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Estonia Slams Report on 1994 Ferry Sinking

Published fredag 31 mars 2006 kl 10.30

A senior Estonian official said Thursday that a six-year-old official report on the sinking of the ”Estonia” passenger ferry in 1994 overlooked key issues in concluding that a construction fault caused the  tragedy that claimed 852 lives.

According to Estonian state prosecutor Margus Kurm ”The results of the international investigation commission are subject to strong criticism.”

Kurm added that ”There is no comprehensive analysis in the final report about what caused the strong bangs or strikes that many survivors testified to having heard.”

A joint Swedish-Finnish-Estonian commission concluded in 1997 that ”weak locking devices of the bow visor” door, which had provided an entry point for cars and trucks to drive onto the ferry, had been the main cause of the tragedy.

According to the official report, when the locks ruptured, the outer bow door was ripped off and heavy seas gushed in, destabilizing the ship.

Only 137 of the 989 passengers and crew on board survived.

The official investigation results have been questioned by relatives of the victims, shipping experts and politicians, many of whom claim the ship sank after an explosion on board.

Thursday’s criticism from the Estonian government commission was the highest level suggestion to date that the official report was flawed.

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