© 2000 The Independent Fact Group


Non-evaluated damages and misleading conclusions

Paper NF-5, the International MV Estonia Seminar, Stockholm 29-30 May 2000

By Johan Ridderstolpe - The Independent Fact Group


From a material covering tens of thousands of documents, hundred hours of video films and involving a broad panel of experts, the Joint Accident Investigation Commission did not manage to correctly evaluate the most central parts of the evidence collected.

Various descriptions of scenarios and also whom to blame has been spread mostly as rumours during the years after the accident. If the accident had been properly investigated and followed by a trustworthy report, rumours had been eliminated to those few that easily with the answers in hand could been described as plain fiction.

Now, however, the situation is such that the investigation report itself is more of a fiction, where a large part of the facts used by the Commission to conclude their only scenario are assumptions or non verified information, as for example the departure time, route, speed, course and even the weather situation. Conclusions are also drawn without a thorough evaluation of the most important evidence found. A scenario not based on solid ground and correct evaluations of the facts and damages found, can not be presented as anything other than a non-conclusive scenario.

From the extensive material and documentation the damages related to this investigation can be sorted in the following two categories:

1. Damages found by the Commission, correct or incorrect conclusions made,

2. Damages documented by the Commission, unidentified and not evaluated,

Important damages in category 1 - incorrect conclusions made:

a) The mating boxes on the ramp
b) The preventer wires for the ramp
c) The bottom plating on the visor

Important damages in category 2 - unidentified and not evaluated damages:

a) The missing ramp railings, cut off and found at the seabed
b) The severe damage to the bulbous bow, port underside
c) A hole in the hull

The damages in category 1 have all been used as substantial evidence to prove the Commission scenario. The incorrect conclusions regarding these damages have lead to a lack of evidence for the scenario.

The damages in category 2 had, if correctly evaluated, altered the scenario concluded by the Commission.

Continue I (to part one, damage to the ramp)

Continue II (to part two, damage to the visor and hull)