© 2006 The Independent Fact Group
Possible reasons behind a cover up regarding the MV Estonia disaster
Subject: Possible reasons behind a cover up regarding the MV Estonia disaster Type: Analysis By: The Independent Fact Group Status: Proved Date: 2006-04-25 Version: Report - English
The Fact Group's aims and objectives:
The Independent Fact Group was formed in early 1999 to clear up the many question marks about the M/V Estonia disaster, in a structured and methodical manner. There has been considerable speculation concerning the efforts of the Joint Accident Investigation Commission (JAIC) and the political, legal and media treatment of the accident and its tragic consequences.
The aim is to give those in authority an opportunity, based on the facts of the case, to decide to review this matter, with a view to further action. Our efforts also enable the media and the general public to decide on the basis of the objective information which is available concerning the accident, and the conclusions to be drawn from a technical and civic perspective.
The overall objective is the setting up of a new investigation of the accident which can describe the course of the accident in detail, and its causes, with subsequent assessment of the moral and legal responsibilities, where this is feasible.
We are motivated by the belief that a properly conducted investigation will contribute to maritime safety and by our concern for Sweden's reputation as a nation which upholds safety at sea and the rule of law.
In the course of this task, we have assumed that the solution of a problem is never better than the validity of the basic assumptions. As a result, we have stipulated some methodological principles, of which the following are the most fundamental:
1. All scenarios must be considered to be true until the contrary is proved.
2. All observations, assumptions or statements on which a scenario is based must be considered false until the contrary is proved.
We have defined a number of criteria for concluding that an observation, assumption or statement may be considered to be true or false, and processes and routines for the route to be taken in clarifying an observation, assumption or statement. These criteria involve technical, empirical, statistical and/or semantic requirements which, if they are relevant must all be met if the observation, assumption or statement is to be classified as an objective fact.
The materials we have worked with are primarily the documents, audio recordings and films in the Swedish Accident Investigation Commission's Estonia archive, together with supplementary information from other public sources and, in addition documentation from the Meyer shipyard and its independent commission.
Summary of this report
In this report the Independent Fact Group for the first time officially show the complex involvement from different parties that have no or little interest in a new Independent Investigation of the MV Estonia disaster. Our graphic analysis are based on the findings where it over the years have been proved that the parties described have had a substantial reason to hide, cover up or avoid the truth.
This report is not to be seen as an individual proof of the statements herein. This report describes together with other reports and facts known at the time, the relations between possible reachable level of knowledge regarding the disaster as a result from the involvement of different parties in the MV Estonia and any matter connected with the ship, it´s trade, the disaster and any related business.
A number of known and also unknown parties are involved in the MV Estonia disaster and the aftermath of it. Those parties are summarized in this graphic analysis and their influence in the matter have been found to be substantial. Any new independent investigation team will find itself standing against strong interests to continue to cover up the true facts behind the MV Estonia disaster, all described in the following graphic analysis.
Picture 1. Possible level of knowledge and possible level to reach.
A. Regarding the Safety at Sea:
We have a general Public demand to find the truth and thereby improve the Safety at Sea. There are no indications that the general public interest want to hide or cover up anything regarding to the disaster. We also have an interest from Maritime and other Administrations to find the truth by the same reasons as the general public demand. We also have an Industry with an interest to improve the Safety at Sea.
In regard to the interest of improving Safety at Sea from those parties described here in "A" we find that it would be possible to reach a level of the investigation in correspondence with the demand and the truth.
B. Regarding the Responsibility for the disaster or any circumstances related to it:
We find that there are at least four major interested parties that can have substantial reasons to hide or cover up the truth. Those parties are the Operator, the Ship Yard, the Industry and the different Maritime Administrations involved in either the certification of the ship or the operation of the same (see earlier report: "Forgery to hide lack of seaworthiness" or "Urkundsförfalskning för att dölja bristande sjövärdighet"). Regarding the Industry it is important to note that several different companies were involved in the construction and building of the ship, the maintenance of it and not to forget, the business following as a consequence of the disaster (for example deliveries of watertight doors on the car deck on roro ferries, a million dollar business).
In regard to the interest of finding any responsible parties of those described here in "B" we find that it will be very difficult or impossible to reach more than a fraction of an acceptable level of truth, shown in picture 1 as "Possible level to reach".
C. Regarding possible involvement from the Executive parties :
We find that there are at least five major interested parties with executive status that can have a substantial reason to hide or cover up the truth. Those are different Military and Industrial Organization's or parties involved in the transports of military material on board the ship. It is the Governments with knowledge in any military operations related to the matter and also other Organization's within the states with the same knowledge or acting on order from the Government. It is also other Organization's that act on order to protect any state or industrial interest related to either the military connections to the MV Estonia or matters regarding the responsibility for the disaster described in "B".
In regard to the Executive involvement described in "C" and their interest of hiding the truth and to continue the cover up "at any cost" we find that there is a substantial risk that it will be impossible to reach more than some knowledge of the possible circumstances regarding the disaster and the aftermath of it. This is shown in picture 1 as "Possible level of knowledge".
The Independent Fact Group find that a new Investigation Team must be International with no involvement of any one of the parties described in this report or earlier involved in the first investigation of the MV Estonia disaster. Even though it will be the case, any new independent investigation team will find itself standing against strong interests to continue to cover up the true facts behind the MV Estonia disaster.
We dedicate this report to all those who lost their lives at sea as a result of a ships lack of seaworthiness.
If MV Estonia had been seaworthy many of the more than 850 persons who lost their lives would have had a chance to survive.
Troon, Scotland 25 April 2006
The Independent Fact Group