Talk:MS Estonia

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Conspiracy Theory[edit]

Conspiracy Theory, most interesting: http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?noframes;read=63541 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.217.40.190 (talkcontribs) 08:21, 1 May 2005

Er, Completely unreliable and unsourced information with a quite severely extreme theory. Not factual, not neutral. Not worthy of mention in what's supposed to be a neutral and factual article. Dux Ducis Hodiernus (talk) 21:22, 14 May 2013 (UTC)


Not sure you can really say that the samples were illegally obtained as the ship is in international waters 68.203.12.47 (talk) 03:15, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Flaws in emergency response[edit]

Would it be wrong if I just point out that this section looks a little weak.

"Searched liferafts had to be marked so time wasn't wasted by searching the same raft multiple times. In later phases of the rescue operation, this was done by cutting the roofs of the rafts."

Is the above a flaw?

"At least two should be brought along as the rescue work was exhausting"

The above sounds somewhat opinionated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Minshullj (talkcontribs) 00:39, 28 September 2005

I've deleted the part about listing preventing the lifeboats from being launched from this section. Clearly this is important (and is mentioned in the previous section), but it is not a flaw in the response. This whole section looks a bit weak to me too...--Sheep2000 20:53, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

It's easy to say that at least two rescue men per helicopter would have been needed, but under the circumstances that was probably not possible. The rescue helicopters were flown in from all over Finland and Sweden (some arriving from as far as Finnish Lapland, nearly a away) as fast as possible, and getting extra personnel onboard would have been extremely difficult. Plus there are only a small number of people with proper training for that kind of mission. Two rescue men would have certainly been preferrable, but having only one per helicopter was hardly a "flaw" but simply something dictated by nescessity.
As for the lifeboats, if I remember correctly the problem was not (only) that they couldn't be lowered, but they also simply weren't seaworthy enough. The Estonias lifeboard were small, uncovered boats that capsized easily, very different from lifeboats installed in newer passenger ships (I have a book on the disaster stashed away somewhere, but I don't seem to be able to find it right now. If I remember correctly it claimed the liferafts were actually more seaworthy and offered better protection than the lifeboats). - Kjet 07:51, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Having spent quite some time on this, every line of the previous article was correct even if some of the pilot's observations could be confused with the SOLAS response. I felt that the effect on marine safety was so important that the section needed expanding. I changed the title to avoid appearing to cast inappropriate blame on the rescuers. I'd welcome any comments/help on the references. I'm aware that the liferaft reference is to a private firm but it shows the concerns that I know the British MAIB have about the training accidents. JRPG 18:25, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

New topic: I changed the second sentence to read: The ship's sinking, on September 28, 1994, in the Baltic Sea, claiming 852 lives was one of the worst maritime disasters in modern history.


The reason for the existence of the entry--any entry--should be clear in the lede graf. There are lots of ferries in the Baltic, not all of them have an encyclopedia entry. This one does because it (a) sank (b) claiming 852 lives, and (c) was one of the worst maritime disasters in modern history. This last bit that I added could be made even more specific, for example one of the worst since a particular date, or worst since a particular other disaster or worst maritime disaster in peacetime since a particular date or disaster.

My point is that a reader goes to an encyclopedia entry to answer the general question, What is the M/S Estonia? What was that all about? The very first graf should answer his question, at least in general terms. Example: Who was Stalin? One sentence answer: A brutal Soviet Russian dictator who solidified and expanded the Communist regime while killing millions of his own countrymen and causing inestimable misery. RUReady2Testify 18:44, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Current even[edit]

I am adding up the stuff on the ongoing re-investigations by the Estonian prosecuter-general and in parallel by the Estonian Parliament as it comes.

With regard to the fact that Estonian MEP Evelyn Sepp declared that re-investigation of the wreckage - meaning lifting Estonia Agreement and new divings (and raising the wreckage if necessary) is "imminent", as well as the fact that she declared possible connection between (criminal - Bete 10:23, 9 June 2006 (UTC)) shipments by the Swedish intelligency and the disaster, this article may need to be designated as current event. I leave it to those more familiar than me with the rules to decide. Bete 10:23, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Additional material[edit]

At the risk of sounding far more provocative than I want to be, I believe that for once the conspiracy theorists have a point. I intend to add a line saying that unlike Estonia, both Princess Victoria and Herald of Free Enterprise capsised before sinking and that a number of marine experts (and MEP Lars Ångström) have said that only a hole in the hull below the waterline would have caused Estonia's vertical sinking. That does seem to make sense. The cause of the hole is of course another matter entirely.

Re flaws in emergency response, having read the UK MAIB report on lifeboats,

http://www.ukpandi.com/UkPandi/resource.nsf/Files/lifeboat_safety/$FILE/lifeboat_safety.pdf

and many of MAIB's other excellent free reports, I am aware that lifeboats drills cause a disproportionate number of fatal accidents even in port. For that reason, the Captain of a ferry in the Irish sea was justified when he decided not to lower lifeboats in a gale to rescue a passenger overboard.

http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources/koningin-beatrix.pdf


Is there a source for the 15 metre wave heights stated? I have seen 4 metres. Have any other Swedish wrecks been encased in concrete or is this a change of policy?

Feel free to contact me.

JRPG 20:51, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Um... at least according to all reports I have read, the Estonia did capsize before sinking. -- Kjet 15:00, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Hi Kjet. At least you read it! I think the point the structural experts make is that water on the car deck through the bow doors would make the ferry capsize 180 degrees immediateley c.f. Herald Of Free Enterprise, though that landed on a sand bank. Estonia listed increasingly but slowly to starboard and finally went over 90 degrees before sinking. http://heiwaco.tripod.com/epunkt11.htm I don't intend to add any conspiracy theory, I just want to avoid implying unnecessarily that Herald Of Free Enterprise events were very similar.

Re: the rescue, I've read dozens of British Marine Accident Investigation Branch reports and don't think any search and rescue would have avoided very heavy casualties in the condition. Lifeboats on davits rarely seem useable once there is a list. The most effective method on fishing boats (most of the cases they investigate are fishing boats) seems liferafts which inflate automatically once the ship has sunk ..but these require survival suits and training, not practical for the passengers.

JRPG 23:03, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

I very much respect pointing out the differentiation between Estonia and the Herald of Free Enterprise in the article, so I'm not disagreeing at all with this comment, just making a few pointers. The big difference between Estonia and the Herald was that the Herald didn't have a watertight ramp inside the bow gate. So in that one, when the gate failed the cardeck flooded immidiately. The Estonia had a watertight ramp which was only partially open during the time of the sinking (that is my impression anyway), which resulted in the cardeck not flooding outright but slowly fillng with water, which explains the gradual listing. I guess the wording on the article should be changed from "When the visor broke off the ship, it brought down the ramp" as it didn't really bring down the ramp, only damage it enough for water to start entering the cardeck slowly but surely.
I also definately agree about the points about the rescue. Plus I have to add that the Estonia's lifeboats were an outdated type, uncovered and quite small, which made them practically useless in such heavy seas.
-- Kjet 23:27, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

A few points that aren't quite right above, from someone who has just read the official report. It says:

- The ramp was compromised (and water started entering the car deck) almost as soon as the visor was damaged : the damaged visor was in contact with the ramp and each time the visor lifted, it forced the ramp open slightly.

- When the visor broke off, it dragged the ramp open completely.

- Water DIDN'T enter only through the front of the car deck. Once the ship had listed sufficiently to starboard, waves could reach the lower cabin windows. It was when some large windows broke, that enough water entered to cause the rapid capsize, and the final sinking by the stern.

(Chris Jones 15 Jan 2012) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.151.135.179 (talk) 01:02, 15 January 2012 (UTC)


Is there any reliable source for the water temperature? I had a Royal Navy helicopter survival course which suggested that September is one of the warmest months. 1994 was also one of the hottest years so the sea should have been much warmer. Unless there are strong objections, I intend to replace the 8 degrees with a reference http://www.iopan.gda.pl/oceanologia/48Ssiege.pdf

In figure 1, the wreck is at around position 17. From fig 5 the mean temperature at that point for the whole of 1994 was over 8. From figure 7, the August 1994 temperature for that position was around 19 degrees. It seems therefore reasonable to say that the temperature a month later was at least 13 degrees. Still going to cause death from hypothermia but more slowly than 8 degrees.

Re the "flawed response", I think the problem is the section title, not the content. The reality is that ships couldn't help. In the UK, RAF and Navy helicopters are used to rescue civilians, but only if available and most of those rescued are sea farers who have had have survival training. I remember one occasion when their engines were removed for spares. I understand the RAF send a winchman down but the Navy expect people to be able to attach the rope themselves! Fishing boat sinkings are often even more sudden and alarm is given by the EPIRB but this didn't happen here.

Estonia is of course an extremely sensitive issue but does anyone have any objections to renaming this, "practical limitations of the rescue", and including some of Kjet's comments?

JRPG 16:30, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Black out?[edit]

According to the article, "Due to black-out she could not give her position which delayed the rescue operation somewhat". What is this black-out referrred to? Evil Monkey - Hello 01:25, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Loss of power. -- Kjet 11:26, 28 September 2007 (UTC)
That would make sense. I was interpreting black-out as being Blackout (wartime). Evil Monkey - Hello 23:13, 28 September 2007 (UTC)
Apparently "blackout" is a term commonly used for loss of power in the maritime profession. It was used in the radio communication from the Estonia to Silja Europa (in English, even though most of the communication was in Finnish), which is probably where it found it's way into the article. -- Kjet 09:23, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
There was a NATO military exercise nearby - so maybe a communication blackout? "MS Estonia catastrophe occurred on the first day of a 10-day NATO naval exercise called Cooperative Venture 94, in which more than 15 ships and "a number of maritime aircraft" were prepared to conduct "humanitarian and search and rescue operations" in nearby waters. " — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.147.184.125 (talk) 22:30, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Citation box[edit]

We have acquired a somewhat unwelcome box relating to citations. I've reworded a section so that only one reference is needed to the New Statesman article on British Intelligence. I've also shortened the item about the murder as there are no English references to it -and it's not what the ship is noted for. Do we really need so many red links to fairly minor items? I don't see them justifying their own entry. I'm happy to remove them if they're not needed. At that point are we allowed to remove the box? JRPG 18:04, 1 November 2007 (UTC)


New research '08[edit]

There's been conducted some computer simulations by Hamburg University, that sheds new light on the disaster. I'm not a wikipedia writer, but i thought I'd put it here, if someone wants to update the article and/or further reference. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,527875,00.html —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.150.83.165 (talk) 19:32, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the link and it will be interesting to see what the professionals say in March. I do have doubts however if this will vindicate the official report whose critics include competent experts. Re the inadequacy of evacuation from ferries in a storm, I think this is universally agreed and regulations were changed -but there isn't a solution! Lifeboats are unlaunchable in rough weather, liferafts are dangerous for the crew and helicopters are best when people are already in the water. Possibly the best suggestion is a 'citadel' on board but this can only be done for new ships, and at considerable cost. JRPG (talk) 12:08, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Page move[edit]

This page, as it is now, is subordinated to M (because of the backslash). I'll move the page to fix this problem; I just wanted to explain the move for anyone concerned. Parsecboy (talk) 17:18, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

I see that there's a redirect at MS Estonia; I'll have to have an admin do this one. Parsecboy (talk) 17:20, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Subpages are not allowed in the article namespace, so this effort was futile. See also Wikipedia:Subpages. –Finlux (talk) 01:10, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Free surface effect[edit]

There is no mention in this article of the Free surface effect that would have effected the ships stability and helped to cause it to sink. It is analogous to trying to carry a frying pan full of water. The instability would have been created once water flowed into the vehicle bay. --Zven (talk) 00:50, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

You're right! This is the main problem with water on the car deck of these ships. Whilst I'm deeply skeptical about the official version, I agree a word about the mechanism would be useful and I'll add it -unless you have already done so. JRPG (talk) 22:59, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Looks good what yourve added to the article, incidentally it was also factor in the sinking of the Wahine disaster where hurricane force winds pushed the ship onto a reef first, apparently it forced a re-design of the height of deck vent height in future vessels. I was talking to a retired ship captain who told me that they use the free surface effect to their advantage by manipulating the ballast to make ships slightly less stable which can improve the ride depending on the conditions. He also sailed for 3 years with Captain Hector Gordon Robertson after the Wahine disaster. --Zven (talk) 07:24, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Independent investigations[edit]

I have a big problem with this paragraph as it now stands.

Quote: "A number of theories exist to explain the disaster, elements of which have been vindicated by new evidence gained from independent investigations, as well as testimony from witnesses...Davis says the ship was carrying a secret cargo of military equipment smuggled from the Russians by the British MI6 on behalf of the CIA, as part of ongoing efforts to monitor the development of Russia's weapons."

Quote: "The plot portrays the Swedish government as being responsible for using the ship to covertly transport Russian high-tech components to the United States...According to Rabe, divers hired by the Swedish government (signing contracts swearing lifetime secrecy) spent hours breaking into cabins frantically searching for a black attaché case carried by a Russian space technology dealer, Aleksandr Voronin (died 2002)."

The theories themselves are complete nonsense, and to claim that they have been "vindicated" in any way is just total lunacy.

Considering that these conspiracy theories are pretty notable, though, I'm loath to remove the whole section. Also, for some unimaginable reason, this section has survived for a considerable time. Therefore, I consider it appropriate conserve some description of these theories, though the amount of space they currently have should be reduced considerably.Baeksu (talk) 08:23, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

I strongly support condencing the section about the independent investigation and rewriting their tone. The section would also benifit from additional in-line references. Unfortunately this article "suffered" from a number of edits by a group of users who apparently believe(d) in the theories of Jutta Rabe and others and who took a very hostile stance towards anyone who attempted to rewrite the article with more neutral account of the conspiracy theories. Hopefully the time would not be ripe for rewriting the article in a more neutral and realistic tone. — Kjet (talk · contribs) 16:48, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Rewrite is complete.
I changed the section title to "Alternative theories". I also moved the movie plot summary to the article Baltic Storm.
I think it is enough to describe the alternative theories and the accusation of a cover-up. We don't need to add a paragraph for every instance someone has publicly supported those theories, or accused the Swedish government of a cover up, as that does not add to the value of the article, and also including them would give the false impression that these theories are widely supported and backed by mountains of evidence.
Furthermore, I completely removed some paragraphs, for which it was not possible to find any reliable source. I don't think these paragraphs contained any relevant information anyway, so I am not sorry to see them go.Baeksu (talk) 04:53, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Good work, the article comes across as better and certainly less biased after the rewrite. Next it would probably be good to check the non-inline references in the References-section, as many of those seemed to be referring the now-removed/rewritten sections of the invenpendent investigations -section. — Kjet (talk · contribs) 15:47, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Having at long last mastered citations, I'll have a go at providing or rationalising them using reputable sources as per Kjet's suggestion. Hopefully we can then remove tags. JRPG (talk) 18:58, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Disaster, conspiracy theories and national prestige[edit]

There's been lots of writing (in the media and on the web) about secret holes and secret arms containers, but the real nasty spots that the disaster points at are how difficult it is to charge a wharf or a shipping line over construction errors/depreciation that have contributed to a ship going under. Once it's sunk, things can be very hard to prove (it may be proven that therw were weaknesses or neglect of upkeep, but proving that these decisively contributed to a ship going down is a whole different thing!), and there is no one who has a sufficiently fat wallet and a strong enough interest linked to such a wallet to take lengthy trials and appeal processes or fund an evenhanded investigation. The insurance firms, such as Lloyds, don't want to brand the shipbuilder or the firm that ran the ship, that could simply push up the sums the insurance company would have to pay out; if it's classed as force majeure there's much less to be paid for Lloyds or for the conpanies where the actual trips (as opposed to lost or damaged lives) were insured.

Also in this case, the Estonia was a flagship of post-Soviet Estonian ship traffic, and´almost a national symbol. Any hint that the Estonian crew or Estonian security people had not been performing with excellence could be regarded as a smear on the nation, which was extremely touchy after the disaster and just three years after Estonia had again become a free country. So it was not really possible, in a disaster inquiry that would inevitably be dominated by people linked to the Swedish, Estonian and Finnish states, to work it through as if it had been a deplorable disaster but one that didn't affect anyone's prestige or anyone's respect. In the absence of a powerful indictment of the wharf and a credible, understandable discussion of how the ship's security had been mismanaged and jeopardized long before the final night, conspiracy theories, often linked to the cold war, took center stage.

It's not sensational to say that lifting the entire ship to the surface or looking up every single body would have been both prohibitively expensive and technically challenging - and very dangerous to the divers. But because the disaster happened just after parliamentary elections in Sweden, about a week before the new cabinet ws due to take over, and some government ministers gave a rash promise to "make every effort to retrieve all bodies that can be retrieved" - easy to say into a mike, hard to fulfill - that promise became tne Holy Grail of some close-knit groups linked to the survivors and relatives, and when it dawned on the authoritries that the promise was likely unworkable, their reversal became the token "sign" that there was a dreadful secret being covered up at all costs. That's tabloid logic, and I think it's significant that it happened in Sweden but not in Finland or Estonia. Sweden had never been rocked by a transport disaster of this kind and magnitude, and the nation was mentally ill prepared for it. Finland and Estonia had experienced blood-letting wars within the last few generations and there was more of a capacity, or a will, to contain the indignation, accept the disaster as a kind of destiny and move on. In Sweden, the anger and grief of many people mutated into a rage at the government and at politicians in general - such an easy target, and so futile. This still colours the memory of the disaster. Strausszek (talk) 01:37, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

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Victims / numbers[edit]

Something is wrong in numbers: total 852, but 501 Swedes + 285 Estonians + 17 Latvians + 10 Finns + 44 others = 857 (I think total is correct). --Aulis Eskola (talk) 19:17, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

But the most interesting thing is that, if you check the victims list which exist on Internet, there are indeed 857 names with age and nationality (and with no repetitions or misspelled names) (!)--Olonia (talk) 20:38, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Estonia report files[edit]

The English text is the authoritative version, as the first document says "Should there be any discrepancies between translations and this English text, the English text is to be considered the authoritative version." There are also Estonian and Finnish translations. The English text was "checked for linguistic correctness by Tim Crosfield MA".

English:

WhisperToMe (talk) 16:18, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Hi Whisper. Think there have also been a few problems with vandals changing numbers and dead links. This was the first article I made a non-trivial contribution to but I didn't know how to fully cite references and many have now become dead links. Otherwise I would recheck it. JRPG (talk) 22:36, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Hi, JRPG! To make things easier for us, I'll list the files and show the archives:

PART I: Factual Information:

Part II: Associated Facts

PART 3:

PART 4:

WhisperToMe (talk) 01:26, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

"Alternative theories" section needs cleanup/should be removed[edit]

It's worded dubiously and is misleading(specific information left out, gives too much weight to small circumstantial irregularities). I have tried to fix up some of it, and to include some of the more important details. Previously the first paragraph for an example talked about just general "Military equipment" whilst in the referenced articles they specified repeatedly how this was ELECTRONIC, and non explosive materiel, whilst the section on the wiki talked about possible bombs, yet somehow left this information out. Also dead links on highly controversial information, which isn't exactly optimal. Highly misleading, and far from the only problems. Tagging the section to let people know. Personally I feel like it should be removed, but first at least it should be given a chance to be fixed before such a absolute step is done. However I don't really see how it contributes to the article at its current state, and feels more detrimental than actually informative.

Dux Ducis Hodiernus (talk) 21:06, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

New posts go in the end of the page. Tupsumato (talk) 08:32, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
I'll try to remember that, thanks. Dux Ducis Hodiernus (talk) 10:06, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Sources gone dark[edit]

I'm not happy with the sources of this article. The link to the official report on the disaster is dead. A lot is drawn from web archive. I pulled some documents from IMO's site only to see most of the links being dead. This sources on this disaster are slipping from memory. I dump my memory here, for now that's only more broken links. I was about age 25 when this disaster and its handling made headlines.

  • The idea of encasing the wreckage was first mentioned in press by Bill Clinton. This was remarkable as this happened within days after the disaster while the USA appeared to be not involved in the disaster. Mr Clinton used emotional arguments instead of safety of sea lanes. Source needed.
  • There was a documentary on Dutch television where the ship's builder seeks rectification of the official report on the disaster. In this documentary the ship's builder states the system blamed for the disaster was not installed in MV Estonia. The ship's builder sought publicity as they feared claims while the official report can not be revised. Source needed.
  • On the diving ban: On presentation this treaty was baffling, as it was not asked for by citizens and even then resisted or rejected by survivors. The treaty's initial defence on broadcast television by John Mayor, using emotional arguments, made it remarkable. Source needed.
  • The Swedish Navy intervened harshly in an activist diving expedition. It should be mentioned the Swedish Navy intervened in international waters and abducted activists into Swedish territory. Source needed.
  • In a documentary on Dutch television one of the diving activists tells about the intervention of the Swedish Navy. He also states he and his fellow activists observed the Swedish Navy ignoring or protecting a diving expedition run from an unmarked ship. Source needed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mark Scholtens (talkcontribs) 13:20, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Cause of death[edit]

The article states that the victims died "by drowning and hypothermia (the water temperature was 10–11 °C/50–52 °F)". There's no source for that, and it's obviously impossible to know how the people trapped inside the ship actually died. Most or maybe all of them drowned, but there could have been fatal injuries or even heart attacks etc. Could that somehow be added to the article or is it original research, but the sentence kind of is OR right now as well. Whitetabor (talk) 10:25, 28 September 2014 (UTC)