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

3.9 The Accident according to the Commission - the Visor Deck Hinges

After the side locks had been broken as alleged by the Commission, the visor was kept in place by the two deck hinges (we assume that the hinges broke after the locks, even if the Commission has suggested that the port hinge broke first) and by the lifting hydraulic system connected to the hinge arms. Now the Commission suggests that two or four additional wave loads/impacts on the visor tore off the lifting hydraulics from their foundations at deck 3 (the Commission does not present any details), so that the visor was free to rotate around the hinges on deck 4, i.e. up/down and that then the hinges were ripped off one way or another. When all this should have taken place is not clear from the Final Report (5) - it could have been at 01.05 hrs - just after the side locks were broken - or it could have been at, say 01.12 hrs, when the visor had been swinging up and down for some time.

The Commission verbally stated that the visor had rotated around the hinges and then been crashing down on the fore peak deck.

Actually you would have expected the visor just to rotate freely around the hinges, when the locks were not active anymore. An impact on the visor would just lift the visor if it had enough energy. If the visor was lifted up, it could in theory be pushed sideways and the hinges would bend in parallel and when the visor fell down again it would not fit the horns, that usually steered the visor in position, and the horns would have been smashed. But for that you need a sideway force on the visor just after the impact and it is difficult to visualize that.

The impact lasts less than a second - bang. Say that the impact is sideway/upward from port. It lifts the visor above the horns, but as long as the visor is in touch with the horn the sideway component of the impact is transmitted to the hull via the horn. As already described in 3.7, the explanations of the Commission how and why the visor hinges broke are very unclear. Why would also the hinges break?

For that you need a big force pulling the visor forward.

Ten Minutes of metallic Noise after one o'clock

On page 175 in the Final Report (5) the Commission states that

'witnesses from several areas on board ... heard a repeated metallic noise from the bow area during a period of ten minutes, starting shortly after one o'clock ... it is beyond doubt that the sounds were caused by the visor moving and pounding on the forepeak deck. '

The quote above is of course pure disinformation, as the expert Schager of the Commission in his summaries of testimonies 1995 2.1 never concluded that

'witnesses from several areas on board ... heard a repeated metallic noise from the bow area during a period of ten minutes, starting shortly after one o'clock '.

The Commission cannot name any witness that heard repeated metallic noise from the bow during a period of ten minutes. It is one of numerous outrageous lies of the Commission. The forepeak deck 2 is completely undamaged and a majority of the witnesses stated that the 'Estonia' listed suddenly already at 01.02 hrs, so ten minutes of metallic noise after one o'clock is impossible. The undersides of the visor arms must then also have pounded against the green painted weather (upper) deck 4 but they are undamaged and there are no green paint marks. Figure 8.1 in (5) states that there were pounding damage on the starboard side of the fore peak deck and chapter 8.5.2 in (5) page 121 states that

"Pounding damage was recorded to the shell plating edges around the forepeak deck ...",

but nobody has been able to verify these damages on the video films available. All the edges seem to be intact.

It is unlikely that the visor pounded against the forepeak deck for ten minutes after 01.00 hrs. Expert Schager never recorded these strange events 2.1.

The visor should not only have pounded against the fore peak (no. 2) deck. The visor lifting arms should also have pounded against the upper weather (no. 4) deck, but no damages due to that have been observed below the visor arms.

It is quite amazing how many lies the Commission presents in its Final report - lie after lie of events without causes and with no logical connections.

Survivors AE (on deck 4) and RS (in the pub on deck 6) never heard any repeated noise from the bow before the list 2.12. They heard only the two bangs - and then there was the list - at 01.02-01.05 hrs. Their testimonies and many others demonstrate that the Commission's course of events has no foundation in reality.

The ten minutes of noise are an invention to tie together Linde's false testimony until about 01.00 hrs and Treu's testimony starting at 01.15 hrs, when nobody in the crew did anyhing to prevent the accident.

Time to telephone while the Visor falls off

Because in order for the Commission's course of fantastic events to be valid 3.7 there must be a long delay between Linde hearing the first bang on the no. 2 car deck (at 00.55 hrs) and for Linde to return to the bridge on deck 9 (after a trip down on decks 1 and 0) to witness the change of watch at 01.00 hrs on deck 9. Then there must be more time for a telephone call and for Linde to be ordered down to check the car deck and the noise. Then there must be further time for Linde to wait five minutes at the reception on deck 5 to open the doors to the car (no. 2) deck, etc. so that the list according to the Commission and Treu occurred at 01.15 hrs. This is where the 'repeated metallic noise from the bow area during a period of ten minutes, starting shortly after one o'clock' enters into the Final Report (5). There is no evidence for it anywhere - particularly not in chapter 6 of the Final report (5) with Summary of Testimonies by Survivors. That Linde and Treu are lying should be clear to anybody. Linde and Treu lie (or their statements are manipulated) to support the Commission's false story.

The Visor Hinges

But let's discuss how the visor hydraulics and the visor hinges may have broken:

Assume that a vertical upward force P2 now acted on the visor. This force P2 causes a pulling force 2.67*P2 in each hydraulic cylinder and a compressive force 2.16*P2 in each visor hinge lug (see figure 3.9 right). The Commission suggested that the compressive force 2.16*P2 was enough to pull (?) or bend apart the hinge lug and that the pulling force 2.67*P2 was sufficient to pull the hydraulic cylinder from its support. Nobody heard, when these four attachment points were destroyed. Note that the hinge lugs are in compression (and there is bending of the arm), while the Commission early on had suggested that the hinge was pulled apart by a pulling force in the forward direction of > 700 tons. How could such a force develop. The Final report says little.110 In chapter 15.10 in the Final Report (5) is clearly stated that

"The load on the hinges ... is acting in an uncritical direction ...".

Figure 15.4 in (5) shows a possible 'reaction' (sic) force distribution over the undamaged attachments. The Final Report (5) had earlier stated that the distribution of reaction forces was statically undetermined and there is no supporting calculations for the proposed distribution - it is in fact nonsense. But let's look at it. Note that all attachement points are intact and transfer load.

Fig. 3.9
With a purely hypothetical wave load of 540 tons vertical upward, and 540 tons in the aft direction and 200 tons sideway - then it is suggested by the Commission that there was only 63 tons tension in the Atlantic lock (which had a break strength of >200 tons),78 and 120 tons tension in the side locks (which also had a break strength of >200 tons each) and 450/439 tons compression in the hinges and an unknown force in the lifting hydraulics.

How the force distribution had been developed is, as stated, not clear. The Commission forgot that there were a number of steel-to-steel contact points which transmit (a) all the sideway loads and (b) part of the load in the aft direction. No load seems to be transmitted via any rubber seals.

Thus the Commission demonstrates that a big impact 540 tons upwards and 540 tons aft and 200 tons sideways does not damage any attachments. The Commission could in fact never develop any force distributions, where the visor locks were overloaded. The hinges were always either not loaded or under compression. This was one reason why the Final report (5) was delayed three years. The Commission had great difficulties to falsify the simplest strength/force calculations to support the initial lies of October 1994. The figure 15.4 is just a falsification based on no scientific calculations at all!

How did the Hinges break

So how could the hinges be pulled apart by a third vertical impact P2?

The writer, AB, asked Klaus Rahka, KR, Finnish expert 1.5 of the Commission. In an e-mail exchange 7-8 November 1999, KR, suggested that the hinges had sheared off:


AB - "The hinges were not damaged in the shear mode. In the part report (16) is stated that the fracture at the lugs of the hinges occurred in tension".

KR - "It does not exclude shear as an additional load case....."


AB - "Other forces on the visor would only cause the visor to rotate around the hinges. There must be equilibrium, you know".

KR - "Exactly, but lifting hydraulics and dynamics can change the picture, so that the sideway forces (those causing shear) become important."

AB - "But how? How can wave loads on the visor (the locks are not active anymore) pull the visor forward?"

KR - "If the visor is a little open, the lower part of the visor is pushed down, which means that the upper part moves forward - just as a possible thought..."

AB - "Nowhere in the Part and Final reports are described the forces which had pulled apart the hinges, when the ship was upright, as these forces did not exist (could not be developed)".

KR - "The Commission never attempted to describe every detail of something that could not be reconstructed in detail. It was sufficient for this accident examination to show that the wave loads were sufficient to break the locks, which according to the general wording of the rules should have been so strong that they held the visor "firmly secured", which was not the case. After the locks had broken, only the weak hinges remained, which - when the visor moved up and down - were critically loaded (in spite of the damping of the hydraulics). In the picture, which shows the forces ... you can see that the almost vertical component of the hinge reaction force can be considerable and then it together with a little dynamics could cause the damage, which has been observed.

AB -"The hinges were not weak - they hade a break load each of >350 tons. We speak of a horizontal force in the forward direction - the hinges were pulled apart forward". How did it develop?

etc., etc.

The logical error of Klaus Rauka is clear when he states that

"It was sufficient for this accident examination to show that the wave loads were sufficient to break the locks, which according to the general wording of the rules should have been so strong that they held the visor "firmly secured", which was not the case".

The Commission evidently never shows this in the Final Report (5). The 'wave loads' are certainly manipulated by the model tests Appendix 2. The Swedish SSPA Marine AB full scale forces are 100% false as the impact force/load does not exist. As shown in the previous chapters 3.7 and 3.8 the locks could not have been damaged by these alleged (false) forces. And the Commission has not demonstrated that the visor was 'firmly secured' before the accident - the Atlantic lock was probably damaged before the accident. And who was responsible that the visor was 'firmly secured'? The shipyard? It is accused of having badly designed and manufactured the locks. But who was going to check the shipyard? According to the Load Line convention it is the maritime administration (in this case Estonia) that is responsible that openings in superstructures are secure.

But of course, the visor did not protect an opening in the superstructure - it was only a piece of steel at the fore end of the superstructure protecting the ramp that was closing the superstructure. And now that piece of steel was alleged to be lose.

The Visor moves forward by a Force in the aft Direction

When the deck hinges had broken, how is not known - 3.7 and above, and when the lifting hydraulics also were lose, the Commission suggested that the visor moved forward - the weather deck 4 plating was allegedly torn open 120 mm by the upper lugs of the lifting hydraulics. Then these lugs hit against a strong transverse deck beam (frame 159).

"Subsequent wave impacts (sic) caused the visor to move ... forward (sic) ... Impact marks indicate ... upward movement of about 1.4 meter... the number of heavy aftward (sic) blows was at least two and probably four ... The dynamics of this aft-forward movement of the visor generated sufficient impact forces (sic) to enable the hinge beam lugs to cut through the transverse deck beam, which was the heaviest structural element preventing the visor from moving forward " (see page 181 in the Final Report).111

The time was now according to the Commission about 01.08-01.12 hrs. The ramp had not yet been pulled open. No water had entered the car deck. The ramp was still locked and tight. No water could have entered the superstructure space at this time! The Commission suggests that only metallic noise had been heard during ten minutes due to a moving visor and that everything else aboard was normal; Linde was waiting on deck 5 and Treu was in the ECR on deck 1. What impact marks that indicate an upward movement of about 1.4 meter of the visor are not clear. Where are they? The undersides of the visor arms have no such impact marks. Here we are facing another invention of the Commission - impact marks due to upward movement.

And 'subsequent wave impacts' in the upward/aft directions allegedly 'caused the visor to move forward' - how is it possible? The number of blows was at least two and probably four according to the Commission. The model tests above show that there is at least 60 seconds between 'wave impacts', so the time to cut through the deck beam should be two to four minutes, but the wave impact only caused an upward/aft direction force - the deck beam must be cut by a forward acting force from aft to forward. How was the deck beam cut?

Dr. Klaus Rahka of the Commission has explained that

"It was sufficient for this accident examination to show that the wave loads were sufficient to break the (visor) locks, which according to the general wording of the rules should have been so strong that they held the visor "firmly secured", which was not the case."

How the hinges and the lifting hydraulics and the superstructure upper deck structure, incl. the strong beam, were broken was of no interest to the Commission. Actually the Commission could never explain how the visor got lose by the wave loads. In reality the visor never fell off the ship!

Everything the Commission stated about the visor 1994-1997 was pure nonsense and part of one of the most successful disinformation campaigns ever. The CIA/FBI of the United States could not have produced better lies.

Full Speed

Full speed - actually 15 knots - was maintained during the 20 minutes between 00.55-01.15 hrs, when the visor allegedly got lose and demolished the superstructure forward structure (deck 4 and the front bulkhead) and ripped open the ramp. Nobody thought to reduce the speed.

Several persons, including the writer, has since 1998 observed that there are no score marks on the port and starboard upper lugs of lifting hydraulics below the visor hinge beams - particularly the forward edges. How could these lifting lugs have cut through the weather deck 4 plating and the strong deck beam, without the paint on the lug being scraped/scored off? And evidently there are no marks on the undersides of the visor arms indicating either upwards or forward movements. Or downward or forward movements!

There are no pictures or details of the alleged cut through transverse deck beam in the Final Report? The question remains, if the deck beam was in fact cut through at all, which is analysed in the next chapter.


110 One possibility that a forward force pulled apart the hinges is that an explosion between visor and ramp caused it. Another possibility is that the visor hinges were pulled apart under water, when divers detached the visor.

111 How the Commission knows that it was two or four wave impacts is not known. And the Commission correctly states that the wave impacts acted in the aftward direction - but to cut the deck beam you need a force in the forward direction. And this alleged forward force is never explained anywhere in the Final Report.

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