Sweden will try to lift the ban on inspections of the wreck of the Estonian ferry that sank in the Baltic Sea in 1994 with the loss of 852 lives in one of the worst maritime disasters of the twentieth century.
The Swedish Accident Investigation Authority has requested an amendment to a law banning diving to allow for a re-examination of the wreck after a documentary presented evidence of a previously unknown hole in the body.
In 1997, investigators concluded that the disaster was caused by the opening of the ship’s bow door in the high seas, allowing water to gush into the deck of the car.
Survivors and relatives of those killed fought for more than two decades for a fuller investigation, with some claiming that opening the bow visor would not have caused the ship to sink as quickly as he did.
The ship, which was sailing from Tallinn to Stockholm, landed in just one hour in the early hours of September 28, 1994, leaving only 137 survivors.
It was the worst maritime disaster in European waters and the second worst involving a European ship after the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic in 1912.
Following a decision not to save the wreckage or bodies of the victims, the governments of Sweden, Estonia and Finland signed a treaty in 1995, agreeing to designate the wreck site as a final resting place and make it illegal for its citizens to disturb the site. sinking into him.
“We have no plans to repeal the law to protect the peace of the grave, but we will look at how the law needs to be adapted to make the investigations the accident investigation authority wants to do,” said Swedish Home Secretary Mikael Damberg. said at a news conference.
In September, a documentary showed underwater images revealing a hitherto unrecorded hole four meters (13 ft) in the hull.
Two of the filmmakers were accused of disturbing the final resting place and spent up to two years in prison, but the revelations prompted the reopening of the investigation.
Experts told filmmakers that only a massive external force would be strong enough to cause the rupture, raising many questions about what really happened that night.
“I think the truth is different from what people have been told so far,” survivor Carl Eric Reintamm told the program.
Survivors said they heard a loud bang and Reintamm said he saw a large white object in the water near the ferry, which experts in the program said had not been considered so far.
A preliminary inquiry into the need to re-evaluate the results of the 1997 report was launched by the accident authorities in Sweden, Finland and Estonia.
Without saying directly that diving would take place, they together demanded that the laws be amended to allow for the possibility.
Damberg said on Friday that work to change the law would begin and that they would “continue the dialogue” with Estonia and Finland.
According to the head of the Swedish accident investigation authority, John Ahlberk, there is nothing in the new preliminary assessments to call into question the official investigation at this stage.
“The purpose of this investigation will be to explore as much as possible to find the causes of the holes in the hull,” he said.
So far, the countries involved have been reluctant to re-examine the causes of the disaster, leading to the circulation of numerous theories, none of them yet proven.
These include a collision with another ship, either a military ship or a submarine, as well as the involvement of organized crime gangs or that an explosion took place on the ship.