Estonia Ferry Sinking Not Caused by Blast, Paper Says

Published December 22nd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Suggestions that the sinking in 1994 of the ferry Estonia with the loss of 852 lives may have been caused by an explosion on board are not borne out by seismological evidence, a newspaper report said Friday. 

The Postimees daily said data from Helsinki University's seismological station showed no evidence of an explosion in the Baltic Sea on September 27, 1994, the day the ferry went down. 

Finnish seismologist Matti Tarviainen told the paper that the Helsinki seismological station's equipment was capable of detecting an underwater blast of even 800 grams (two pounds) of explosives. 

"If the Estonia ferry had sunk because of a hole in its side, it would have required a significantly powerful explosive device," he was quoted as saying. 

"The device should have been very big, at least two dozen of kilos or so." 

However the only explosion registered at the seismological center on the day in question was a routine blasting operation at a north-east Estonian oil-shale mine, he said, adding that the station was 180 kilometers from both the mine and the site in the Baltic Sea where the ferry sank. 

According to the official investigation report, the ferry sank because of the faulty construction of the bow door, which allowed water to flow in as the door was ripped off in stormy weather. 

But a controversial German journalist, Juta Rabe, and American millionaire Greeg Bemis have been campaigning for the past half-year to prove the ferry sank because of an explosion on board. 

They conducted a diving expedition to the wreck last August and claim they found evidence of an explosion on board, which has not been confirmed by experts -- TALLINN (AFP)  

 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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