Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

What really happened to m/s Estonia?

by Starvid Tue Sep 12th, 2006 at 05:52:52 PM EST

12 years ago, the ship m/s Estonia sunk. 852 people were killed, mainly Swedes, Finns and Estonians. There have been many conspiracy theories about this, mainly because the study which was supposed to say what happened was obviously either a uselessly incompetent study made by very competent people, or a coverup.

People didn't mind these theories about Estonia much, because after all, a conspiracy that big can't be covered up can it? Obviously not.

Two years ago, it was discovered that secret military equipment had been transported on the ship the weeks and months before the ship sunk. It obviously was possible to cover up major conspiracies.

A government inquiry was then launched to get information if the Swedish Defence had smuggled any equipment on the ship the night it sunk. The relevant word here is the Defence. The inquiry specifically did not ask if any private corporation in the pay of the Defence transported anything that night. It is well known that it was common practice in the early 90's to do use private corporation for just that kind of thing.

Because of all this the Estonian government launched an investigation to probe this matter, an investigation the Swedish and Finnish governments have done their best to impede, by denying the Estonians acess to relevant documents and people.

So, another Swedish inquiry was launched, this time to look at some really strange evidence that has surfaced.  There is a video taken by a robot camera that was taken four days after the disaster showing the ship. Certain parts on the bow ramp have been cut loose, very liely to ease entrance through the bow gate. This is very interesting as, according to the official story, no divers went down to the ship until a month after the sinking.

Someone, divers, were down at the ship some time in the first four days after the disaster.

A further video from 1996 show that metal loops have been welded to the bow onramp and that is been subjected to very severe violence as if someone has forced the gate shut. Massive metal bars have been broken.

In theory anyone could have been down there. In practice only the Swedish navy, or someone with their permission could have done it. The site was under strict navy control and was also kept secret for two months after the disaster. Only the Finnish and Swedis navies knew were the ship had sunk.

So, back to the new inquiry, it will clear everything up won't it? No. Because it has been specifically asked  to just look at videos taken between October 2 and December 6 1994, that is, the period where no changes to the ship are documented! The relevant videos, taken in the first two weeks and two years later, are to be ignored!

Look, I am not a conspiracy tin foil hat guy. You all know that. But this is a real one. And that's also what Sweden's most major paper thinks. Because they have just published a debate article about all this by a green member of parliament, Lars Ångström.

And yes one more thing, just the icing on the cake. After the ship sunk, the government immediatly wanted to cover it with - concrete. Yes, that's right. Cover it with concrete. That was thankfully stopped by the victims families organizations.

When m/s Estonia sank I was only 9 years old, so I didn't ask the obvious question: I wonder why they wanted to do that?

It seems no one in the mainstream did that either. Until now.

Couldn't the filmed deformations just have been from the fateful breaking-off of the bow ramp, and there from the beginning?

At any rate, let it be mentioned that some theories have been disproven since: the metal surface deformations supposed to prove an explosion from the inside (IIRC a claim by some Germans, later taken up by the German shipbuilding firm) have been conclusively shown to have been resulted from normal factory surface treatment.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 12th, 2006 at 07:09:43 PM EST
When m/s Estonia sank I was only 9 years old, so I didn't ask the obvious question: I wonder why they wanted to do that?

Then I am a bit older then you. As I remembered it there was a huge discussion about wheter to take up the ship and bury everyone on land or not. This discussion  started just the day after or something, when the prime-minister and the leader of the opposition Carlsson and Bildt proclaimed that Estonia would be savlaged. The relatives of the drowned split into two or more camps and when the decision came down on not salvaging, ther was also added the part about covering it in concrete. This was as I saw it part of making it a grave, rather then just water.

If the Swedish military did smuggle stuff on the m/s Estonia, it is not necessary that this has anything to do with why the boat sunk. If they did, they would like to keep it secret anyway.

That said, I have respect for Lars Ångström, and his neverending struggles to bring to light stuff that the military-industrial sector in Sweden wants to keep secret. I hope he is succesfull in this case and many other.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Sep 12th, 2006 at 08:26:39 PM EST
It is quite difficult to 'arrange' storms in the Baltic.

Whatever may have been on board, this surely remains an horrific accident.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Sep 13th, 2006 at 01:08:50 AM EST
This story reminds me of a famous little booklet by Gabriel García Márquez, called "Story of a shipwrecked sailor" [Relato de un Náufrago]. Back when Gabo was a young journalist in Colombia, there was an accident where 8  sailors were washed away from the deck of a military ship by a wave during a storm. One of them survived.
Relato de un náufragoStory of a shipwrecked soldier
que estuvo diez días a la deriva en una balsa sin comer ni beber, que fue proclamado héroe de la patria, besado por las reinas de la belleza y hecho rico por la publicidad, y luego aborrecido por el gobierno y olvidado para siempre.who was adrift on a raft for 10 days with no food or water, who was proclaimed a hero of the fatherland, kissed by beauty queens and made rich by advertising, and then hated by the government and forgotten forever.
The parallel to the Estonia case is that the military ship was carrying contraband (kitchen appliances, TVs) as opposed to a civilian ship carrying smuggled military equipment. In this case there was no storm (that was the official cover-up story) but just that some of the cargo, which was ilegally kept on the deck, broke lose in the rough sea and took 8 sailors with it. The sailor ended up going voluntarily to Gabo's newspaper to tell his story. As a result the dictatorship shut the paper down, and Gabo ended up in exile in Paris.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 13th, 2006 at 04:08:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there was no real surprise in 1994 in the UK at the evidence in the Estonia case as it sounded remarkably similar to the capsize of the Herald of Free Enterprize just outside of Zeebruge.

In both cases the cause was the bow doors letting in water by a combination of bad design and the visor not being properly closed before departure. In the "Herald...." case this was down to a rush to turn the vessel round. The Estonia case again involved a lot of passengers who had gone overseas to get cheap alcohol from a country will less tax.

The problem with these visor type "roll on, roll off" or RO-RO ferries is that the decks were completely open to allow movement of the vehicles. Once any water gets in, it magnifies the rolling and pitching of the ship. In turn this causes more to get in as the waves can get into the now lower bow and a feedback grows. The Herald was in shallow water so settled on her side whereas the Estonia sank in deeper water.

At the time the parallels were uncanny. The regulations were changed after the Herald and Estonia and the ships either retrofitted with dividing barriers to stop the water movement or sold off to areas where the rules are not so strict. I seem to remember that some have subsequently been involved in exactly the same sort of accident.

by Londonbear on Wed Sep 13th, 2006 at 06:27:44 AM EST
Also the ship just was not built for the open waters of the area. It used to sail as Viking Sally from Turku to Maarianhamina and then to Stockholm (I have some nice pictures taken on the ship from those days). That route is mostly archipelago, and the waves do not get very big there. The bow doors could not take the hits dealt by the larger waves of the open Baltic.

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--
by tzt (tzt) on Wed Sep 13th, 2006 at 08:49:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with the bow gate theory, at least according to engineers and ship building experts I have heard testimonials from, is that the ship could not have sunk the way it has been shown as in the official explanation. Not physically possible, it would be like a reactor exploding like a nuclear bomb or the moon turning into cheese.

If the bow gate had been destroyed the ship would have capsized, rolled over and stayed afloat upsie down for several days.

I think the m/s Estonia enigma holds several questions.

  1. Was military equipment smuggled on the ship? Of this I am absolutely sure.

  2. Did someone go down to the ship in the first four days  to retrieve, or try to retrieve something? Of this I am also sure.

  3. Was the ship sunk by someone or did it just sink of natural causes? I have no idea. But if it did sink by natural causes, why did they cover up how it sunk, and why are they obstructing the Estonian inquiry?

  4. If someone sunk it, was it a mistake (running into a sub for example) or was it an intelligence operation? I have no idea.

  5. If it was an intelligence operation, who did it? The only good suspect here is the Russians, or (and please excuse that I sound like a bad James Bond movie), a rogue Russian intelligence boss (or yes, I'll say it, a rogue Russian KGB/GRU general).

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Sep 13th, 2006 at 09:47:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
3 bis. Did it sink because of an accidental explosion in the smuggled equipment?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 13th, 2006 at 09:51:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. The deformations at the door aren't consistent with that.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 13th, 2006 at 10:01:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Starvid on Wed Sep 13th, 2006 at 11:44:58 AM EST
The member of parliament who wrote the article has a webpage (only in Swedish) where all the evidence and strangeness is available. After reading it, it's impossible not to believe there is a, well, vast conspiracy.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Sep 13th, 2006 at 06:15:01 PM EST
Just one more interesting thing.

The bow gate, the visor, was supposed to be the reason for the sinking. According to the official story it fell off and was found 1,6 km from the ship after three weeks of searching.

This in spite of the sonar that can find a bathtub at 80 metres from over a kilometre away.

When the "Working group for a new study of the sinking of the Estonia" in 2000 asked the Swedish Maritime Administration for a picture they could have on the front page of their report, they got this sonar picture.

When we look a little closer, we see this.

Something is lying next to the ship, and more importantly this thing is not lying 1,6 km from it.

The damage found on the salvaged visor corresponds to the damage on the thing on the sonar picture.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Sep 13th, 2006 at 06:38:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yawn, this reminds me of the worst where-are-the-wings conspiracy pages...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:37:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The origin of this is the same in both cases, the fact that no forensic investigation was carried out immediately after the accidents. It leads people to wonder whether the government is hiding something.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:40:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, after I read up a bit, the reason seems to be that just like with the 9/11 investigations, paranoid amateurs pick out details they don't really understand and build nice theories on them. I found three different and contradictory consiracy theories just on the bow visor...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 03:19:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We shall just have to see. The latest news is that the civilian investigators are demanding acess to closed military archives.

And the people looking at this are not amateurs. The whole ship-safety world says that no matter what else happened, the Estonia did not sink the way the first government review said it did.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 04:39:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to what may be a unique resource dedicated to this tragedy:


The author has professional knowledge of the type of ship and equipment, in particular the operation of bow-doors. He isa Finnish 'shippie'.

As far as I can see the information and analysis he offers is 'independent'

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 05:01:19 AM EST

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]

Top Diaries