Interpretation and notes
about 00.55 hrs
15 knots. Westerly course between Estonia and
Sweden. Wind SW Beaufort 7. Permanent heel 1 degree
to starboard and slight stern trim. The weather
was not very bad. Waves average 4 meters
high. Several passengers noted and/or were awoken
by two severe bangs with 30-60 seconds interval
and some passengers started to leave their cabins
on deck 1. The speed may have been reduced. Maybe
the bridge alarmed the crew and all officers
mustered on the bridge. Ship started to trim
on the bow.
cause of the sudden 'bangs' has never been
explained. The vessel could have collided with
something in the water or something was damaged
below the waterline causing a serious leak. One
compartment on deck 0 started to be flooded, which
was probably noted by Linde, if it were the
sauna/poop compartment, or by 3/E Treu, f it were
in the engine rooms. Sillaste was called down
to assist stopping the leak. The inflow may
have been 1.0-1.5
statement by Linde that the car deck was dry at
this time and that the innner ramp was tight
are not correct. There was a small leak at the
ramp of little importance. The Commission has
never examined the hull deck 0 for any hull
damages, e.g. a fracture i.w.o. the sauna/pool
compartment or at the starboard stabilizer.
alarm is given to passengers!
passengers noted that the ferry moved
differently - slower rollings.
water on deck 0 had reduced G0M,
which increased the period of roll 2.16.
passengers saw water on deck 1 center
corridor and on the starboard side and started to
evacuate deck 1. One passenger from deck 1
may have alerted the information desk on
deck 5, which in turn called the bridge,
which ordered the matter to be
compartment on deck 0 was now almost full and water
spilled out on deck 1, when the ship was
rolling. The bridge must have ordered the
engine control room (3/E Treu) to start the bilge
pumps. The bridge thougth that all watertight doors
were closed as the indication was green.
alarm is given to passengers!
watertight doors on deck 1 were open.
Some passengers thought that the starboard heel had
increased a little. Water on deck 0 flowed aft.
The trim became even.
Many passengers on deck 1 rushed upwards in
the stairwells, when ...
bridge may have opened two watertight doors by
mistake, or the damage in the hull developed
forward/aft due to internal pressure on the
bulkheads of the sauna compartment. The water
spread now into a least three compartments on deck
0 and the initial stability - G0M - was
quickly reduced to nil. Note that the
Commission has not examined the compartments on
deck 0, 1.16
(xii), where the leak and damages are supposed to
no alarm is given to passengers!
the ferry heeled >30 degrees to starboard
but uprighted and was stable again at about 15
degrees list - later the permanent list increased
jerkily. Most survivors noted this. Passengers
and crew escaped to open deck 7 but had
great difficulties to walk on the sloping decks
in corridors and inside stairwells to reach the
stairs. But passengers from deck 1 were
already inside the stairwell at deck 4 and
informed e.g. Linde that it was water on deck
on board. Water inside the ship on
deck 0 had now reduced the G0M to <
0 and it caused the sudden listing (maybe
the empty starboard heeling tank had also been
flooded) and it caused the sudden listing. Then the
ferry found a new equilibrium at 15 degrees angle
of list. The inflow of water continued causing
progressive flooding and increased list. At >15
degrees list it was very difficult to walk on the
decks, but as the ship was rolling slowly,
passengers could escape, when the ship rolled to
port. The watertight doors were
alarm is given to passengers!
crew on the bridge may have hanged on to the
consoles and turned the ferry to port into
the wind, but did not slow down.
The lost Utö plot should be able to tell
what actually happened.
bridge must have been aware that the 'Estonia' was
leaking and had started the bilge pumps
has stated several times that the bilge pumps were
on. Passengers started to reach deck 7 port
started to enter on deck 4 starboard side
the windows there were broken when they
came under water. The port propeller and
rudder was above waterline and the port engines
angle of list was still 15-20 degrees and it
was still possible to get out, when the ship rolled
to port. Maybe 100-150 or more persons had
reached deck 7 port side. The vessel was at this
time apparently heading East (!) because the
starboard side (underwater) was facing the waves
coming from South-West, i.e. it seems the vessel
had turned 180° to East assuming that it had a
Westerly course prior to the accident. It is
possible that the ship had stopped and turned
earlier since 00.55 hrs.
the 'häire, häire' alarm is given to
passengers at this time over the public address
system! But no life boat alarm is ever
engines stopped when the lub.oil pumps
sucked air. Water started to enter on deck 5
starboard side, when the windows there
became under water. The visor was ripped
away, when its flat starboard side hit the
waves. The visor may have fallen off at the
official position (unlikely), but it may also have
been hanging on the starboard side (more likely).
The ship was un-steerable. The ship was 1,5 mile
off course. Speed was reduced.
angle of list was about 30 degrees. More than 1.500
tons of water had leaked in but the car
deck/superstructure was still virtually dry.
The sloping side of the visor was parallel
with the sea, the speed was about 6 knots, the
course was about 135° with waves on the
starboard bow. The visor starboard side was subject
to an impact load, when it hit the sea. The port
side lock visor plate sheared off 2.8
sideway. The port hinge may have been broken, but
the visor was still attached to the ship by the
starboard hinge and ropes attached at port. Maybe
300-400 persons had got out on deck 7.
4 aft was under water on starboard side when the
ship rolled into the on-coming waves (this part was
heading into waves and winds) and water started to
flood the car deck from above via the ventilators
on deck 4. Vessel started to trim on the stern!
angle of list was about 45 degrees. The speed had
been reduced to 1,5 knots. It was no longer
possible to escape from inside the ship.
7 starboard side was starting to come under
water and persons there jumped into the
water. On port side some life rafts were inflated
by the crew on the ship's side. Mayday was sent.
A position was given via VHF figur
2.26. The speed was virtually nil - the
ship was drifting. Trim on the stern
angle of list was 65-70 degrees increasing to 90
degrees at 01.30 hrs. Persons on deck 7 climb out
on the ship's port side. The position was wrong!
Sillaste and Kadak stated that they left the ECR at
this time 1.48,
but it is not a true statement. They must have left
much earlier - say 01.05 hrs - when they realized
that the water in the engine rooms could not be
pumped out by the bilge pumps ... and that the
vessel was doomed.
ferry drifted slowly, <0,5 knots. The Mayday was
terminated abrubtly. Water was entering the bridge.
Linde was in a life raft together with Sillaste and
Kadak and saw the bow ramp closed. The stern was
Treu states he left the ECR at this time, which is
not possible as the ship sank a few minutes later.
Passengers on port side started to jump into the
water. Some passengers rushed forward - afraid of
jumping into the water.
stern hits bottom at 75 meters depth - the ship
could not drift any longer.
ship sticking up above the water. Angle of list
>90 degrees. The visor could have slipped over
the ramp without touching it, but ...
clock on the bridge stopped.
... the visor was still attached to the bow
superstructure starboard side.