06/02/14 Estonia Investigation
New in-depth investigations will commence on the disaster with the ferry ‘Estonia’. In September 1994 she sank during a Baltic crossing from Tallinn to Stockholm. 852 lives were lost in this tragedy. Despite the official investigation report issued after the accident, questions remained on why and how the vessel capsized and sank. Different theories still exist with regard to the actual causes of the disaster.

Recently the Swedish government agency VINNOVA decided to finance international research to investigate thoroughly the capsizing and sinking process of the ‘Estonia’. The outcome of the studies should lead to a conclusive assessment of what happened and the new insights will be brought forward to improve safety of existing and new passenger ferries. Research funds have been granted to two independent international consortiums, which will report their findings within two years.

MARIN is part of a consortium that will be coordinated by the Swedish sister-institute SSPA in Gothenburg. The other partners in this consortium are Ship Stability Research Centre (Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow) in Scotland and the Chalmers University in Gothenburg. The total funding is 8 million Swedish kroner (865.000 euro).

To investigate the progress of flood water through open spaces like cabins, decks, staircases and engine room, MARIN will perform tests with large scale models of the internal arrangement of the ‘Estonia’. Computer simulations will be used to investigate the behaviour of the ship in different combinations of waves and wind to deduce the most likely circumstances and reasons for the sinking. The result of these investigations will serve for the other partners as basis to derive the final conclusions on what happened.

An second, independent study (of 324.000 euro) will be carried out by a German consortium consisting of Hamburgische Schiffbau Versuchsanstalt (Hamburg), Technical University Hamburg-Harburg and TraffGo HT (Duisburg).

February 14, 2006
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