Coverup in the Baltic sea?


Heard it on the radio. During the last few weeks the diving crew of Gregg Bemis has been undertaking an investigation of the ship Estonia, where 800 died in 1994. Thereamong 60 police officers. He claims to have discovered a previously unknown hole in the hull of the ship. The hole appeared to have been covered with sand. There was no mention of whether the hole was beleived to have been present on the ship before its foundering.

In a later news broadcast the hole evolved into 'perhaps a shadow'.

A few days later Finnish and Esthonian members of the international [haverikommisionen], after having seen the film, concluded that there was no evidence for any hole. And that it appeared to be an amateurish investigation. The sand cover was put there since initially the ship was to be sealed with concrete. No proof of any conspiracy.

The photographer Jutta Rabe, who filmed the wreck was interviewed in swedish TV and made some critical remarks regarding the inapplicability of Swedish law on international waters.

Free translation

In an article in Dagens Nyheter, Lars Ångström of the swedish environmental party, demanded that there be a renewed investigation regarding the Estonia catastrophy. He suggested that reputed international experts without any connection to the countries involved be given the task to explain how the ship could sink as fast as was apparently the case.
It has been a big mistake by the parliament to avoid discussion of the Estonia catastrophy, in a wish to show a front of national unity in a matter of great sensitivity. In consequence a sound debate has been precluded, thousands of relatives to the victims of the catastrophy sense that they are being counteracted and a general distrust of politicians has gained ground. It is time for parliament to act responsibly and contribute both to settle the uncertainties as well as restoring their damaged faith.
Errors in the official investigation and the authorities apparent unwillingness to answer questions provides a fertile ground for conspiracy theories about a sabotage against the ship.
Among other things it appears that there was work done inside the wreck in 1994, and some people beleive that the divers entered through a hole in the side.
Ångström provides 4 simple checks to be made using available material to largely confirm or falsify the conclusions by the official investigation. In addition to the available material he suggests that modern computer simulations be used to check the official explanation of the way the accident happened. And that a metallurgical analysis be made to find out whether an explosion occured somewhere near the bow (Swedish:Bogvisir)

In an interview with Gregg Bemis in a news program in swedens TV1, he claimed that german experts have found technical evidence for an explosion in samples taken from the wreck of Estonia and Bemis said that it could not be explained as an accident.
The general feeling among swedish authorities appears to be that Bemis and Rabe are seeking publicity for commercial reasons and that they have an empty case. It would be very sensational if Bemis claims are confirmed.

Bo Janzon at the department of weapons and protection of the swedish defence research establishment was interviewed in a news transmission. According to him, the sample material used by Bemis, can not be used to conclude that there has been an explosion.

Anders Hellberg, Dagens Nyheter 2000-11-23:
The Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications has issued documents, where a renewed investigation of the Estonia catastrophy is demanded, for review by the governments of Finland, Estonia and Denmark. The documents originate from an organization, the Agnef Seminar among the relatives of the casualties. This summer they turned to the following authorities: Chalmers Institute of Technology,The Royal Institute of Technology, The Directory for Psychological Defense,SSPA Maritime Consulting AB (former Gov. Ship testing inst.), The Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) and the Board of Accident Investigation. Some of these authorities have answered but, as indicated, the criticisms have also reached the communication departments of Finland Estonia and Denmark. This can be interpreted as a wish on the part of the assistant minister, Mona Sahlin, to provide an opportunity for discussion with the mentioned governments concerning a completely new investigation.

Dagens Nyheter, Tisdag 2000-12-05:
Accusations against the Maritime Administration (SMA): "The Estonia protocol is a falsification"
by Susanna Popova, editor of Moderna Tider and reporter Mats Holm
"Estonia" wasn't seaworthy as she left the harbour of Tallin. The control made by swedish inspectors showed several deficiences. With a falsification of the protocol from the inspection, the SMA has tried to escape criticism for having allowed the ship to embark. The SMA undoubtedly had the duty to stop "Estonia". If they had done their job properly, the accident had never happened. ---

Jutta Raabe was interviewed on swedish TV, and claimed that the evidence they had obtained during the previous diving expedition proves that there was an explosion near the visor of Estonia. The technical samples had been investigated by German and Brittish military and or police experts and showed that the material had been heated to a temperature of 700 (C?)

According to Bo Janzon of FOA (defence research establishment), the copy of the report from the experts did not reveal anything about their expertise in the field of explosives and he seemed a bit hesitant about the value of the presented evidence.
My comment.
Disregarding technical evidence, what could be the motive for sinking the ship, if it wasn't an accident? When people are killed and it isn't obvious that it happened through an accident, it makes sense to look for a motive. Could there have been an economical motive? For the ship proper or for something aboard it. Or could there have been people aboard who posed a threat to someone powerful and ruthless enough to be willing to kill 852 people in the process?
What about the bottom valves? If they where open, would that explain the short sinking time? (not necessarily meaning that they would still be open now) Since there seems to be consensus among the experts about not understanding how the ship could go down so fast, it seems the entire hull of the ship should have been carefully examined for possible intakes, (or for repairs that might have been performed on the site).
What I find worrying is that the experts have commented on Bemis and Raabes data as if its refutation would settle the matter. Their low budget investigation only covered a limited part of the ship.
I have strong doubts about anything coming out of an investigation, since I don't think there are any official investigators who are really interested. I think everybody wants to get it over with, whether or not it was an accident. There is no point in wasting tax payers money unless the investigators are really keen on getting to the truth. In order to make a complete investigation the divers would have to do all the things previously considered unwanted by the officials. Namely to meticulously go through every angle of the ship hull seing many of the decomposed corpses (according to some officials this might cause psychological damage to the divers) etc.

Göteborgsposten, A new investigation concerning Estonia is necessary, by Peder Svensson.
Professor of Naval Architecture, Olle Rutgersson of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) has critisized the international Estonia investigation from 1997 in several respects.
I beleive the report to be mainly correct. But it needs to be completed to clarify what really happened as Estonia went down. It is unsatisfactory that the conclusions of the investigation are being questioned by the public.
Anders Ulfvarsson, professor of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering at Chalmers Institute of Technology (CTH) holds similar views.

The authorities responded to the criticism in the media by deposing 100 miljon Skr for expenses in connection with further investigations.

Dagens Nyheter
According to Kari Lehtola, chairman of the finnish commission for the investigation of the Estonia catastrophy, the metal samples obtained by the divers came from a hole in a damaged shot, that wasn't caused by any explosion but resulted when the hydraulics were torn off. According to three german and one american laboratory measurements there were traces of semtex or hexa composite.
If this was true there ought to be similar deformations on the visir, which can be easily examined on land, said Lethola, and added that this wasn't the case. Further there was an ongoing seismological project at the time of the catastrophy, and moreover the military have seismological equipment, but no detonation was registered.

Docent Lars Ekbom KTH, formerly an employee of FOA for 28 years commented on the technical reports by independent experts (independent from the swedish establishment) who investigated metal samples taken by Gregg Bemis diving expedition and confirmed their suggestion that their had been a strong explosion. Experts from FOA (=the defense research establishment, or rather their continuation 'Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut'), do not agree that there is any strong evidence for an explosion.
Note that according to previous reports, nobody among the survivors heard any explosion.
Lars Ångström of the environmental party argued in favor of a thorough investigation by FOA.
I beleive that this hypothetical explosion is a side issue, and if there was some kind of sabotage it won't be found out by any experts, unless they are being spoon-fed with exact information which isn't available. The first requirement by those who are to find out is that they have a completely open mind and really want to get to the truth irrespective of what might be revealed, and irrespective of whether the public opinion or the media or private investigators have some pet idea.
If these conditions are not fulfilled the only honest thing to do is to call the thing off.
In short professionalism, not just a reaction to media pressure.

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