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Old 09-28-2004, 10:10 AM
Raoul Fiebig's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Paderborn, Germany
Posts: 8,512
Hello everybody,

ten years ago today, one of the greatest disasters in peacetime maritime history occurred when the Estonian cruise ferry "Estonia" sank in the Baltic during a heavy storm.

At least 852 passengers and crew lost their lives when the 14-year-old ship capsized and sank in a mere 30 minutes. Only 137 people were rescued.

While a Joint Accident Investigation Commission of the Estonian, Finnish and Swedish governments claimed that the ship was lost as a result of a constructive failure of the bow visor and ramp (blaming German ship builder Meyer Werft), independent experts found out the failure was the result of bad maintenance and manipulation. Also, in its last incarnation the ship was being used for a service it had not been constructed for.

Strong indications that the accident was actually an act of terror or at least a criminal act (the Russian mafia has repeatedly been named as being probably responsible) such as strange holes in the ship’s hull which according to renowned experts are the result of explosions have been ignored by the authorities until this very day. Instead, the holes were covered with sand making it impossible to study them closer.

The ship remains lying in some 80 meters of water.
Best regards,

Raoul Fiebig

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Old 09-29-2004, 12:42 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 13
Thanks you for this reminder, Raoul. Over 700 people lost their lives. How tragic, and how awful that there are still questions about the cause of the sinking.

You remind me that our USA news covers very little international news, and I'm sure completely missed this tragic anniversary. If it doesn't have to do with the war in Iraq, we don't hear about it. Probably most people have never heard of Estonia anyway.

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Old 09-29-2004, 04:43 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Illinois
Posts: 1,370
I do remember hearing about it. However, "Luxury Lady" makes a good point about not hearing much about events going on in the world that don't directly affect us. I suspect that's somewhat true no matter where one lives in the world. How dependent we are on the media - and often unaware of their own subtle (or not so subtle) biases!

Was there any official commemoration of the sinking, Raoul?
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Old 09-30-2004, 02:50 AM
Raoul Fiebig's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Paderborn, Germany
Posts: 8,512
Hi Karen,

as far as media coverage is concerned, it really depends from country to country. We do have quite a large amount of world-wide media coverage over here, and it is not only focused on the most obvious topics (such as Iraq or the recent Hurricanes). I guess one of the reasons might be that Germany is small compared with the U.S., and for whatever reason there might be a larger desire to hear about international news.

But to come back to the original topic, yes, there were official commemmorations both in Tallinn and Stockholm (the ship sank enroute between the two capitals). During both ceremonies, relatives again demanded an independent investigation of the sinking. Hundreds of them have founded an "'Estonia' Victims Foundation" to express that desire.
Best regards,

Raoul Fiebig

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