© 2003 The Independent Fact Group
Background to Inspections
The Inspections of other ferries regarding passenger safety:
The Independent Fact Group was originally formed to clear up the many question marks about the MV Estonia disaster, in a structured and methodical manner. As a consequence we started to look into the present safety situation on other ferries, mainly to get reference material in regard to the Estonia disaster.
We soon became aware of that the safety situation for passengers (and crew) on those ferries we inspected, were unsatisfactory and could even in some cases be described as disastrous. Alarming was the fact that is does not seem to matter much whether the inspected ferry was "new" or rather old. Symptomatic for all ferries were that most "divergence" from the international rule's should have been able to correct with relatively small efforts and economic means. But, in the same time, most of the faults were such that in the case of an emergency or larger accident, people would definitely run the risk of being a victim for no other reason than a sloppy safety culture within the maritime administrations and the operators.
In the course of this task, we have focused only on the passenger and crew safety on board, covering inspections done in those areas on board that are open to the public, or where we have been invited. The inspections have been performed by a "three step procedure" where:
1. The first step is to get an overview of the whole ship, taking notes on issues that on first sight can be identified as unsatisfactory. This is done following a routine covering the different areas to look in to.
2. All observations gathered in the first step is then to be checked in relation to the appropriate regulations for the ship, and thereafter a second more thorough inspection is to be done with detailed notes, photos etc.
3. The third step is then to be performed after leaving the ship by putting the inspection report together. Sometimes it can also also cover other additional investigations of earlier inspections done by the appropriate maritime administration. In the third step the appropriate regulation is the most important tool.
The inspections has resulted in different inspection " Reports". W e have also sent the reports to the maritime administration that are to look into safety matters regarding the specific ship. However, the "result" or appropriate "action" from the maritime administration has been few or none. But they have, with a negative description of our work, been" kind enough" to ask the concerned operator whether our findings are correct or not, giving them the chance to answer upon the report. It is not difficult to understand that the operator will describe the report as "nonsense" and the safety situation on board as perfect. But anyway, the facts are there for anyone to look into.