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Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.

'There is no reason for the (Swedish) NMA to particularly comment upon the various dates and positions of the wreck and visor, when they were found, as stated by Björkman. It is a question of no importance for preventive safety at sea work'

Safety at sea director Johan Franson to the Ministry of Economics (and Transport), 15 December 2000  

1.14 False Search for the Visor. Finnish Ships report false Position of the Wreck. Explosive Damages filmed and censored!

After the wreck (but officially not the visor) had been found on 30 September 1.3 and filmed on 1 and 2 October 1.4, the Finnish coast guard vessel 'Tursas' reportedly searched for the missing visor. The Commission thus suggested that the visor had not been found at the wreck - the 'Tursas' had to search for it. The Estonian Foreign office later sent out press release that the search of the visor continued.

The 'Tursas' reportedly searched as follows:- Between the 1 and 6 October the 'Tursas' searched an area about one mile South of the 'wreck' extending two miles East and one mile West, i.e. a three square miles area (South of the 'wreck'). The information must be taken with great reserve - it is not known, if the search was done relative the false or the true wreck position - or was done at all.

This writer believes that the Commission knew already 30 September - 2 October that the visor was at the wreck and that Swedish and Finnish divers were working to remove the visor, so it is interesting to study the 'information' about the alleged search for the visor and the 'fragments'.

The 'fragments' seem to be pure disinformation to reinforce the myth about the lost visor.

'Fragments' found on 5 October

It was reported that various 'fragments' were found on 5 October by the 'Tursas', which allegedly proved the port turn of the 'Estonia' 2 500 meters West of the wreck and 1 000 meters West of the visor 1.9 after the alleged loss of the visor. However the position of the visor was not officially known on 5 October, so this statement by the Commission in the Final report (5) is an invention. Evidently the 'Tursas' never searched the bottom 1 000 meters West of the visor, later found 1 560 meters West of the wreck, where the turn took place for 'fragments'. On 8-10 October the search continued, but the 'Tursas' was then in the vicinity of the wreck anchored there at various positions - they filmed objects on the sea floor including the wreck (and the visor!) for the second time with an ROV.

The 'fragments' were reported in a number of newspapers e.g. the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, SvD.

The SvD on 8 October:

"According to a Finnish member of the Commission the 'Tursas' (a Finnish coast guard vessel) found a big object close to the route, which the 'Estonia' used to follow ... Toumo Karppinen: ... it must be in the vicinity of the 'Estonia'.42"

01.14 - 01.20 hrs (180° turn west of the visor position)

Note the expression 'a big object close to the route which the 'Estonia' used to follow' - you get the impression that the Commission knew the route on 7 October. What could the big object be?

The SvD on 9 October:

"...When searching with echo sounder in the area, objects (sic) have been found on the sea floor along the route of the 'Estonia'. According to Olof Forssberg, chairman of the Swedish group of the Commission, it is probably among other objects (sic) the visor that has been found. Kari Lehtola: We have found scrap but it is probably from other parts of the ship. These parts tell what course the 'Estonia' maintained.43"

Note the expressions 'among other objects' and 'along the route of the 'Estonia' and 'these parts tell what course the 'Estonia' maintained' - you get the impression that the Commission had access to a plot of the course of the 'Estonia' and/or that several 'objects/parts' had made a long trace of the 'Estonia' on the bottom. What all these objects/parts consisted of and why they suddenly would have fallen off have never been explained.

Only the visor was later alleged to have fallen off - position of which at that time was unknown. What were the other 'objects/parts' and had they fallen off before or after the visor fell off, 1 560 meters West of the location, where the wreck had been found? SvD on 10 October:

"Kari Lehtola dismisses the opinion of his Swedish colleague Olof Forssberg that the visor has already been found during the search with echo sounder until now; Kari Lehtola: Metal parts (sic) have been found but they are not big enough to be the visor."

Note the expression 'Metal parts have been found', - smaller than the visor - but these are not described in the Final Report (5). What were these metal parts?

The metal parts are supposed to confirm the course and the port turn 2 400 meters West of the wreck position. What kind of metal parts was it? And how and why had they fallen off? And how, when and where were they found and identified. Swedish news agency TT on 11 October:

"Kari Lehtola: No bow visor has been found, but a fairly large steel object. Records of the Commission show that the metal part, apart from the scrap, was 5-7 x 10 meters and had the shape which coincided with the visor. Later examination, when the part had been filmed, shows that it is "only a steel plate".".

Note that 'a fairly large steel object' was found, 5-7 x 10 meters with the shape that coincided with the visor and that it was filmed - probably on 9-10 October! The object is not described in the Final Report.

There is no film/picture available of the steel object and it is not described in any video log! If it were not the visor, it could have been shell plating, which had been ripped off - causing leakage.

In Dagens Nyheter on 11 March 2001 (i.e. six years later) Lehtola informed that the 'steel plate' was a sun roof (awning) of corrugated thin plate (which had been filmed at the sea floor in 1994, even if the 'Estonia' didn't have any 'sun roofs' - of plastic). But why would a sun roof fall off before the ship allegedly sank? And the scrap? What was the scrap, that was found - and where? We have never been told. In retrospect all talk of 'fragments', 'scrap', 'steel plates', etc. was just disinformation to hide the fact that the visor had already been found and filmed at the wreck. Evidently the Commission could not announce a position of the alleged steel plate - as it had already announced a false wreck position.

An Exchange of Faxes

The German group of experts 3.13 found a fax-exchange between the Finnish Board of Accident Investigations (PCIMA) to the Swedish Board of Accident Investigations (SHK) about the above as follows (reported in their final report chapter 24 - you wonder if the 'fax-exchange' is real - or later falsifications) - thus:

Fax sent on 09.10.94 from PCIMA (Finnish Accident Board) to SHK (Swedish Accident Board):

»Message: Good morning! Due to bad weather the search for the visor was discontinued during the whole day, but now Nuorteva has further analysed the (sonar) pictures (taken 30 September). At the location on the sea bottom, where "Estonia" on basis of the object did capsize (sic - that position - about 2 500 meters West of the wreck - was not known 9 October 1994, only the position where she sank), there is a 10 m long and 5-7 m broad object on the bottom. It is probably of metal. The form fits well with the visor. Depth is 70 m, the bottom is hard.

Karppinen, Aarnio and the ROV I team go onboard of "Tursas" at Nagu at 11.00 (Finnish time) and the work starts at ca. 13.00 hrs. They shall video film at first the "large object". Attached please find a sonar picture including an enlargement of it.«

Note the 'location on the sea bottom where "Estonia" on basis of the object did capsize' and that this capsize position has never been given (only the sunk position). Why did Lehtola send this strange fax?

The Germans notes (confusingly):

"Again the Finns indicate that the visor is lying next to the vessel and that the 'Estonia', on basis (or because of) the object (the visor), did capsize. The attached sonar picture turned out to be part of a sonar recording with printouts at the right side indicating latitude and longitude and possibly course and speed every 30 seconds commencing at 22.47.01 and ending 22.49.31. The big object is visible on the recording between 24.47.31 and 22.49.01 (sic - for 90 seconds). Latitude (y) and longitude (x) are stated by code groups of 6 or 7 digits which were found to be based on the Finnish geodetic system. The Federal Maritime and Hydrographical Agency of Germany were able to decode the groups indicating latitude / longitude although some uncertainty remains, because the quality of the recordings is very poor and one or two digits might be missing. Under consideration of these uncertainties the positions indicated on the sonar recording are approximately 450-500 m to the NW of the actual wreck position. Attempts to get a clear copy of the recordings are in progress."

However, the Germans could never ascertain the real position of the big object, but there is no doubt that it was in the vicinity of the wreck - maybe exactly at the wreck of which a false position had been announced.

Actually, the 'object' was supposed to be, where the 'Estonia' capsized - but the 'Estonia' never capsized anywhere - allegedly she only turned 2 400 meters West of the wreck position, slowed down and drifted almost two miles before sinking (but in reality she never drifted very long - a sinking ship is quite heavy and does not move). The 'object' should of course have been where the visor fell off - but that position 1 560 meter West of the wreck had not been searched on 9 October (and officially the visor was still not found).

The large Object is filmed

The next fax the Germans found was from PCIMA (Finnish Accident Board) to SHK dated 10.10.94 - the large object had been filmed by ROV. The text is very strange - not very scientific:

»Message: Good morning! The large object turned out to be a steel plate. The search for the visor has again been discontinued due to strong wind. Nuorteva is of the opinion that it is not useful to continue the search without having drawn up a probable plan. It does not make sense to drive around at sea into the blue. It takes a few days to make up the plan. This is the reason to consider whether the Swedish vessels should come along. What do you think about it?«

On the 8-9th October the 'Tursas' and Mr. Karppinen had filmed the wreck and the steel plate but no film of this plate exists anywhere. And then Mr. Karppinen returned ashore. The Germans noted:

"Now the probable visor next to the ship is a steel plate of 7 x 10 m, which still has to be adjacent to the wreck. But it is never mentioned again."

Even more surprising is that the position of the large object was never mentioned. And - of course - the alleged film of the 'object' does not exist! The above 'fax exchange' found by the Germans in the SHK archive smells disinformation. Do serious accident investigators write such stupid faxes?

Visor filmed 9 October

Mr Tuomo Karppinen was aboard the 'Tursas' on 9 October, when the 'Estonia' wreck was filmed for the second time. Börje Stenström sent a fax (act I 15) on Monday 10 October to Karppinen, and this fax was recorded in the SHK diary (act I 15) to be about' filming of visor and ramp'.

However, the fax itself is mostly about 'why the ramp was not tight'! Why the secretary, Gunnel Göransson, of Stenström/SHK wrote in the diary that the fax was about 'visor and ramp' is not clear unless it of course was about filming the visor. There was an 'attached plan' to the fax - did it show the visor?

Börje Stenström wanted in the fax that Karppinen (who Stenström thought was still on the 'Tursas') filmed the wreck with the ROV 'according to the attached plan'. The attachment of Stenström's fax is available. It is in English (the fax is in Swedish) and it says:

"These additional pictures are primarily needed for further investigation of damages to the bow visor and ramp and for evaluation of likely sequences of events".

Stenström clearly talks about pictures to investigate damages to the visor. There are references to an attached sketch in the fax attachment (the attached plan?), where different objects are marked with capital letters, but no bow visor is shown, only the ramp - the sketch is a copy of figure 8.1 of the Final Report (5) without any damages marked and is further discussed below.

It seems probable that both the visor and the ramp were indicated on the original 'attached plan' and that Karppinen was told to film the bow of the ship without showing the visor! The sketch of the bow without the visor has later replaced the 'attached plan' with the visor.

Karppinen replied in good Swedish the same day - 10 October - per fax (act I 16) - he was still on the 'Tursas', but the filming has already been completed. Karppinen thanks Börje Stenström for the picture (the plan?) of 'the visor and the ramp'.

Then Karppinen writes that they had changed plans and were out at sea already on Sunday (9 October) - they thought they had found the visor with the sonar.

It was of course easier to search with sonar (echo sounder) from the surface than using a slow ROV down on the bottom at 83 - 64 meters depth, which can only see a few meters.

Therefore Karppinen says in the fax that they could not find the visor with the ROV but that they had probably found the visor with sonar at the wreck, because in the next sentence of the fax Karppinen says that, when they had found the visor with the sonar,

'we filmed again the visor and the ramp with the ROV'.

There is no doubt that Karppinen on the 'Tursas' filmed the visor, which thus had been found (again?) the 9 October!

Then Karppinen writes in perfect Swedish in the fax -

'A summary of our observations is attached'.

A falsified Attachment

The attachment - as found in the archive in December 2000 - is however only a copy of the sketch of Stenström's alleged attachment (to the fax - act I15), which does not show a visor, with various comments in English - it is the damages in figure 8.1 in the Final Report (5). There is no visor on the sketch. All of the observations are repetitions of observations made on 2 October by the 'Halli' and already reported to the media by the Commission 1.12. But. the big damage opening in the steel structure - probably due to explosives seen in figure 1.14.1 right is not mentioned. It is just above letter A on the starboard side - filmed at 22.45 hrs - in the sketch (act I16) below - figure 1.14.2 . The sketch in act I16 is probably a falsification. It has apparently replaced the original plan how to film the visor and the bow.

There was no reason whatsoever for Karppinen on 10 October to report to Stenström exactly the same damages, which had already been filmed and recorded on 2 October and announced to the media on 4 October.

Figure 1.14.1 - The damage that the Commission censored

And it is 100% certain that the Commission filmed the explosive damage opening - it could not have missed it - and immediately decided never to mention it. Later the films were edited to this effect - the sequence with the damage was cut out!

The sketch attached to fax I16 on 10 October 1994 is shown below (fig 1.14.2):

Figure 1.14.2 - Attachment to fax I16

When you study acts I15 and I16 you get the impression that the attachments do not belong together with the faxes!

Note for example on the above 'picture' of Karppinen what is written about the three lugs of the Atlantic (bottom) lock on the forepeak deck, which had already been filmed on 2 October:

'all three broken due to local overload'

- why repeat this statement one week later? And it is not even true - what you can see on the film is three rusty, broken lugs - probably damaged previously due to a collision sideways. And is the handwriting Karppinen's?

Visor Arm broken 9 October

There is actually one reference to the visor on the sketch - it says (item F) that the starboard 'visor arm broken'. Evidently we cannot see any broken visor arm on the sketch, but how and why could Karppinen write on the sketch that the starboard visor arm was broken? The visor was officially not found until nine days later. And the visor arm was not broken - it was the hinge lugs that were broken - bent off!

No damages were recorded to the fore peak deck. According to the Commission the visor had hit down several times on the forepeak deck - but it is totally undamaged.

The big hole - figure 1.14.1 - that private divers discovered, measured, recorded and filmed in August 2000 3.10 probably caused by explosives in an attempt to remove the visor under water - is not mentioned at all on the 'picture' attached to fax I16. It was probably one of the items that should not be filmed!

Furthermore, Karppinen writes in the fax that he will bring with him the video films (made Sunday 9 October), when they - Stenström and Karppinen - meet Monday (Tuesday?) night 11 (sic) October at Nådendal (Nantali).

The four Video Films

There were four un-edited video films, which were filed in act B2 94-10-14 at SHK. The SHK diary, written by Ms Gunnel Göransson, says 14 October that act B2 contains

' 4 off video film (ramp, visor (sic) i.a.) taken 94-10-08--09',

i.e. the films of the visor taken 9 and 10 October (by Karppinen on the 'Tursas') were in the Swedish Accident Investigation Board (SHK) archive on 14 October 1994!

The Video Films of the Visor disappear

When Swedish TV4 news reporter Joachim Dyfvermark on 23 February 2000 tried to obtain copies of these four video films of the visor, the SHK director general Ann-Louise Eksborg stated in a letter of 1 March 2000 (ref. A 04/99) that act B2 only consisted of three (sic) VHS-bands of which two were un-edited recordings and that one film was a summary. The films of the visor (and the steel plate?) and the exploded hole/damage had disappeared or been edited! These were not the only edited video films. The German group of experts have concluded that all video films are edited Appendix 5.

Stenström got the fax from Karppinen on 10 October. Karppinen and Stenström then inspected the 'Estonia' sister vessel 'Diana II', when they were at Nådendal/Nantali on 11 October. But they must also have watched the video films of the visor (act B2).

Stenström and Karppinen knew for sure that the visor was at the wreck. Stenström and Karppinen never edited any video films. It is crystal clear that it was Stenström that handed in the four films - unedited - to the SHK when he returned on 12-13 October 1994. One film showed a big 'object' - the visor that became the steel plate. But five years later there were only two films and one summary. Who made the summary? So why and how did the 'object' - the steel plate disappear? And why are all films of the area with the big exploded hole censored?

The Visor disappears 12 October - Mine Hunting

About the same time, on the 12 October (act I22) the Commission announced 'continued search for the visor'.

The Finns sent a Fax to the Swedes as follows (from the German final report) - fax from PCIMA to SHK dated 12.10.94:

»Message: Heimo Iivonen has now investigated the possibilities of continuing the search for the visor. We are ready to commence the search on Monday, 17.10. We will receive assistance from (Finnish) Navy forces. Dr. Nuorteva is employed by them. If it suits you, we are requesting that Sweden sends an expert in mine hunting (sic) by Friday, 14.10. He could come along with the Finnish reconnaissance vessel and simultaneously he could prepare himself for the situation, in case assistance from Swedish vessels should be required. Assistance might become actual at the beginning of week 43, i.e. as from 24.10.94.
If our proposal suits you, we kindly ask you to inform us of the name of the expert and contact details.«

So no search was actually done between 12 and 17 October and it should be clear that the Finns now planned to find the 'visor' which they had already located two weeks earlier.

The 'Tursas' was in port until 17 October. AND - suddenly on 18 October 1994 (act I 28) the Commission reported that the visor had been found - 'a mile West of the position of wreck' and filmed! But no latitude/longitude of the visor position was given.

Act I 28 is strange description of the find - the Finnish navy - the 'Tursas' left port on 17 October with Swedish navy officers (mine hunting experts?) aboard, anchored somewhere on the18 October - no position is given - sent down the ROV and - hast du mir gesehen - there was the visor - which was filmed (again?) without search with sonar. Then the 'Tursas' went back to port - what further 'assistance from Swedish vessels' was required is not clear. No position lat/long could evidently be given - it would prove the official wreck position was false.

The visor was thus officially found on the 18 October 1994 by the Finnish coast guard vessel 'Tursas' about a mile West (!) of the wreck (which was reported in Lloyd's List the 20 October 1994), i.e. the Commission said the wreck was located one mile East of the visor.

How to report a Visor Position relative a false Wreck Position?

It must be recalled that at this time the false position of the wreck was still valid. This is probably the reason why the real position of the visor was not reported - no latitude/longitude.

It was much later - 9 December 1994 - when the Swedish Navy (sic) reported to the Commission the position of the visor or - actually - the position of a red buoy allegedly positioned above the visor (which was then already salvaged).

The visor position was about N59°22',97, E21°39',33 ± 100 meters and this is the position of the visor given in the Final Report (5). It was on about 70 meters depth. How (or if) it ended up, there nobody has explained 1.9. The German group of Expert 3.13 has later suggested (as shown above) that the visor was in fact found at or in the vicinity the wreck itself. It could very well have been that the visor, the 'big object', the steel plate, was actually filmed at the wreck - or attached to the wreck - on the 9 October - the damaged visor arm - see above. Why not? The 'big object' has disappeared from all available video films taken 9-10 October.

It is certain that a blue buoy was anchored at the false wreck position, while the red buoy was initially anchored at the wreck! The 'Tursas' thus went to the red buoy (the wreck) and filmed the visor below the bow of the wreck. The red buoy was later moved.

The blue and the red Buoys

The below figure 1.14.3 shows a 'sonar picture' of the wreck and its surroundings reportedly made the summer 1996 by the Swedish NMA or its subcontractors. However - we do not know when the barimetric depth curves were recorded. Something looking like the visor is seen at the bow (Note that South is up on the picture)

Fig 1.14.3 - A picture of the 'Estonia' on the sea floor - unknown date

To clarify the various alleged - false - positions of wreck and visor as reported by the Commission they are repeated here.

30 September - the Finnish Vessel the 'Suunta' found the wreck and probably the visor of the 'Estonia' at 15.30 hrs GMT on 30 September by help of sonar. Four sonar pictures were taken. A big object - probably the visor - was seen on all four pictures adjacent to the wreck. No position was announced.

2 October - the wreck (and the visor, probably hanging on the starboard side) were then filmed for the first time on 2 October by the Finnish vessel 'Halli' with an ROV. The position of the wreck was then reported at N59°23'54.60" (N59°23.9'), E21°42'10.20" (E21°42.2')41 by Kari Lehtola. This position was intentionally false (the correct position was announced more than 10 weeks later). A blue buoy was definitely anchored at that false wreck position because on the 2 December the dive ship 'Semi I' went to the blue buoy and tried to dive but found no wreck. It is probable that the real wreck position was marked with a red buoy, but it was not at the wreck on 2 December, when the 'Semi I' finally found the wreck.

When the Swedish NMA 941110 requested offers for a dive examination 1.16 they used the false position of the blue buoy of the wreck and the dive barge 'Semi 1' went to that location and found no wreck. When the NMA was asked by the Ministry to comment upon the findings in this chapter (of the Swedish version), the NMA replied in letter of 5 December 2000 (reference 0799-0036172):

'There is no reason for the (Swedish) NMA to particularly comment upon the various dates and positions of the wreck and visor, when they were found as stated by Björkman. It is a question of no importance for preventive safety at sea work.

The NMA would like to remind about what it said in its report December 1994 about the wreck position .... The erroneous position from Finnish authorities, which only meant that the NMA dive examination ... was delayed a few hours should definitely not be noticed in a serious treatment of the Estonia disaster. ".

The first wreck position of the Finnish authorities were later amended - probably after the Swedish NMA mishap - by the Commission to an 'as found' position at N59°22'56.13", E21°41'00.98" and it is this position which is given in the Final Report (5). It is probably also correct.

It is 2 112 meters between the two wreck positions - the false position is Northeast of the real one. The visor was allegedly about 3 150 meters from the false wreck position and 1 570 meters from the 'as found' wreck position. When Huss 1.9 started his work to reconstruct the accident in November, he was probably not given any positions at all.

8-9 October - the wreck (and the visor - now probably on the bottom below the bow - it had been removed by explosives which caused damage to the ship - see figure 1.14.1 ) was again filmed on 8-9 October by the Finnish vessel 'Tursas'. The purpose of this filming was to film the parts of the wreck that were previously hidden by the visor on 2 October

Three Finnish ships thus visited the wreck several times at the correct position, but none remarked that the Commission had announced a false wreck position.

The Visor finally found 18 October

The visor was 'officially' found on 18 October by the 'Tursas', but no position (latitude/longitude) was announced or that the position was marked by a red buoy - only the vague 'one mile West of the wreck', probably an incorrect invention - the visor must be found somewhere away from the wreck! - that could later never be explained.

The visor was visited several times in November by the Swedish navy ship HMS 'Furusund' and filmed by an ROV to prepare for the salvage of the visor, but no exact position of the visor from that ship's logbook is available. Strangely enough no civilian salvage company was asked to quote for this job, which became a purely Swedish navy operation. The HMS 'Furusund' filmed the visor with ROV, so that a hook could be manufactured to lift up the visor. When the hook was ready, the visor was salvaged on 12-19 November 1994 by the Finnish ice breaker/crane ship 'Nordica', which was however under Swedish navy control. The visor was then brought to Hangö, Finland. But the salvage was in principle a 100% Swedish military affaire. The writer has not been able to locate any log books of the attending ships recording, where they actually were, when they filmed and lifted the visor. Persons, who have seen the logbooks state that it appears that the ships didn't know what position to enter - pencil was used, not ink. At the time of salvage no official position of the visor existed except 'one mile West of the wreck', but at that time the false wreck position was still valid.

You would of course expect that the visor position should have been recorded in the log books every time the ships were on top of the visor marked by the red buoy.

The Commission - which reported to the media mid-November about the salvage - said that the visor, when still attached to the 'Estonia' before the sudden listing - the accident - had been lifted by ten meters waves and then crashed down on the fore peak deck, which had been observed by eye witnesses.45 The visor was otherwise in perfect condition. The accident was caused by design fault. These repetitions of earlier inventions were of course necessary to indoctrinate the public that the visor loss had caused the accident. Note the big indent in the visor in fig. 1.14.4. The Commission suggested it was caused when the visor fell down on the bulbous bow of the 'Estonia'. Paint from the bulbous bow was allegedly found in the indent. However, there is no evidence for that. More probable the indent is due to contact with another object.

No means to protect the visor at Hangö were taken. Nobody was permitted to inspect the visor (except the Germans later).

Fig 1.14.4 - The 'Estonia' visor after salvage
It is very easy to see that the visor never had fallen off the ship as alleged by the Commission. There are no scrape marks below the visor arms or on the starboard lifting hydraulic cylinder, or on various lugs that allegedly cut through steel, etc. On the other hand the original paint remains. Opposite the hole in the superstructure caused by explosives the visor aft plates are buckled forward, which suggests that the visor rested against the superstructure, when the hole was blown open.

Visor Position announced 9 December

On 9 December 1994 the Swedish Navy (sic) reported the position of the visor to the Commission or - actually - the position of a red buoy allegedly positioned above the visor. The position was about N59°22',97, E21°39',33 ± 100 meters and this is the position of the visor given in the Final Report (5). It (the visor - not the buoy) was on about 70 meters depth. How (or if) it ended up there nobody has explained 1.9. When the stated position of the buoy was actually recorded is unclear. Who placed a red buoy on top of the visor is not known either. Or was the red buoy first placed at the real wreck position and later moved to the false visor position?

In 1998 it was decided to move the visor from Hangö to Stockholm.46

The German Experts about the Visor

In Chapter 24 of the Final report of the German Experts 3.13 which can be read at http://www.estoniaferrydisater.net is stated:

"In summary it has to be assumed that the Swedes and Finns had found the visor next to the bow of the wreck, possibly the bulbous bow even resting on the visor, already on the 01. or 02.10.94, but decided to keep this secret as well as the actual position of the wreck and to continue the search for the visor. The Estonians were sent to search to the East (where the visor definitely never was) while the Finns with the help of Swedish mine hunting experts and vessels clarified something around the wreck which apparently had to do with Swedish mines. On 18.10.94 the visor was "officially" located and sometime later the "mines" operation was completed, where after the recovery of the visor at a position about 2 100 m SSW off the alleged wreck position was carried out from 12th to 19th November 1994. The visor was picked-up and lifted to the surface by the Finnish multi-purpose ice breaker NORDICA assisted by the Swedish mine hunter FURUSUND".

The Germans do not understand that the Swedish "mines" operation was simply to assist the removal the visor from the wreck under water!

A first attempt took probably place 30 September - 1 October using explosives resulting in the visor still hanging on to the starboard side of the wreck, which was filmed on 2 October. The second attempt took place 3-7 October, the visor was pulled off and the starboard hinge arm was broken at the hinge and then the visor fell down to the sea floor below the wreck, where it was filmed on 9-10 October.

The conclusion of this chapter is that the alleged finding of the visor on 18 October 1994 is 100% suspect - the visor position is not recorded or documented properly or at all!

Perhaps the Commission - which had met on17 October at Tallinn 1.8 then decided - they were forced to it - to finally 'find' the visor the next day, in spite of already knowing where it was - at the wreck. If the 'Tursas' actually was out sailing on 17-18 October is not even ascertained - the whole 'fax exchange' quoted by the Germans above seems suspect. The position 'one mile West of the wreck' was an improvisation - they could not give a position in the area searched 2-10 October - so they put the visor just outside that area.

Stenström thought probably that he could invent a scenario based on the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' accident, which he had probably misunderstood - he thought that the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' survived much longer with water on its car deck in the superstructure and didn't capsize after two minutes. But Huss could never make a proper plot of the accident with the false positions of the visor and the wreck - he had to falsify the plot 1.9.

In these circumstance first the Finnish 'Tursas' and later the Swedish HMS 'Furusund' and the Finnish 'Nordica' (all three ships manned by Swedish navy personnel) could neither record in their logbooks nor tell the media, where the visor was (as it was at the wreck all the time). Finally - on 9 December - the Commission decided to refer to a report from the Swedish navy (coastal artillery), that the visor had been below a red buoy, which allegedly was moored 1 570 meters West of the real wreck position.

Does any sensible person believe in the Commission after this? Is the above the result of a professional investigation into a marine accident, where at least 852 persons died?

So the falsification of History by the Commission had to continue.

There is evidently no evidence that the visor was found in the alleged position 1 570 meters West of the wreck. It was simply false information of the Commission to be able to blame the accident on the visor. Because the 'Estonia' had sunk due to severe hull leakage and this simple fact could not be admitted.


41 The Swedish NMA (Franson) reported this position to the Swedish government already on 11 October 1994 - see supplement 502 in (5).

42 At a safety at sea conference at Glasgow 27 October 1999 Appendix 1 the writer asked Karppinen about the 'fragments'. Karppinen then showed an overhead picture, where all 'fragments' (debris on seabed) were located a few hundred meters West of the 'as found' position of the wreck. The 'Estonia' had never passed that location!

43 How the fragments could show the course of the ship is not explained. Or where the plot of Utö is.

44 Lehtola had at this time access to films taken on 2 October by the 'Suunta' and on 9 October by the 'Tursus'. These films only show the outside of the wreck, i.e. no dead bodies. In spite of this the films were kept secret for a long time. Later only edited versions have been made available.

45 HANGOE, Finland, Nov 21 (AFP) - A Swedish shipping expert investigating the sinking of the 'Estonia' ferry in September said Monday a design fault had caused the ferry bow visor to be ripped off in a storm. The 'Estonia' was sailing from Tallinn to Stockholm when it went down in a storm with the loss of 912 lives. Börje Stenström, a member of the investigating committee set up to look into the sinking, said the construction of the 'Estonia' was too weak to withstand the force of waves in the Baltic Sea before it went down. However, a Danish maritime expert, Morten Skrydstrup, said it was "improbable that the force of the waves could have torn the bow visor off the 'Estonia' ferry." Skrydstrup, a director of shipping consultancy Knud E. Hansen, said he "could not think of an example of a ship sinking in Nordic waters simply because of bad weather." Members of the enquiry team from Estonia, Finland and Sweden earlier examined the ferry's outer bow door recovered from the seabed Friday by the Finnish icebreaker Nordika and the Swedish naval vessel Furusund. According to the investigators, the lower part of the bow visor was lifted several times by the force of waves up to ten metres (30 feet) high, as testified by an eyewitness. As a result the upper mountings gave way, Stenström said. "There is no evidence that the bow visor was worn out or damaged, the accident was caused by a combination of the weakness in the design of the bow visor, the speed of the 'Estonia' and the strength of the waves in the Baltic," he said. Stenström said he believed that the 'Estonia' tragedy, in which at least 912 drowned during the night of September 27 to 28, "will have a great deal of influence on the construction of ferries and similar ships in the future". It was out of the question to blame the 'Estonia's captain or the shipping line Estline on the grounds the vessel was going too fast in bad weather, the Swedish expert said. No guidelines covering the subject exist, he said. In Copenhagen, however, Skrydstrup told the Danish news agency Ritzau: "Ships are built to deal with the worst storms, and the storm wasn't particularly fierce at the time of the catastrophe." "The bow-visor was either badly maintained or had not been hermetically sealed, otherwise it could not have come off," he added. The Danish maritime affairs board added meanwhile that it was "too early to draw conclusions from the sinking." "These are very complex matters, which have to be established and it wouldn't be right to reach a decision on the real causes of the catastrophe at the moment," the board's chief inspector Knud Skaareberg Eriksen, observer in the Commission 1.5, said.

46 The visor was moved in November 1999 to Sweden. The owners, Statens Sjöhistoriska Muséum has informed that it is not accessible for the public.

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