Sweden to allow underwater investigation of Estonia wreck site

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden said on Friday it would allow an underwater examination of the ferry Estonia, which sank in the Baltic 26 years ago with the loss of 852 lives, after a documentary film showed previously unknown holes in the wreck's hull. The official investigation concluded in 1997 that the roll-on, roll-off ferry's bow shield had failed, damaging the bow ramp and flooding the car deck. However, a Discovery Network documentary shown earlier in the autumn about the disaster included new underwater video images from the wreck site showing two previously unknown holes on the starboard side of the ship's hull

Reuters December 19, 2020 00:10:20 IST
Sweden to allow underwater investigation of Estonia wreck site

Sweden to allow underwater investigation of Estonia wreck site

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden said on Friday it would allow an underwater examination of the ferry Estonia, which sank in the Baltic 26 years ago with the loss of 852 lives, after a documentary film showed previously unknown holes in the wreck's hull.

The official investigation concluded in 1997 that the roll-on, roll-off ferry's bow shield had failed, damaging the bow ramp and flooding the car deck.

However, a Discovery Network documentary shown earlier in the autumn about the disaster included new underwater video images from the wreck site showing two previously unknown holes on the starboard side of the ship's hull.

"If there is new information, we need to look into it and clear up any questions," Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg told a news conference.

Damberg said the government hoped to amend the law designating the site of the disaster as a maritime memorial in the first half of next year.

On the night of Sept. 28, 1994, the Estonia was sailing from Tallinn to Stockholm in bad weather. Winds were around 20 meters per second and the waves around 4 meters high, according to the official investigation.

After the bow shield failed, the ferry rapidly filled with water and most of those who died were trapped inside.

The ship sank about 22 nautical miles from Uto island in less than 85 metres of water.

Over the years, a number of theories have emerged about the sinking that reject the official explanation, including a collision with a submarine and an explosion inside the ship.

The head of Sweden's Accident Investigation Authority, John Ahlberk, however, said a preliminary examination of footage from the documentary and previous material had not so far led to the conclusion that the 1997 official report had been wrong.

"What the investigation we are doing now is about is to find out, as far as possible, what made these holes and how they occurred, he said.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Giles Elgood)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.