New investigations into sinking of the Estonia in Baltic Sea

Coming up to three decades after the sinking of the ferry Estonia during the night of September 28th 1994, leading to 852 fatalities out of the 989 people on board as it travelled from Tallinn, Estonia, to Stockholm, Sweden, the authorities from Estonia and Sweden have started new investigations on the wreck.

The Electra af Askö and the Eva 316 (IMO 7917977) arrived at the sinking site during the night of July 9th to undertake a preliminary study which will last until July 18th. The wreck and the sea floor were to be examined with echo sounders and sonar devices. An underwater robot with a camera would also be used. The data will be visualized later, over a period of months.

More extensive investigations are planned for next spring.

According to the official investigation report from 1997 a torn-off bow visor was the cause of the sinking. However, the official interpretation has long been a matter of controversy and disagreement, with survivors and bereaved relatives long demanding for investigations to be restarted.

Many of the dead could not be recovered, which means that the wreck is under protection as a sea grave and may not be visited. After the revelations, Sweden introduced legal changes so that authorities can examine the finds more closely. These changes came into effect at the beginning of July.