Tallinn — The latest enquiry commission into the sinking of a passenger ferry - the Estonia - in the Baltic Sea in 1994 agreed Thursday with previous probes that a design and construction flaw was most likely to blame for the disaster. The Estonia sank en route from Tallinn in Estonia to Stockholm in Sweden on September 28, 1994, with the loss of 852 lives. There were just 134 survivors from one of the world’s worst maritime disasters.
An Estonian government commission established in 2005 concluded on February 19 that there was no evidence the disaster was linked to the covert transportation of Swedish military equipment on board the vessel.
Previous enquires established that Swedish military intelligence shipped equipment using the Estonia on September 14 and 20, 1994, but the commission found no proof it was carrying a third consignment when it set sail on September 27.
The commission did not entirely rule out the possibility that there may have been a hole in the hull, though an interim report published in 2007 discounted theories that one could have been caused by an explosion of undeclared military ordinance, as some relatives of victims have suggested.
“Such theories cannot be convincingly disproved by theoretical studies based on the existing evidence,” the commission said, adding that only a detailed exploration of the wreck on the sea bed could establish whether the Estonia had been holed.
On the basis of available evidence collected the established theory that the bow doors were poorly designed or constructed remained the most likely scenario, the commission concluded.