Welcome to a chapter of the e-book Disaster Investigation.
'Mr Björkman has bombarded the world, at the limit to maniac energy, with his basically conspiratorially founded opinions about the Commission and the cause of the sinking. ... Representatives of Swedish safety at sea, among them myself, chose to work with matters, that we consider more important for the safety at sea, than to discuss with Anders Björkman.'
Johan Franson, Director for Safety at Sea, Swedish NMA in Swedish daily FinansTidningen, March 1999
3.12 The Accident according to the Commission - the Ship sinks. Equilibrium with 14 000 tons Water in the Deckhouse
After the (alleged, not proven) loss of the visor and after the ramp had (allegedly) been pulled fully open allowing water to be loaded inside the superstructure and the ship listed at 01.15 hrs, water thus according to the Commission flowed in slowly in spite of the fact that the forward speed of the ship was >7 m/s and the opening was >16 m² into the car deck in the superstructure.
At this time all passengers started immediately to evacuate from inside the ship to open decks, while the three crewmembers in the ECR bravely stayed on witnessing the events on the monitor - that the superstructure filled with water. Why the crewmembers did not evacuate is a mystery.
The writer evidently thinks that the 'Estonia' at this time, when the superstructure had been filled with 2.000 tons of water in one minute - a very big weight, should have immediately capsized and floated upside down on the hull. The writer is mystified, why everything developed so slowly according to the Commission and completely different to what was described by the passengers. Why and how was the 'Estonia' still stable and floating with a list >40 degrees at 01.22 hrs (or any time!), when >2 000 tons of extra water had allegedly entered the superstructure and no water had flowed down into the engine room and the bilges of the hull on deck 0? 'Estonia' could safely load about 3 300 tons of cargo. At the accident she only loaded about 2 800 tons but then another 2 000 tons was loaded (water) - total 4 800 tons of 'cargo' - 1 500 tons more than permitted = capsize - but no capsize took place!
How the 'Estonia' sank - without capsizing - is described very shortly (actually not at all) by the Commission on pages 181-183 in the Final Report (5). It is mostly about how the deckhouse eight meters above the waterline was flooded with water, when the ship listed >40 degrees, i.e. not a word about how water in the superstructure below the deck house should have caused instant capsize.
No questions about ship stability during the actual sinking are correctly handled in the Final Report (5). The official plot of the sequence of events after the loss of the visor with angles of heel, etc, is an obvious falsification - it is a plot of an undamaged ship turning and drifting but never sinking made by Huss and Rosengren, which has later been edited by the Commission 1.9 with different angles of heel.
Windows are smashed
The Commission states that at 40 degrees list - with 2 000 tons of water on the car deck inside the superstructure >2 meters above waterline - the windows ('critical openings' (sic)) on deck 4 > 8 meters above waterline are smashed and that the deckhouse starts to fill with water. Later the windows (more 'critical openings') on deck 5, etc. were smashed. And the Commission suggests that now the 'Estonia' starts to sink!
It is obvious - a deckhouse with windows 8-9 meters above the waterline is neither weather- nor watertight and does not contribute to any stability at large angles of heel or any buoyancy.
Ship floats on the watertight Deckhouse
But all the stability calculations of the Commission assume that the deckhouse is watertight (!!) in many different and strange ways.
This is clear falsifications of basic stability calculations. Supplement no. 504, figure 4.19 (below) assumes that the deckhouse sides and decks 6-8 (sic) are watertight and provide buoyancy and prevent capsize, while the ship sinks.
Many survivors left the ship through side doors to deck 7 port side, but some left on the starboard side heeling into/towards the sea. Is an open door 'water tight'?
The Commission suggests that deck 7 starboard deckhouse side is watertight!
Likewise deck 6 deckhouse side is allegedly watertight!
The Commission suggests that decks 4 and 5 were flooded at starting 01.24 hrs and that deck 9 forward, the bridge, was flooded at 01.35 hrs, when the clock stopped. But the intermediate decks 6-8 were not flooded! It is an obvious falsification!
Figure 3.11.1 - Figure 4.19 of Supplement no. 504
Figure 4.19 in Supplement no. 504 of (5) shows a floating condition in equilibrium (sic!) with decks 4-5 and the superstructure space - decks 2-3 filled with water (shaded), i.e. the windows on decks 4 and 5 starboard are broken allowing total flooding of the spaces.
But decks 6-8 are completely watertight - the windows on decks 6 and 7 and the side doors to deck 7 starboard below water (!) in the figure above are assumed to be intact and closed watertight!
We see also that neither deck 1 or 0 in the hull are water filled according to the Commission, as the openings in the watertight deck 2 (the stairwell at centreline on the car deck) are above the waterline. The latter is correct, if the trim is zero, but all other assumptions behind the figure and the calculations are totally unrealistic.
Decks 6, 7 and 8 shall naturally also be water filled, as the windows and doors there are broken and the deck 6 itself is not watertight. Then the ship capsizes and floats upside down on the air trapped in the hull spaces of decks 1 and 0 - about 18 000 m3. The weight of the ship is only 12 000 tons.
In the figure the trim is not mentioned. If the trim is say 5 meters on the stern, then of course deck 8 is completely under water aft and also the superstructure is filled to >0.7B aft and the aft hull compartments are flooded and the ship sinks immediately. But the figure is clear - it is equilibrium, floating position at 75 degrees list, i.e. buoyancy (somewhere) balances all the weights - and there is another 20 minutes until the 'Estonia' sinks. During that time the ship drifts >1 200 meters northeast! How is it possible? It is not possible! The Commission falsified the sinking sequence!
The Authors' of the false Stability Calculations
Supplement no. 504 was written by Commission member Tuomo Karppinen in May1996 together with Mr Antti Rantanen , who acknowledge help from Mr. Veli-Matti Junnila of Ship Consulting Ltd., Turku and professor Jerzy Matusiak, of the Technical University at Helsinki, Finland, having approved the report.
It does not make the supplement report - or the Final report (5) for that matter - any truer - all statements in the report are based on false assumptions about the watertight deckhouse.
Tuomo Karppinen was evidently a member of the Commission. How Karppinen could persuade Mr. Antti Rantanen and Mr. Veli-Matti Junnila and professor Jerzy Matusiak to support the false idea that the 'Estonia' was in equilibrium due to watertight deckhouse compartments 14 meters above the waterline is still unknown. No ship in history has ever floated on a deckhouse.
Mr. Veli-Matti Junnila is an interesting person in the 'Estonia' cover-up. Mr. Veli-Matti Junnila was also the 'stability expert' of the German Group of Experts 3.17 and apparently made the Germans believe that the 'Estonia' is been stable with > 40-50 degrees list and >2 000 tons of water in the superstructure. Mr. Veli-Matti Junnila wrote the original stability manual for the 'Estonia' in 1991 2.17 and made (falsified) other stability calculations for the Commission 1996 (Supplement no. 505).
She floated on the Deckhouse
The safety-at-sea director Johan Franson of the Swedish NMA has in the Swedish daily Finanstidningen March 1999 explained how the 'Estonia' floated on the deckhouse, while she sank, preventing capsize. The following is the official view of the Swedish NMA - and the Swedish government, as the government has delegated all questions of safety at sea to the NMA.
As usual the Swedish authorities start and end with an insult and defamation - thus:
and then the statement continues:
... The problem is however that Björkman appears to be factual to other people in his statements, but it is highly probable that he is wrong. Björkman states shortly the following. The Estonia cannot have sunk due to water in the superstructure as stated by the Commission. The ship has probably sunk due to leakage below the waterline. If the accident had developed as stated by the Commission, the ship evidently should have capsized and floated upside down.
The end of the statement is typically Swedish:
Representatives of Swedish safety at sea, among them myself, chose to work with matters, that we consider more important for the safety at sea, than to discuss with Anders Björkman.
Regardless, if the Final report gives a well-considered and professional impression to Mr. Franson, it is still a fact that every essential piece of information in it is false or misleading. The above official statement of the Swedish Maritime Administration is tragic rubbish.
The deckhouse is not watertight and does not 'constitute during the time of the sinking a gradually reduced righting lever'. And it is not 'self evident that water flows down below the car deck at this stage'. Self evidently water floods the deckhouse and the ship capsizes and floats upside down.
Concerning the contributions to safety at sea of the Swedish NMA since 1995 they are nil. An administration that cannot spot the faults of a maritime accident investigation as described in this book evidently cannot make a serious contribution to safety at sea! Millions have been wasted on incorrect safety rules 3.21. The above declaration is only a stupid attempt to protect the Swedish Maritime Administration by its incompetent head and gate keeper, Johan Franson from valid and serious criticism.
The Commission states, regarding the sinking, that
'The watertight compartments below the car deck were thus flooded from above, (so that the ship sank)' (page 182 in (5)).
Then the ramp closed to the position it was found.
But how did all this take place between, e.g. 01.30 and 01.52 hrs? How could at least 6 000 tons of water on top of the car deck in the superstructure, which should have caused capsize already, when 2 000 tons had flowed in, flood the hull from above and sink the ship? This question the writer put to (a) Stenström already in October 1994, (b) in a letter to the Commission in April 1995 and (c) at many later occasions. The Commission has never been able to reply! Naturally the Commission ignored facts and questions it could not explain.
No Vent Trunks
The Swedish NMA has later explained that the water flowed down through damaged vent trunks in the inside of the no. 2 car deck leading down to the 14 watertight compartments below in the hull and Karppinen stated the same thing at Glasgow 1999 - the water on the car deck flowed down through the starboard vent trunks that had been damaged inside the superstructure by shifting cargo. No evidence has been shown of any kind. Vent trunks in the side?
The vent trunks however surfaces again, 2003, in the SPF study to explain the sinking 1.51. Now on the other hand the starboard vent trunks are undamaged inside the superstructure but their inlet/outlets openings in the outer side (sic) of the superstructure just below deck 4 are submerged, when the list is >40 degrees, and the hull compartments are flooded through these undamaged - and fully open - vent trunks.
Actually there were no major vent trunks in the side of the car deck on the 'Estonia' with openings in outer side just below deck 4.
The watertight compartments below the car deck were ventilated via the fire proof trunk/casing between decks 2 and 9 in the centreline of the car deck, which also houses the stairwells to said compartments and also exhaust pipes, etc. from the generator and main engine rooms. This trunk/casing - fitted with a number of sliding fire doors - was always above any waterline outside or inside the ship superstructure, when the list was <60 degrees due to alleged water on top of the car deck (and the trim was small)! And the ship should have capsized - floated upside down - when the list is only about 35-40 degrees due to 1.500-2 000 tons of water in the superstructure, when any vent trunk openings in the starboard side are still above waterline.
The Final Report (5) page 183 states dryly that
"Calculations indicate ... that 18 000 tons (sic) of water on board, distributed between the car deck (i.e. inside the superstructure) and decks 4 and 5 (sic - the lower part of the deckhouse), would have given a heel angle of about 75 degrees"1.9.
No calculations are evidently shown (unless it is figure 3.11.1 above (figure 4.19 of supplement no. 504)), because the 'Estonia' with 18 000 tons of water on board in the superstructure and deckhouse was unstable and should have capsized 2.16 much earlier.
Where exactly were the 18 000 tons in the superstructure (decks 2-3/deckhouse (decks 4-5)?
It is a very big weight and is there space for it? If the average length of deckhouse and superstructure was 120 meters, then the flooded cross area was 150 m², i.e. the superstructure and deck house decks 4 and 5 were flooded >B/2. Evidently the ship should have capsized long before reaching that strange condition.
The error is obvious - the Commission (with help of Mr. Veli-Matti Junnila) assumes that decks 6-8 were completely (sides and decks) watertight at all times and provided buoyancy (and prevented capsize). Further disinformation -
"This amount of water had entered the vessel in about 15 minutes, indicating a flow rate of 20 tons per second ... ".
The Deckhouse is filled with 125 tons/second - but only for two minutes
However - the Commission had elsewhere indicated that first 4 000 tons flowed into the superstructure during 13 minutes (780 seconds - abt 50 tons/sec) on the car deck 1.9 between 01.15 and 01.28 hrs, which means that about 14 000 tons must have flowed into the deck house the last two minutes - flow rate >125 tons per second - at 01.28-01.30 hrs on decks 4 and 5.
Nowhere in the Final Report (5) is described how the water flowed down below the watertight car deck no. 2 to sink the ship. Instead the Commission clearly stated that
"When windows on the accommodation decks (i.e. decks 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) were broken by wave forces, subsequent sinking (sic) was inevitable".
End of Voyage
The Commission avoids the word 'capsizing', because it knows the fact that, when 14 000 tons of water filled the deckhouse during two minutes, the 'Estonia' should simply have capsized, stopped and floated upside down; 1.1, 1.9, 2.16 and 2.17. End of voyage!
But it did not fit the course of events of the Commission. Therefore the ridiculous statement by gate keeper Johan Franson
" ... The deckhouse constitutes during the time of the sinking a gradually reduced righting lever. ..."
In conclusion - the Commission stated that the decisive event - the proximate cause - of the accident was that the visor locks were incorrectly designed and manufactured in 1979/1980. This caused a long sequence of other unexpected (and not proven), introductory events 14 years later, e.g. the visor falling off and water in the superstructure listing the ship, which resulted into 14 000 tons of water flowing into the deck house during two minutes about 01.29 hrs and the alleged catastrophic final event - that the ship sank (sic) at or after 01.50 hrs.
We are however not told how the ship actually sank in 20 minutes between 01.30 and 01.50 hrs. How were the hull compartments flooded? How was the buoyancy lost. Why are all events between 01.30 and 01.50 hrs censored in the Final report (5)?
The 'Estonia' should have capsized and floated upside down
The Commission in 1994, or at least 1995, no doubt knew that the 'Estonia' should have capsized with about 2.000 tons of water on the car deck in the superstructure and it made all efforts to hide it by secrecy and disinformation.
Three years later the Commission denied the simple fact in the Final Report by manipulating the meaning of 'capsize'. And later it still refuses to even discuss the matter. Instead Johan Franson, the man that falsified numerous reports to the government 1994 and the complete dive investigation 1.16, is sent out to succour the Commission.
The Commission knew perfectly well that a passenger ferry like the 'Estonia' was subdivided into 14 watertight compartments below the car deck in the hull and would have survived with two compartments flooded due to leakage below the waterline.
The Commission states that no watertight compartment below the car deck was damaged or flooded, i.e. the ship had always 18 000 m3 of buoyancy in the hull below the car deck to float on during the accident, when first >2.000 tons of water flooded the car deck and that the ferry heeled >40 degrees. Later >4 000 tons of water in the superstructure caused 50 degrees list.
All this water is just extra weight loaded on the car deck - the underwater hull was undamaged. Due to the heel the deckhouse decks 4, 5, 6, 7 etc. are then flooded with 14 000 tons of water, when the windows - the critical(?) openings - were smashed 10.28-01.30 hrs.
Then of course the ship should at least have capsized - turned upside down - and floated on the 18 000 m3 of air trapped between decks 0 and 2, which then were above decks 4, 5, 6, 7 etc. But the Commission denies it - they say that the 14 watertight hull compartments started to fill up from above after 01.30 hrs, when the sinking started (sic) - even if the ship should have been upside down then!
Not even the Germans 1994-2001 seemed to have understood these simple stability matters with water on a car deck in a superstructure.
The German Group of Experts
When the shipyard was informed 1994 that it was accused of faulty visor lock, it appointed its own group of investigators to check the work of the Commission. Captain Werner Hummel, an experienced accident investigator, led this German group. The Germans never 1994-2001 checked the stability of the 'Estonia' before, during and after the 'sudden list' with water loaded on the car deck.
The Germans always believed the stupid story of the Commission that the 'Estonia' sank (sic) due to water on the car deck in a superstructure (sic) and never bothered to make its own stability calculations, which would have immediately shown that the Commission's story was false. The German Group of Experts never included a German ship stability expert! The Germans apparently relied on the Finnish Mr. Veli-Matti Junnila, who provided falsified stability calculations to the Commission. It seems that the Germans were fooled from the start.
The Germans collected however other interesting information - and disinformation, which are described in the following chapters.