Guardian, on the way to the wreck off the Finnish island of Uto. “We have been preparing for the expedition for three months and remain optimistic. Our goal is to map all damage to the ship, to photograph and scan such damage and to examine the car deck and the area around the wreck, ”said Margus Kurm, manager of SA Mare Liberum, an initiative founded by relatives of the wreck victims.
the Estonia is one of the most controversial marine casualties in recent history. On the night of September 27, 1994, the Ro / Pax ferry drove from Tallinn to Stockholm as scheduled. The weather was rough, with winds up to 40 knots and waves up to 20 feet.
The next morning at around 12:55 a.m., the passengers heard a loud bang. 15 minutes later, the ship’s bow visor came off, causing flooding on the vehicle decks. She rose quickly to starboard and reached 60 degrees in the next 15 minutes. Due to the heavy list, it was not possible to launch their lifeboats and the passengers on the boat deck began lowering the ship. At 0150, less than an hour after the first sign of trouble, it slipped.
Hundreds of people managed to get off the ship, but faced heavy waves and deadly temperatures until rescuers arrived. Despite the efforts of nearby ships and several rescue helicopters, only 137 of the 989 people were on board Estonia survived.
“Although numerous different investigations were carried out in these decades, they could not give the bereaved and close relatives of the deceased any exhaustive answers to the reasons” Estonia perished, ”said Kurm.
During the expedition, divers plan underwater research to examine the shipwreck on the ocean floor. All evidence is backed by Dr. Andrzej Jasionowski, a naval forensic architect who specializes in hydrodynamics and damaged ship simulation.
The expedition is privately funded through donations and costs $ 930,000. The research ship was chartered by the German company RS Offshore and is equipped with four underwater robots.
Last year, a private expedition organized by documentary filmmakers Henrik Evertsson and Linus Andersson found what appears to be a 12-foot hole in Estonia Hull – an element that was not discussed in the official accident investigation. In response, the Swedish authorities accused her of violating a 1995 contract that the Estonia Location before disturbances; In February 2021, a court in Gothenburg dismissed the charges.