Swedish civil defense minister: MS Estonia ferry investigation should be continued

  • 2023-04-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Swedish Minister of Civil Defense Carl-Oskar Bohlin said in an interview with the Estonian daily Postimees that the investigation of the MS Estonia ferry should be continued until it is possible to get more information about the disaster.

The Swedish government has set aside 25 million Swedish kronor, or around 2.2 million euros, for additional activities for the investigation, this money will be used for salvaging the bow ramp of the ferry Estonia and filming the ferry's car deck in order to thoroughly examine the wreck.

According to the Swedish minister, Swedish investigators initially asked for 30 million kronor, but the government decided to allocate 25 million for the investigation. The decision was made on April 17 in the framework of the discussion of the 2023 Spring Fiscal Policy Bill.

Bohlin told Postimees that the fate of MS Estonia affects many people both in Sweden and Estonia, and therefore the work of Estonian, Swedish and Finnish investigation institutions is very important.

"Answers to all the questions about what happened that night almost 30 years ago will never be found, but the Swedish government thinks that if the investigation can bring additional information, it should be done," he said.

As far as the daily is aware, the Swedish government's decision is related to the far-right party Sweden Democrats, which achieved a strong election result in the country.

While they were excluded from the coalition, it was agreed with the government coalition that the topic of ferry Estonia must be continued with. Bohlin said that the Sweden Democrats is a party that supports the government, but does not hold ministerial positions in the government. However, this means that they have the right to have a say in the coalition's activities.

"The 2023 Spring Fiscal Policy Bill and the amending budget are jointly negotiated in the government and the Sweden Democrats also play a supporting role," he said.

The received money is to be used for two things -- bringing up the bow ramp of the ferry, which. according to the official version. is the main culprit of the accident, and filming the car deck, of which there is no more comprehensive material.

So far, the private investigation led by Margus Kurm has reached the farthest point on the car deck. During the investigation, it was discovered that two of the doors of the car deck, intended for passengers, were closed, but according to the report of the Joint Accident Investigation Commission (JAIC), in addition to the ventilation openings, water escaped from the deck namely through the doors.

However, this has not yet been fully confirmed, because no one has seen all the doors to say whether they are broken or not. It has also not been possible to check the situation in the course of the underwater research carried out by the Estonian Safety Investigation Bureau (OJK) so far, because going to the car deck full of wreckage with the equipment they were using would most likely have meant that the highly expensive equipment would have remained there.

An even bigger job will be bringing the bow ramp, which is known to have broken off from the ship's hull and is lying on the seabed, resting on MS Estonia's bow, to the surface.

"According to the current official report, the ramp is the cause of the sinking of the ferry, and that is why it must be thoroughly investigated," OJK chief Mart Ots told the daily.

He added that the ramp will be brought to Estonia after it is raised to the surface, but it is not yet known where it will be stored.