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"Håkan Bergmark, 41, from Stockholm was one of the first who dived down to the "Estonia". He says that he saw and filmed a big hole in the side of the ship. He did not consider it much at the time. 'It wasn't my task to find the cause of accident. But when the Final Report of the Commission was issued many years later I was very surprised', says Bergmark, who today would like to forget all about the "Estonia". Two of the four other divers, who were down together with Bergmark, do not want to comment on the "Estonia" at all."

Fredrik Engström, Swedish daily Expressen 22 August 2000 

 "When I 1998 started to dig into the sinking I was told by relatives to victims, that the Commission member Olof Forssberg (former director general of the Board of Accident Investigation) had admitted that there was a hole in the ships starboard side. Somebody put the question at a meeting with relatives autumn 1994. Yes, said Forssberg immediately."

Knut Carlqvist - Swedish daily Finanstidningen 12 January 2000 

 "Der finnische Leiter der offiziellen Untersuchungskommission, Kari Lehtola, sagte, die Kommission habe kein Loch in der Fähre entdeckt. Selbst wenn es ein solches Loch gebe, hätte dies nicht zu der Katastrophe führen können." (Or in English - "The Finnish leader of the official accident investigation, Kari Lehtola, said that the commission has not discovered any damage hole in the ferry. And even if such a damage existed, it could not have caused the disaster").

Der Spiegel, 2 September 2000 

Press Voices

A very good review of the media reporting is found at Kenneth Rasmusson's home page.

The culture editor, Knut Carlqvist, of the Swedish daily FinansTidningen has the past years opened his pages for a constructive debate about the 'Estonia' investigation and on the day five years after the accident 990928 he wrote the following:

How the 'Estonia' became political
At four o'clock in the morning captain Esa Mäkelä on the 'Silja Europa' sailed towards the accident site. Everywhere life rafts were seen, some empty, some with weak or life less persons, often water filled. The ferry was doing only a few knots and at one questioning he explains why:

"I was all the time afraid that she floated, bottom up. I was very afraid to ram her. I wasn't sure that she had sunk, I thought only she had capsized. It was not until the morning, when I didn't see anything that I was certain."

How could the 'Estonia' sink in half an hour? Already the 'Titanic' had watertight bulkheads and the safety at sea has improved since then. Nevertheless Anders Hellberg of the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter on 29 September 1994 reported that water on the car deck was the probable cause of accident. The article was written already on the evening of the accident and at this early time had "several experts" their opinions ready. The bow visor was of an old type and it had fallen off in the heavy weather. The sources of Hellberg were probably from the Swedish National Maritime Administration, NMA. The evening papers repeated the suggestion and a guess - even if based on earlier incidents - became an established fact.

Prime minister Carl Bildt flew on the day of accident to Turku to discuss with his Finnish and Estonian colleagues. No effort should be spared to investigate the cause, it was stated. An investigation commission was formed with the Estonian transport minister Andi Meister as chairman, which already on the same day sat down to question three key witnesses of the crew. But the questioning had hardly started when Meister announced that a charter plane was waiting and that they should fly back to home to Tallinn. The story was published in the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet on 2 October. The decision was "to say the least strange" according to the Swedish investigators and the sources of the paper - certainly members of the commission - thought that Meister was incompetent. But after that loss of temper the lid was put on, probably by order from the top.

The kidnapping of the key witnesses must be connected with another incidence. Two days after the accident the Estonian secret police made a raid at the Estline office at Tallinn and collected all documents concerning the 'Estonia' (SvD 4.10). To secure evidence or to destroy them? It remains to find out.

On 30 September the wreck was found at 70 meters depth by echo sounder and the sonar pictures were sent for analysis. The Estonian director of the shipping company Estline refutes in the Finnish daily Hufvudstadsbladet the theory of an open bow visor and ramp. A ship of 12 000 tons does not sink so fast, even if trucks on the car deck get lose, the engines stop and water leaks through the bow visor. "It is only child's talk." He believes the 'Estonia' had hit a mine.

But from the rafts survivors had seen that the visor was missing, when the ship sank. Therefore the matter was settled. The probability to hit a mine at the same time when the visor fell off is probably zero (no mine could have ripped off the visor high above the waterline). In some mysterious way the water must have flowed down below the car deck, in spite of it being watertight and in spite of it being 17000 cubic meters air as buoyancy below it. Otherwise she should have capsized and floated upside down.

Sunday 2 October doctor Nuorteva announced the result of the echo sounding:

"At the bow is a large object that either has been ripped off or hangs from the wreck. The object could according Nuorteva be the damaged visor or a part of the visor" (DN 3.10).

The SvD adds that the object was of the same size as the visor and that it was seen on all four pictures. At the same time the ship was filmed by an ROV and two days later the first pictures of the wreck were available.

Some journalist should have asked what was at the bow, but all attention was given to the wreck itself. We are told that the bow ramp had a one meter opening at the top, i.e. it was almost closed. Hellberg writes:

"It has been enough to enable so much water to enter the cardeck so that the ship became unstable, listed to starboard and capsized."

From the video films of 2 October it is clear that the ROV-camera made a seven minutes trip to what is assumed to have been the visor, but the sequence has been edited away from the publicly available copy.4 Not a word about the matter in the Final report.

The reason is of course that the visor could not be situated at the bow if the scenario should fit. If it had fallen off under way, it should be found at a distance from the wreck. Internally the members discuss at this time the damages on the starboard hull side - also below the waterline.

"There are pictures of these damages that we have got from the new films taken by the underwater camera",

says the observer Sten Anderson to Anders Hellberg (DN 18.10). Did the visor cause them? In such case it must have been hanging on the protruding ramp, when the ship was still listing. In such case the bow ramp could not have been ripped open and then water on the car deck could not have caused the accident.

A good guess is that the patrol ship the 'Tursas' was sent geese hunting east of the wreck a few weeks while the parties discussed what to agree. Then they decided to "find" the visor a nautical mile west of the wreck.5 The pictures that Sten Anderson talks about have been edited away from the copy of the video film and the damages are not mentioned in the Final report.

But the 'Tursas' found other things along the course of the 'Estonia'.

"We have found scrap but it is probably from other parts of the ship",

says Kari Lehtola to SvD (9.10). Two days later he explains that the 'Tursas' has found a large metal object, unfortunately not the visor, but

"only a steel plate".

All these objects were found east of the site of the wreck.6 The visor is then "found" west of the wreck. What was the origin of the scrap? And the steel plate? The 'Estonia' was allegedly in good condition, when the visor fell off. Not a line about scrap and steel plates in the Final report.

Nobody knew what had happened the first days, the involved parties were quite open. They include also surviving crewmembers telling Estonian secret police one thing and journalists another. The watchman Silver Linde is an example: in questioning on 3 October he states that the mate told him before the accident to check the 'big bang' on the car deck. To Bo G Andersson he had said two days earlier at Turku:

"Somebody, we do not know whom, it may have been a passenger, alarmed about something happening down in the ship."

Linde when down and met several passengers in the stairwell 'who screamed that water had entered the interior of the cabins below the car deck" (DN 2.10). That version was later repeated in front of Mert Kubu of the DN at Tallinn. An alarm came to the bridge about water below the car deck.

"They awoke when water started to enter the cabins" (DN 7.10).

This is what several survivors from deck 1 testify and not that water flowed down in the stairwells from above. The ship was not yet listing, when they awoke. So what was the origin of the water?

Bosse Brink reports in SvD (7.10) about the "strong political influences" of the investigation in Estonia. But if there were political influences in Estonia, there are also political influences here. The Swedes had to chose to play with or to confront the Estonians. They chose not to confront them.

The German experts think that they can prove damages caused by explosives at the bow of the 'Estonia'. That the group is bluffing is improbable, considering upcoming legal processes. The suggestion can be combined with the theory that the ship was subject to sabotage.

There is damage at the bow on the starboard side, big enough to allow the ROV-camera to easily swim into the car deck in December 1994. A hanging visor or an explosive device may have ripped open the shell plate, but on the inside there are 12 inch frames spaced 60 cms apart. The frames must have been cut away by divers. It is not mentioned in the papers. The Commission on the contrary denies that divers were inside on the car deck, even if anybody can see with own eyes on the video copies that divers are on the car deck

We know and they know that we know. Apparently very strong interests are at stake.

The accident investigation was incomplete due to political reason. The responsible parties do not want to produce the Truth. Editor Knut Carlqvist does not approve the Final report. His method is to investigate and analyse and compare all early statements in the media with what was later produced by the Estonia commission. Carlqvist fights on Appendix 5.

Also the Swedish daily Göteborgsposten, GP, disapproved the Final report on the day five years after the accident. 990928 wrote Anders Kilner, co-writer of editorials of the GP, the following article:

Not the last Word of the 'Estonia'

… Today is five years since the 'Estonia' sank during a voyage from Tallinn to Stockholm with almost one thousand persons onboard. When the ship sank on 28 September 1994 852 human beings died. 137 were save. It was the largest disaster in the Nordic countries since the war. How did it happen?

Many are convinced that the Swedish-Finnish-Estonian accident commission has not clarified the real causes The Commission has even been criticised for not wanting to produce complete clarity. In addition many parties has presented suspicions that the truth has been hidden, which is an enormously serious accusation.

In February this year the government produced its final statement not to modify the agreement of graveyard peace signed by Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Denmark. The bodies shall not be salvaged. A week ago the government announced its decision that a new accident investigation shall not be appointed. Now the time to prosecute any crime has expired.7 The Majority of survivors are unhappy with the conclusions of the commission about the causes of the accident. They have good reasons for that. ...

The picture of causes that has emerged at the side of the Final report is that a rather old and badly maintained ship, which in addition was incorrectly loaded, was driven too hard, that some of the officers lacked qualifications and that the lifesaving equipment and the safety procedures were absolutely deficient. It was a disastrous combination: on the one hand many irresponsible parties, on the other hand no possibility to pinpoint a responsible party for the accident ... Safety cannot ever be complete, but it can be improved.

Therefore it is important that the criticised report of the Commission about the 'Estonia' does not become the last word. There are too many question marks. Why not permit an international commission, independent of the directly concerned parties and governments and interests take over? It is not to late for such a decision. Not even five years after the disaster.

Yes, why not? The request is still valid today almost seven years after the accident. A new independent commission has a lot of proven facts to review. And a crime like murder can, and should be, investigated for 25 years.

In the GP 000115 Anders Kilner proposes that the readers Go home and study history! Then he writes:

"… A historic description in a day-for-day perspective does not become less interesting, when you know what happened ... When much of modern history does not cover more than personal memory, there is always a risk that our judgement of cause and effect is failing. … The falsification of history and the manipulation of facts ... is a dangerous combination ... there is a flow of denials and excuses of what was historically necessary. They are lies.

The democratic system of government, which has made the foundation of our fast welfare development and which is base for peace must be defended with knowledge against the forces, which want otherwise."

This writer has grave doubt about the democratic system of government in Sweden. The rule of law seems to be abandoned. The rule of law has been replaced by the opposite - un-law (orätt (Swedish), Unrecht (German)). The government and its spokesperson, the SPF 1.49, ignore international resolutions and laws how to investigate marine accidents and produce rubbish reports and stupid statements.

They lie straight into the face of relatives, survivors and the public with false empathy. "Yes, we feel sorry with you and the terrible accident. Yes, it is terrible that a visor can cause these things. No, this Bjorkman from Egypt is unintelligent, unscientific and unreasonable, he doesn't know anything". The public feel that they are manipulated but cannot formulate their doubts. The question is too complicated - it is easy to lie about individual facts and the public are blinded by these lies.

The writer has a unique position to cover the drama. He is an outsider with perfect knowledge of the Swedish language and ferry operations. This book is a contribution to revealing all the official lies about the 'Estonia' and to find out what really happened. Cross-references are included for easy navigation between the chapters. Part 1 is a day-to-day repetition of the investigation and how the Commission manipulated all relevant information to the public. Part 2 is information what actually could have happened. Part 3 is a technical review - correct information compared with the manipulations of the Commission. Part 4 shows that the end of the story is nowhere in sight.

The writer hopes (but has his doubts) that the Press and the Media will use this book, when they make their voices heard then. They have been fed incorrect information too long now in order to support the lies of the Commission.


4 See further 1.4 that 16 hours of film was made. The visor probably hanged from the starboard side.

5 The visor was officially not found until 18 October 1994 1.14.

6 At Glasgow on 27 October 1999 Karppinen stated that the 'fragments' were west of the wreck 1.14, 2.26 and 4.4 about different statements of the positions of the fragments. The fragments were first found on 5 October 1994.

7 Year 2000 the investigation of the sinking of the 'Marchioness' 1989 in England was re-opened by the vice prime minister John Prescott. At that accident 51 persons drowned after a collision with a tug, the master of which probably was drunk. Prescott thinks that the responsible persons should go to jail.

Vendela's page Part 1 Index