U.S. diver promises to inform Estonian president

  • 2000-11-09
TALLINN (BNS) - American diver Gregg Bemis and Jutta Rabe, who organized a diving expedition to the wreck of the ferry Estonia in August, sent a letter to Estonian President Lennart Meri and the prime ministers of Sweden and Finland promising to make available to them all the information concerning the investigation of the version of a blast on board the Estonia.

"We wish to make known to you the initial results before releasing the information to the international media. This will give you the opportunity to indicate whether or not it would be appropriate to reopen the investigation," said the fax message by Bemis and Rabe to the Estonian president.

"At such time as we have completed all of our tests, we will certainly make available to you and your associates all of the information therefrom," the message read.

They explained that they ordered several tests to the two small samples of metal cut from the ramp bulkhead.

"The test results showed quite conclusively that there had been an explosion immediately adjacent to these samples. We are arranging for additional tests to further confirm these findings and to seek additional definition of the characteristics of the explosion," the message read.

In addition to Meri, it was also sent to the Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen and Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson.

According to Bemis and Rabe, these results bring a dramatic change to the case of the Estonia and will have tremendous impact on Estonia, Finland and Sweden, especially in the eyes of the rest of the world.

The initiators of the diving expedition also pointed out that, contrary to current allegations, they were scrupulously careful not to in any way disturb the peace of the final place of the victims.

"This expedition was conducted in the most professional manner possible consistent with the small private financing which the two of us were able to provide. It was a major undertaking that could well have used your support, as we requested, and the results are significant in our opinion."

In the one-page message, Bemis and Rabe underlined that the evidence presented at the Estonia conference in Stockholm last May certainly indicated that there was need for additional serious and objective studies.

"We have tried to help move that process along and now believe that with these additional results, there is ample reason for a new round of properly financed and properly managed forensic investigation," the message read.

At the moment Bemis has not said whether in his opinion the blast occured before or after the sinking of the Estonia on September 28, 1994 in the worst peace-time maritime catastrophe in the Baltics in which 852 people lost their lives.