Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.
'every stone must be turned'
Carl Bildt (m), Swedish prime minister, 940928
'We knew that several persons in the crew lied ...'.
Bengt Schager, expert in the Commission, Swedish daily Hallands Nyheter 990217
Part 2. What Survivors and Relatives should know 2001
Particulars of the M/S Estonia (from Lloyd's Register 1994):
Loa 155.43 meters, Lpp 137.42 meters, Breadth 24.21 meters, Draught 5.50 meters
Depth 7.62 meters, GT 15566, NT 8372, Dwt 3345 tons
Forward bow ramp length 7.3 meters, breadth 5.4 meters
2.1 A Sequence of Events based on Passenger Testimonies. Sudden Listing at 01.02 hrs. The Part and Final Reports manipulated the Testimonies
In the summer 1996 the writer reconstructed an alternative cause of accident and sequence of events based on basic stability principles in undamaged and damaged (under the waterline) conditions of the ship, calculations of periodic and impact hydrodynamic loads on the fore ship above the waterline, how ferries behave with water on the car deck above the waterline and with water in damaged (flooded) compartments below the waterline, information in the press in October 1994, the fact that the visor was allegedly found a mile West of the wreck, information in books written by survivors, etc.
The theory was simple: the 'Estonia' had started to leak below the waterline, water had flooded several compartments below the waterline, the ship had lost its initial stability due to free water surfaces and had suddenly listed, and had turned up against the wind (towards Southwest) to try to reduce the list. What caused the leak was not known! A collision?
The visor had been struck off sideways, when the fore ship side of the heeling ship hit flatly against the waves. The writer then, 1996, believed that the visor had been lost prior to the sinking, but it would appear today, 2001, that it was still hanging on to the superstructure when the ferry sank. Thus, the visor could hardly have caused the accident.
The writer was not aware of the systematic disinformation of the Commission as described in Part 1 but tried to do the best with the available information.
The result was an article in the biggest Swedish morning daily Dagens Nyheter (DN Debatt) published on 15 August 1996. The same day the Commission (Forssberg and Schager) told Swedish news agency TT (22) that the article was
"unintelligent gibberish based on unscientific methods by an unreasonable person".
This remarkable and brutal rhetoric (which no paper published verbally) surprised the writer at first but it confirmed that the Commission was not doing a serious investigation of the Truth of the 'Estonia' tragedy.
All Evidence was secret 1996
At the time of the DN Debatt article all reports and evidence of the Commission were secret and confidential. The Commission had also refused to discuss its investigation and conclusions until then. Ann-Louise Eksborg, who took over the job of Forssberg in May 1997 1.20, has however, in January 1998, verbally confirmed (23) that the SHK could not positively exclude the possibility of leakage in e.g. the starboard side below the waterline, because the examination of the wreck was not complete. The assumptions and suggestions of the DN article, and also of the Germans 1.22 from 1996, had thus been confirmed.
The work to improve the analysis continued and another summary was published in Lloyd's List in London on 8 November 1996 (Dagens Nyheter has since August 1996 refused to publish anything by the writer). The result was a lot of new information and other documents sent to the writer. The result was i.a. (1) 1998 and this book 2001. The Swedish Ministry of Transport (Ines Uusmann) was informed by letters 1996/7 but advised that the letters had been filed and no action was taken 1.39. Nobody reacted.
To establish what happened aboard the 'Estonia' you must evidently study the testimonies of all the survivors - passengers and crew - and also other observers, e.g. the crews of assisting ships.
The sequence of events and times in 2.2 is partly based on the German scenario published in July 1996 (19), which the Germans had established after interviewing 123 of 137 survivors and many other persons who knew the ship.
The Visor must have been lost after the Listing
The German scenario proposed that the visor was lost after the sudden listing occurred, which the writer thought already 1994. The Germans however illogically proposed that water had leaked into the superstructure at the ramp and caused the listing. It was not possible, because then first >2 000 000 litres (sic) of water must 'leak into' the car deck via a badly maintained visor and an even worse maintained bow ramp, without nobody noticing. Half that amount of water had caused a heel >20 degrees and 2 000 000 litres of water on the car deck had caused immediate capsize and floating upside down, and it never happened. Only small amounts of water could have leaked in at the ramp and it could perhaps have caused a small listing - but never the sinking!
Thus the ship must have been leaking below the waterline. The Germans have much later concluded the same thing 3.18. But what caused the leak below waterline?
The German scenario and its evidence material were presented to the Commission in July 1996 and you would have expected a reaction. However all German information was also made secret and filed (19) without any action and was not more discussed by the Commission. The Final Report (5) does not mention the matter.
The Germans did not react - they should have protested strongly - but continued their work.
Several survivors have confirmed directly or indirectly the times and events shown in 2.2. Other events are a logical consequence of confirmed events, e.g. the assumed angle of heel, speed, course, etc.
No observations of any survivor from the 'Estonia' or from persons on assisting ships confirm the alleged events of the Commission: that the visor fell off before the listing, that the ramp was pulled fully open, that water entered the car deck of the superstructure, when the speed was not reduced, etc.
In retrospect it is quite simple to show that these 'official' events were made up as part of the disinformation process, which started immediately after the accident by the Swedish authorities.
For some strange reason the Commission had announced the cause of accident 1.4, before they had even examined and analysed, what all survivors had to say and had experienced. Several survivors had, e.g. noticed water on deck 1 starboard side after having heard a big 'bang' but before the sudden listing, and the time for the sudden listing was put at 01.02 hrs - at least 13 minutes before the official, alleged time of the 'accident' - the listing - 01.15 hrs. The reason of the Commission for delaying the 'accident' 13 minutes is further discussed in chapter 4.4. See also below for a summary of survivors' testimonies - later amended or edited by the Commission - to support the time 01.02 hrs for the 'accident' - the sudden listing.
Water on Deck 1
The question was thus - what was the origin of the water seen on deck 1 at, say 00.54 hrs?
The interpretation here is that this water had leaked in below the waterline and that it caused the sudden listing starting at 01.02 hrs after a serious mishap with the watertight doors. Sillaste had no doubt been called down to assist isolating the leakage and starting bilge pumps.
The crew must have been aware of the leakage, but it is a proven fact that they did not alert the passengers. In retrospect it is obvious that the crew covered up this fact by blaming the accident on the visor. The visor was probably in bad condition - damaged or defective before the accident. The Germans have shoved that the ramp was probably leaking. The Germans then made the incorrect deduction that water on the car deck in the superstructure sank the ship. A simple stability calculation should have demonstrated that this was impossible.
The time for passengers to react was short. Passengers in cabins had little possibility to survive unless they evacuated the cabins immediately and reached a staircase. No alarm was raised 1.33. What the crew was actually doing is not yet established - probably saving themselves. Some officers sent a Mayday at 01.22/30 hrs.
The reason, why nobody saw or heard, when the visor was detached, was that it happened after the listing.
Visor lost after the Listing
There are two possibilities regarding the visor. The writer thought first 1996 - when he still believed that the position of the visor 1 570 meters West of the wreck was correct - that it had been struck off sideway, when the ferry had a list of > 30 degrees, which could have been around 01.16 hrs. The writer believes today 2001 that the visor position is false and that the visor was not stricken off at all but was attached to the ship, when it sank (and was removed under water!). Both possibilities will be examined later.
Regardless which possibility is correct, the sequence of events in the Final Report 1.9 is shameless disinformation based on manipulated evidence and falsified 'scientific' reports.
It is thus very probable that the surviving crew did not tell the truth - but - some information of the crew was true.
Sillaste was probably called up at about 00.30 hrs to fix a defect 1.3. He says innocently that it was the toilet system, but it was probably some other, more serious problem - probably associated with the leakage.
Watch keeping AB Silver Linde, in an interview in DN 1.4, said that there was a big impact - bang - at about 00.40 hrs. Some passengers experienced the same thing but later - at about 00.58 hrs (see below).
But 3/E Treu in the ECR or in the engine room, Sillaste in the pump room on deck 0 and motorman Kadak in the workshop beside the ECR have never testified about an impact - bang - at 00.40 hrs. It is remarkable 1.48. Sillaste says the impact was just before the listing.
Let us assume that there was a problem in one of the engine rooms (the sewage tanks room or the stabilizer space) or the swimming pool compartment on deck 0 causing the impact - bang - and that Treu, Sillaste and Kadak, just because they knew about it, did not testify about that impact, because it would implicate them. That impact could hardly have been associated with the visor.
Linde told DN about an impact at 00.40 hrs, because he experienced an impact but didn't know what caused it. If it was at 00.40 hrs is another question.
The Commission used two groups of observers to confirm its scenario in the Final Report. The first group was the three persons in the engine room - Treu, Sillaste and Kadak - and they said, or were told to say, that there was nothing wrong at all in the engine rooms or the ship prior to 01.15 hrs, when the listing started - and then they saw a closed but leaking ramp 1.3 at the forward end of the superstructure after the listing. Then they told what happened seven minutes later - the 'escape' 1.48 and that story does not ring true.
It is very difficult to make up a false story, but the problem here was, that the story of the first group must tally with the story of the second group.
The second group was only one man - Linde. Linde was on the car deck, deck 2, in the superstructure before the 'accident/listing' - in one version reported in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter Linde experienced an impact at 00.40 hrs, in a later version, when the Commission changed the times, it was at 00.55 hrs, and it concerned the visor. Linde was ordered by the bridge to check the visor (sic) for five minutes (there is no evidence for it), but the bridge did not contact the ECR or slowed down the ship. Linde did not find any faults. In the first version Linde continued his patrol round down to decks 1 and 0, but we do not know what he saw there. In the second version there is no time at all for Linde to examine decks 0 and 1, so he returns straight up to the bridge on deck 9 to witness the events from there. Actually he was immediately ordered down again to examine 'strange noise', but was delayed at the reception on deck 5. That story does not ring true. It is obvious that Linde does not tell the truth.
Passenger Observations ignored
The Commission ignored the third group of observers - the surviving passengers. And a majority of the passengers noticed a sudden listing - around 01.02-01.05 hrs. This time has been determined by independent researchers, e.g. the German group of experts. The Final report (5) chapter 6 mainly quotes a minority of survivors stating another time as follows:
6.3.2 - Deck 1 - "he estimated the time to 0115-0120 hrs ... the ship ... heeled to starboard immediately after."
6.3.3 - Deck 4 - "At about 0115 hrs one witness noticed objects started to move to starboard"
6.3.4 - Deck 5 - "one witness estimated the time to be around 0115 hrs."
6.3.5 - Deck 6 - "He looked at his watch at 0105 hrs. According to his estimation, 20 minutes after, the ship suddenly listed without any forewarning."
6.3.6 - Deck 7 - "The time for this second heel, as stated by two crew members, was around 0120 hrs".
6.3.7 - Deck 8 - "a cabin attendant was awakened, another at 0110-0115 hrs by a cupboard falling."
The Final report (5) is quite dishonest here. The Schager reports (see below) clearly state that the sudden listing occured much earlier.
Let us assume that the list developed at 01.02-01.05 hrs a few minutes after the big 'bangs'. It can only have been caused by free water on deck 0 in the bottom of the hull, which had leaked in earlier and flooded three or four compartments below the car deck later. The ship was rolling in the seas - roll plus list together were noticed by many - the heel was suddenly >30 degrees and the ship then straightened up and stabilised itself with 15 degree list (when the ship did not seem to roll). Then the main engines, the generators, etc. were running, which indicates that it was not too much water in the engine rooms. It is one reason why the Germans believe that three compartments around the sauna/swimming pool room forward of the engine rooms were flooded and that Linde probably had noticed it. Passengers on deck 1 above the sauna noticed water and one person apparently went up and complained. Why Linde did not rise an alarm is a mystery. Or maybe he did? But maybe he only informed the bridge (and/or the ECR?), and the bridge decided not to raise the alarm of the passengers. Why?
One reason was maybe that the crew awaited the master. Or, the crew and the master did not consider the problem serious enough to raise the alarm. It could very well be that the ship was in fact leaking, but that the situation was under control. The leak had been isolated. The bilge pumps had been started. Some - but not all - watertight doors had been closed to prevent the water to spread.
Sillaste let the cat out of the bag, when 1.3 he told the Finnish and Estonian police that the bilge pumps were running (and that therefore the 'Estonia' was leaking) just after the list had occurred. The bilge pumps must have been started before the list - there was no time to start them after the list. The Commission has censored all information in the Final Report (5) about the bilge pumps - not one word 1.24. Thus the following may have happened.
About 00.55 hrs: Two 'bangs', scraping sounds and leakage. The first bang may have been a collision causing the big indent in the visor 5-6 meters above waterline. The second bang caused the hull leakage. Maybe it was the starboard stabiliser fin that broke its foundation in the hull 2.23. Sillaste was called up to assist, e.g. start the bilge pumps. At this time the engine crew and the bridge were fully informed about the problem, but there was no need to alarm the passengers. Linde was on his patrol round and was not yet aware of the problem.
Linde experienced the 'bang', when he was on the (car) deck 2 and was quickly informed what was happening. He could himself quickly run down to the ECR one deck below and check for himself. Thus Treu, Sillaste, Kadak, Linde and the persons on the bridge all knew that the ship was leaking. They may also have believed that the watertight doors on deck 0 were closed 1.23, even if the persons in the ECR had no control panel to verify it.
No alarm was allegedly raised immediately, but the crew should have alarmed the passengers on deck 1, who were below the waterline. The crew was apparently not aware of the fact that deck 1 was arranged with openings, so that water on deck 1 would flow down to deck 0, in case there was a leak in the side above deck 1. Evidently, if water fills up deck 0, it will be pushed up to deck 1. These openings are called 'down-flooding hatches' and allow water on deck 1 to flow down to deck 0 and stabilize the ship and to be pumped out by the bilge pumps. If it was water pressed up through these openings, that persons on deck 1 saw before the sudden listing is not clear - it could also have flowed up through the staircase. But before 01.00 hrs persons on deck 1 saw water on deck 1 starboard side and in the centre corridor.
There are evidently no down flooding hatches on the car deck in the superstructure 2,5 meters above the waterline. That deck is very strong and completely watertight. Water on the car deck (from the fire extinguishing system if a car is on fire) is evacuated overboard via normal scuppers. Also the car deck must be fire proof, e.g. if petrol flows out from a car, etc.
It is possible that all ship's officers were alerted at this time and gathered on the bridge, some bringing their wives and girlfriends along. It is also possible that some lifeboats were made ready to abandon ship. But it is clear that no alarm was given to the passengers.
00.56 hrs: Linde returned to bridge at the same time the Master arrives. The Master wonders what is going on. Second mate Kannussar informs that the 'Estonia' is leaking and maybe that they have collided with something, that the bilge pumps are on, that the watertight doors on deck 0 are closed, and that the situation is under control. The speed has evidently been lowered. Maybe Linde is ordered down again to the ECR and to see what is going on (even if there are telephones, walkie-talkies, etc).
00.57 hrs: Passengers on deck 1 notice water on deck 1.
00.58 hrs: The Master now manipulates the remote controls of the watertight doors - he may have believed that he closed the doors on e.g. deck 1, but he opens now (all?) doors on deck 0 1.23. The water then spread quickly in two, three adjacent compartments, and if two compartments were previously full; now five compartments are partly flooded. What happens?
The ship loses its initial stability due to free water surfaces on deck 0 2.17 - and there is a sudden list at 01.02 hrs.
01.02 hrs: The ship loses its initial stability due to righting arm GZ<0and heels. A few minutes later it finds a new equilibrium at about 15 degrees list to starboard. Linde loses his balance on deck 7. After the sudden listing the water cannot spread on deck 0 for a while, as the watertight doors are in the centre line. But when more water flows in, the compartments fill up progressively, the list increases and the ship sinks. When deck 4 aft open deck is under water, the car deck fills from above through the ventilators, this happens at say 01.20 hrs and at 01.32 hrs the ship's stern hits the bottom. The bow sinks under water at 01.35 hrs.
But after 01.02 hrs everything is panic. No Mayday could be sent in the confusion, it was not sent until 01.22 hrs, when it was sent via VHF.
Treu was maybe in contact with the bridge/Master before the sudden list with instructions to ballast the ship for stability, but it was not possible. The only method to prevent loss of initial stability was (a) to close the watertight doors and (b) to pump dry the undamaged compartments with the bilge pumps.
Treu, Sillaste and Kadak probably immediately after the sudden list left the ECR in order to survive 1.48.
Secret Summaries of surviving Passengers' Testimonies
Already on 24 January 1995 the expert and psychologist Bengt Schager 1.5 summarised the events for the Commission according to police interviews of the survivors (act A93d* - three pages - it was kept secret until 4 December 1997). The information was based on 144 interviews of 122 survivors, including the four crew members Linde, Treu, Sillaste and Kadak, but the latter testimonies are not considered (sic). Schager has later informed that he considered that several persons of the crew lied, which was not mentioned in the below summaries.
The Final Report (5) states in chapter 6.1 that its sequence of events 1.9 is based upon 258 testimonies from 134 survivors and that the summaries in the Final Report (5) follow the witnesses' statements as closely as possible. However - the original statements of the survivors/witnesses are not supplemented to the Final Report, so the reader has no possibility to check the Final Report. Schager summarised the survivors' testimonies completely different than shown in the Final Report. And Schager's summaries tally rather well with the German private interviews of survivors.
The Schager Sequence of Events
Schager put the observations of the survivors in time intervals:
00.00 - 00.30 hrs "Heavy seas. Many passengers are sea sick, some are worried about the noises, others are afraid and some try to persuade themselves that all is in order - as it shall be. On decks no. 1 and 4 many passengers cannot sleep due to the noise level. Passengers discuss among one another about the noises. Persons, moving around, are forced to find support. The waves are hitting hard against the ship. There are strange sounds in the ship, making some worried. The bar staff starts removing bottles from the shelves. At about 00.15 hrs the 'Estonia' changes course and the stabilizers are activated (pulled out). Some passengers awake in their cabins due to hard bangs against the ship. One bang is particularly hard: "As if the whole construction of the ship was shaken". A strong noise heard on the car deck, where a car alarm is activated. Silver Linde, who sometimes have difficulties to keep his balance due to the motions of the sea, returns to the bridge after his patrol round and informs that all is in order".
In an up-dated summary of 21 March 1995 (act C18* - eight pages - also secret until 4 December 1997) Schager informed about the same observations. The Final Report (5) states however that the 'Estonia' turned at 00.30 hrs, i.e. 15 minutes later than Schager states in his two reports. It is possible that the ship turned towards Sandhamn (sic) at that time 1.26 and later. The statement that the stabilizers were activated is not proven - the ship was rolling so much that the orchestra stopped playing later - see below - which suggests that the stabilizers were not in use. They were found in their pockets on the wreck. The statement that Linde returned from his patrol round must refer to the patrol round, which started at 23.30 hrs. He may then have returned just before 00.00 hrs.
00.30 - 00.45 hrs (According act A93a*) "Several passengers hear a very strong bang. Somebody reports about strange bangs, as metal against metal, coming from the bow. Severe motions of the sea and passengers have fallen to the floor in the karaoke bar, where also glasses and bottles have fallen to the floor".
In the up-dated summary 950321 (act C18*) Schager had more to report:
00.30-00.45 hrs "The orchestra stops playing in advance (at 00.30 hrs) due to the heavy motions of the sea. Severe motions of the sea. Passengers have difficulties to keep balance. Belongings slide down on the floor of the cabins. The blows cause noticeable shakings, which really make the ship shake. In cabins and in corridors you can hear persons vomiting. A strong bang is heard on deck 2, the car deck. Several passengers report that they hear a very strong bang. One passenger reports about several strange bangs, metal to metal, coming from the bow. The sea motion is severe and several retired (old) persons have fallen in the karaoke bar, where also glasses and bottles on the bar counter fall to the floor ".
There should have been no doubt that there was a very strong bang aboard the 'Estonia' at 00.30-00.45 hrs, i.e. 15-30 minutes before the list at 01.02-01.05 hrs. But in the Final Report (5) the very strong bang is not mentioned. Only 'one passenger' or 'somebody' noted several bangs from the bow before 00.45 hrs, and watchman Linde should then have been there - he is not mentioned above. And how did 'one passenger' know that it was from the bow?
Two big Bangs
00.45 - 01.00 hrs (According act A93a*) "Two bangs are heard over most parts of the ship, strong, rapid noises and at the same time the ship is shaken a little. The bow rises strongly for the waves. Silver Linde, who is on the car deck, hears a bang behind the ramp, a very hard metallic sound. He informs the bridge and is ordered to check for five minutes. The signal lamps light green. In the engine room (sic) is seen on the monitor at 00.46 hrs that there is a water sprinkle at the ramp starboard edge. In several cabins passengers vomit. Captain Arvo Andresson arrives to the bridge".
In the up-dated summary 950321 (act C18*) Schager had more to report:
00.45-01.00: "An un-natural bump was heard 15 minutes before the accident. Two dull bangs, rather rapid, short noises, were heard. At the same time the ship shakes a little (about 00.45 hrs). The ship rolls severely sideways. Silver Linde, who is on the car deck, hears at 00.45 hrs a strong crash behind the ramp, a very hard metallic bang. He informs the bridge and is ordered to check for five minutes. The signal lamps light green. He did not hear anything more during these five minutes. In the engine room (sic) Hannes Kadak sees at 00.46 hrs on the monitor that there is a water sprinkle at the ramp starboard edge. Additional passengers awake and are afraid (10-15 minutes before the accident). Strange bumps are heard and something which hits. The bar staff removes bottles from the shelves. The bow rises strongly for the waves. Worried passengers wake one another. The ship starts to swing (pitch) longitudinally, not from side to side, 3-4 times. One passenger hears a familiar (for him) hydraulic sound, "such as is heard when you close and open the bow visor"."
There should be no doubt that there were 'two (dull) bangs' heard aboard the 'Estonia' before the list (the accident) according to Schager. But in the Final Report (5) these two bangs at 00.45-01.00 are not mentioned either. Linde has not mentioned the two bangs - he is said (or was told) to have heard a crash behind the ramp. What caused the bangs? A collision! The Commission has never mentioned the possibility.
Official Testimonies ignored/censored in the Part Report
In the Part Report (16) page 10 the Commission summarised what happened 00.30-01.15 hrs 1.19:
'At about 00.45 hrs several witnesses noted signs of something un-normal in the ship. Metallic noises were heard in the ship'.
That was all the Commission told the public in April 1995 about the last 45 minutes of the voyage, in spite of the fact that Schager in two reports of January and March 1995 had advised a completely different scenario!
The writer considers the above indication that the Part Report (16) 1.19 was a conscious attempt to misinform the public. Three very strong bangs at two different times are reduced to 'metallic noises' in the Part Report (16).
At 01.00-01.05 the severe list develops according to Schager, in spite of the fact that the Commission already in October 1994, 1.12-1, said that it was not until 01.15 hrs.
Schager thus (act 93a*) reported in January 1995:
01.00 - 01.05 hrs "On deck 1 passengers hear a sprinkling sound from the car deck. Worried passengers wake one another. The watch man Silver Linde is ordered to go down and investigate reports about noise. The ship raised the fore strongly 3-4 times and then sank back. After the second or third pitching it behaved differently. One passenger hears a familiar (for him) hydraulic sound, "such as is heard when you close and open the bow visor" Another hears at the same time three "klonks" and that there is a hissing sound below his cabin (nr 4314). Two strong bangs awake the sleeping aboard.
Total Disorder onboard
The summary of Schager in March 1995, act C18*, states in principle the same for the time 01.00 - 01.05 hrs with the following additions and corrections - it is clear that the sudden list has occurred:
01.00 - 01.05 hrs "immediately after the list there is a new roll, which contribute to the shifting of cabin outfit.
That a 'severe list' developed 01.00/01.05 hrs should be clear from the Schager summaries, also 2.12, - the bar counter turns over and passengers fly against the starboard bulkhead - and you wonder why the Final Report (5) does not mention it. The Final report mainly quotes survivors stating the sudden list occurred 01.15-01.20 hrs. Unfortunately Schager also minimises this event - the sudden list - to be
"Many passengers understand that something is not what it should be. The motions of the ship are changed and now it heels (rolls) strongly from side to side 3-4 times, so that passengers must hold on to fixed objects."
In the Final Report (5) the sudden listing at 01.02 hrs is not mentioned at all. The Final Report instead suggests that the ship listed slowly 20 degrees between 01.15-01.20 hrs, i.e. 4 degrees per minute, due to increasing amounts of water on the car deck. Naturally Schager never mentioned that in his summaries - according Schager the list was 30 degrees at 01.10-01.15 hrs, when the speed had been reduced to 6 knots, etc.
According Schager Linde had fallen on deck 7 at 01.05 hrs - in the Final Report Linde waits then at the information desk on deck 5 - and there is still ten minutes to go to the sudden listing.
Isn't it strange?
Metallic Noises - the Ramp appeared to be closed
In the Part Report (16) the Commission says that only the following - nothing else is reported except 'metallic noises' - happened before the accident - the listing - at about 01.15 hrs:
"The engineer in the engine control room has stated that he later - at about 01.15 hrs - on a TV-monitor saw water coming in along the sides of the forward bow ramp. The ramp appeared to be in a closed position. Further on stronger metallic noises were heard and soon after the ship started to roll heavier and got starboard list".
Schager evidently did not report this testimony of Treu in his summaries 1.48. It is quite interesting to note that the Part Report (16) April 1995 only includes one testimony - Treu's - to support its sequence of events. The Commission apparently decided to ignore all what Schager reported above. Schager never complained, he was well paid and stayed on in the Commission until September 1997, when he resigned - the Estonian's were lying, Schager told the press.
Then happened the following in the Part Report (16):
"Later the bow visor was detached from the ship and fell forward over the stem. The ramp was pulled open ... and was fully open ... the ship ... listed ... . As the angle of heel increased the passengers started to ... (evacuate, i.e. several minutes after 01.15 hrs)."
There is of course not one witness that the visor got detached or the ramp was pulled open after 01.15 hrs - it is the ultimate lie to get the ship to list in the false sequence of events.
Who wrote the Part Report? It was hardly the Commission as a group. It was probably Forssberg and Stenström alone, and first they censured all the statements of Schager above, and second they convinced the others in the Commission that they very well could write the Final Report based on the false Part Report.
According Schager there was no lifeboat alarm at 01.22 hrs, which the Final Report makes a big issue of 1.33. The Part Report (16) does not mention any lifeboat alarm.
The Estonian delegation in the Commission wrote their own sequences of events Appendix 8 but they are only based on crew testimonies.
There were 137 survivors, 94 passengers and 43 crew. About 127 knew where they were when the sudden listing occurred:
Thus a majority, 65%, was in a cabin, mostly ready to go asleep. 33% was in public rooms. At least another 100 persons managed to get out and drowned. The three crew on deck 1 never rushed into the passenger accommodation a few meters forward to raise an alarm. Instead they tried to save the ship before escaping 1.48 - not via the passenger escape - the public stairwells. About 35% was in the vicinity of the embarkation deck 7.
Treu's falsified Testimony
One survivor (AE) has particularly studied Treu's testimonies, as Treu's times do not tally with AE's observations aboard. AE was in his cabin on deck 4, when he heard two bangs and went out in the corridor to investigate. The time was around 01.00 hrs. Soon after the ship listed. AE has informed, i.a. the following:-
"Furthermore I have established that the two copies of testimonies we have show that there are two versions of the testimony/interview of Treu on 28 September (made by T Laan), where the date has been changed to 29 (September) in the Swedish translation. The interesting thing is that in the earlier version Treu has said that he heard (the two) bangs at 01.00 hrs! In the later version he has changed the time to 01.10-01.15 hrs and this he has also told the Finnish police at the same day on 29 September! Furthermore, Kadak says, also in an interview on 28 September by T Laan, that Treu made a round trip sometime between 00.00 hrs and 00.46 hrs, when Kadak saw that water leaked in at the right side/edge of the ramp. He then says that when Treu came back, then he (Kadak) went to the workshop to work. At that time the ship listed suddenly to starboard and True said that 'the situation is serious ...'. Was Treu actually in the engine room, when the bangs occurred and when the sudden listing developed soon after? 4.4. It is also interesting to note that when B. Schager refers to the testimony of Kadak at the interviews at Landvetter 31 March 1995 (just before the Part Report (16) was issued) and points out these different translations, a quarrel develops between him, Kari Lehtola and Enn Neidre, as Kari Lehtola does not know who the interviewer T Laan is. He declares that it should have been a Swedish police. Lehtola has as you know already 17 October 1994 in a preliminary statement from the Commission said that one testimony says that water came in at the edge of the ramp at 01.15 hrs 1.12-1. At that time all testimonies were neither reviewed, nor translated!"
The observations of AE indicates clearly that Lehtola, in order to hide the false statement of 17 October, later in the Final Report was forced to censure all testimonies to the effect that the list occurred at 01.02 hrs just after two big bangs. Treu was probably out in the engine room - together with Sillaste? - even if Sillaste does not say so - when the list occurred at 01.02 hrs. What were they doing there? What AE experienced is given in 2.12.
It is worth noting that Treu heard the two bangs in his testimony of 28 September 1994. Treu could hardly have been inside the sound insulated ECR, with the noisy engine rooms below and aft, at that time.
We know that Treu lied 1.48 about the evacuation from the ECR - it would be interesting to know where Treu heard the bangs. The TV-company CNN sent reportage soon after the accident with an interview of a crewmember (Treu or Sillaste?) stating that he was standing to his knees in water (in the engine room or aft of the ramp?) just before the sudden list. What happened to that information?
Based on above it should be clear that the two bangs were before, say 01.00 hrs and that the list plus rolls occurred at 01.02-01.05 hrs. How the list then developed is important to establish the sinking. The ship remained with 15 degrees list and rolling several minutes after 01.05 hrs, so that persons could get out.
At 01.30 hrs the ships port side was even, i.e. the list was 90 degrees. Testimonies say that the list had developed jerkily. It may have been caused by gradual filling of hull compartments through open watertight doors after the first list.
Evidently the ship could not have sunk at 01.52 hrs, if it were on the side at 01.30 hrs. This writer believes that the stern hit bottom already at 01.32-01.33 hrs and that the bow was under water at 01.36 hrs. The clock on the bridge stopped at 01.35 hrs.
The Commission suggests in the Final report that the ship floated and drifted another 20 minutes. It cannot be possible - a many survivors that were on the ship's upper port side when it was horizontal have stated they were in the life rafts/water before 01.30 hrs.
The above is thus mainly a summary of what 'expert' Bengt Schager of the Commission has compiled from the survivors about the sequence of events. More information about the 'bangs' prior to the sudden listing is today available in (33) in Swedish, the book 'Tysta leken' by Knut Carlqvist and describes even more information supporting the allegations of this writer. Carlqvist believes the 'bangs' were caused by a collision with something. It is possible. It is also crystal clear that the Commission never investigated the possibility. The reason why the Commission never investigated that possibility is evidently that it already on 4 October 1994 had stated another cause of the accident - the visor - as described in Part 1.
95 Note the statement of Schager that the visor was still attached to the ship after the sudden listing! But how could survivors know it?