Technical critique - © Johan Ridderstolpe - 1998-99
Updated, se end of document.
The Joint Estonian/Finnish/Swedish Accident Investigation Commission was set up on 29 September 1994, according to a decision taken on 28 September 1994 at Turku, Finland, by the prime ministers of the three countries.
The report is hereby criticized regarding to the technical statements and findings, from which the JAIC have made their final conclusion of the accident. JAIC final report The JAIC final report is refereed in bold followed with my comments.
It is my absolute conclusion that the JAIC final report is wrong regarding the reason to the sinking. The loss of the visor was instead the result of the capsize, and the real reason to the sinking is still not investigated. The loss of the visor did however increase the speed of the sinking. The loss of the visor was possible thanks to very poorly performed repairs to the visor, in particular the upper hinges. When the ship had a list of 30 degrees the visor was lost and fell off towards starboard, with the waves hitting and forcing it to brake completely.
When the visor fell off it damaged, but not opened, the forward ramp.
The damage was massive, primary made by the two hydraulic actuators ripping
their way in the upper foredeck. The port visor hinge broke first immediately
followed by the port visor lock. The visor thereafter fell forward, twisting
starboard and held by the bottom lock and the starboard visor lock until
they broke. Finally the visor ripped of completely, when the starboard hydraulic
actuator ripped its way to the ramp hitting it and bending the upper starboard
part of the ramp forward and outwards. During the loss of the visor the
ramp was bent forward and to starboard, leaving an opening in the top of
the ramp of approximately 40 cm. The locking to the ramp was damaged and
broke, but the ramp was held in place by the starboard side lower locking
that still is in locked position. This together with the damages on the
ramp that could only been done if the ramp was closed when the visor fell
of, is the strongest proof that the ramp was mainly closed during the sinking.
Besides that there is a crew witness that saw the ramp closed when the ship
"In addition, to reach a full understanding of the sequence of events, the Commission has initiated theoretical and experimental studies to analyse inmore detail the vessel's wave-induced motion and loads, structural strength, maneuvering characteristics and stability when flooded."
The commission states that they have done an accurate investigation to get the full understanding of the events during the sinking. It is my meaning that in vital aspects this investigation is poor and in other areas where it is important for the final conclusion, the investigation is not done at all. In stead the commissions make a serial of assumptions that themselves are so vague that it is nothing else than a very sad. Specially regarding the "structural strength" and "stability when flooded" which is the base of their conclusion regarding the events that led to the sinking of M/V Estonia.
"The Commission has furthermore found it necessary to investigate the design procedures and operating history of the vessel as well as to collect information on other bow visor failure incidents and to consider legal and administrative issues."
The investigation regarding the "design procedures" is only carried out for the visor and ramp. Besides of that there are no investigation done regarding several important issues. This is particularly fatal regarding the fin stabilizer system that was adapted during 1994.
The commission also indicates in the preface by the statement "collect
information on other bow visor failure incidents" that they from
the beginning only were interested in bow visor related causes, and the
preliminary cause that the made official even before the visor was found
is the cause the still hold on to.
CONTENTS; SUMMARY, "Part 1 Factual information"
"Chapter 3 is a general technical description of the ESTONIA focusing on the bow visor and ramp installations with detailed data on the design and construction of their locking systems, including the monitoring and control. The history of the vessel and in particular of the bow visor and the ramp installations with regard to maintenance, modifications, damage and repairs is reviewed."
It is absolutely clear that the commission has investigated the accident without being open for alternative causes, and that they have been committed only to the "bow visor and ramp installations".
"Chapter 5" is the second chapter directly dealing with the accident.
......The chapter concludes with an estimate of the ESTONIA's speed during the voyage. The speed profile has been constructed from the DGPS recording of the passenger ferry SILJA EUROPA's speed and is compared with observations of the actual speed."
Clearly the commission has not been able to find what speed Estonia had during the evening and night. In stead they have assumed the speed after comparing with Silja Europa and her speed during the same time. This is particularly remarkable as the speed is vital for their conclusion and the wave forces hitting the visor. See also 12.6.2: "During the first phase of the accident, the ESTONIA is assumed to have been sailing at a speed of about 14 knots into bow-incoming waves with a significant wave height of about 4 meters"
3.2.2 The hull and deck arrangement
"An active roll-stabilising system with fins was installed in January 1994. Provisions for such installation had been made already at the newbuilding stage."
This is the only description there is of the fin stabilizing system that was adapted in January 1994. No technical drawings, no descriptions of the function or any other documentation is presented. Not even the hull is shown with the fin system drawn. As this is vital information regarding the way the ship performed in the sea I find this very remarkable. And also because it was so close before the accident that the system was adapted. My conclusion is that the fin stabilization system if in use, will change the characteristic of the ship's motion through the waves, and has an influence to the maneuverability if the ship is listing. It is also of interest to check if this can be a place where water could enter the ship if the system failed or maybe was hit by anything.
Several witnesses say that the characteristic of the ship's motion changed immediately after some of the blows, in regard to how the ship rolled in the waves. See also 6.3.4 below.
3.2.10 Maintenance, modifications and damage
"The annual drydockings were mostly at the Turku Repair Yard. Two were at the Valmet Helsinki Yard, one after grounding damage in 1984 and one in 1985 for repair of ice damage and for modification of the stern area of the hull by incorporation of the duck tail extension. Two drydockings were made in Stockholm, one in 1985 for repair of a leaking propeller shaft seal and one in 1988 for repair of grounding damage. The damage was surveyed and repaired in dry dock following normal practice. Besides the ice damage in 1985, two other occasions of ice damage were recorded, during the winters of 1982 and 1987. "
That the repairs have followed "normal practice" can hardly be an assurance that later damages as a result from poorly repairs couldn't occur. In stead there is a good ground to suspect that work performed on the hull was poorly performed, this is a conclusion that the commission finds in Figure 8.12. It can also be reasonable to believe that other damages can occur from fatigue or cracks in material as a result of the many repairs performed on the hull. There is no investigation of this, and from the video material that does not cover all the visible starboard hull, it is impossible to find out anything.
Except for the fin stabilization system, an other adaptation to the hull was made when they in 1985 adapted "the duck tail extension". Not even this extension is shown in drawings or any other way.
In conclusion it is obvious that the ships underwater hull in reality is different from the hull the commission has investigated and show in the final report.
6.2.4 Summary of testimonies by the system engineer
Henrik Sillaste (system engineer):
"he said that he heard a heavy blow, heavier than from a wave. Less than a minute later a new blow came and the ship started to heel. Because of the list he went to the engine control room where the third engineer and the motorman were. The move took about two minutes. The surveillance monitor showed a great deal of water entering the car deck from both sides of the ramp, possibly more from starboard than from port."
"...The cars were in place and he could not see any water on the deck but water was pressed in at the ramp."
"Shortly after his arrival in the control room, the watertight doors were closed."
In the testimony from Henrik Sillaste it is clear that the ship listed before water entered the cardeck. The commission states that the list occurred as a result of water entering through a fully open bow ramp. Sillaste could from the engine control room see that the ramp was closed, but that water entered at both sides of the ramp. This relatively small amount of water could not have made the ship to list. Irrespective if the visor already had fell of or not, it had not at this moment forced the ramp to open. Sillaste also states that he could not see any water on the cardeck. The only conclusion is that the list occurred from water already flooding the lower deck 0 and 1. First shortly after this the watertight doors were closed, but it was of course already to late.
6.3.4 Reports from deck 5
Reports from the Pub Admiral
"The metallic blow was not like that of a sledgehammer, but gave a huge, distinct metallic noise, like a shot, reverberating through the hull. It was followed by a slight list."
"Half a minute or a minute after the first blow, there was another, similar blow and the ship started rolling instead of pitching as before. After a short time she moved in different directions and then heeled to starboard. Some witnesses reported that the ship rolled over to starboard three to four times, then back again but not entirely, i.e. rolled further to starboard every time. After the fourth heel she remained in a distinct list.
"One witness stated that after the uncontrolled movements in all directions, the ESTONIA started to roll more and more in all directions and finally only sideways, followed by a moderate heel."
Most witness describes the sound like "blow", "collision", "grounding" and even "explosion". They also describe that the ship started to make uncontrolled movements in al directions, but in spite of that the commission has not investigated any alternative reason how water entered the ship. It is obvious that the sound can have come from an explosion, a mine, a collision or a failure in the hull itself.
7.3.3 The recorded distress traffic
The distress traffic recorded are shown in table 7.3. There are some parts that are specially interesting. The first distress call came late at 01:21.55 and was:
"Mayday Mayday Estonia please"
By adding "Please" indicates that they had tried to send distress calls for quite a while without success.
At 01:24.42 Estonia confirm contact and sends:
"Good morning. Do you speak Finnish?"
The situation at Estonia must now have been extremely serious, but still the start by sending "Good morning". It seems very strange, it could not have been a specially good morning at Estonia. Why the understatement?
"Yes, we have a problem here now, a bad list to the right side. I believe that it was twenty, thirty degrees. Could you come to our assistance and also ask Viking Line to come to our assistance?"
It seems as if they were not aware of the very serious situation, as if they still believed that they could be assisted. At this moment the ship was almost sinking. It seems as if they were not telling what really happened. Just some three minutes later the last message was sent, at 01:29.27 and was:
"Really bad, it looks really bad here now."
At 01:29.39 Estonia was lost by the last few words:
"... you said (unclear)"
Comparing with the time table by the commission, see table 13.3, it seems as Estonia for a longer period of time had a stabile list of around 20 - 30 degrees, something that the crew interpreted as a stabile situation. Thereafter, at around 01.30, the sudden list of around 90 degrees occurred and took the crew by surprise.
This is in such case indicating that the short stabile situation was because of the fact that the deck 0 and 1 under cardeck was flooded. As the ship now was deep in the water the cardeck slowly was flooded because of the partly broken bow ramp, and suddenly the ship capsizes to 90 degrees list.
It is also a fact that the ship at the bottom is resting partly up side down. How is it possible? Most of the weight is in the bottom of a ship. The engines, propeller shafts, tanks for ballast and even the cargoes are in the bottom of the ship. As the accommodation areas must have been flooded to sink the ship. Therefore the car deck is the only part of the ship that could hold enough air to permit the ship to sink with the bottom partly upwards. And that could only be done if the bow ramp was closed during the sinking.
8.5.1 General condition of the wreck
"No external damage other than that in the visor and forward ramp area was observed on the wreck. Window panels were, however, pushed out in several places on the accommodation decks and doors in the aft bulkhead on decks 5 and 7 were missing. A door in the front bulkhead on deck 5 was open."
From the report it can not be found on what side of the ship the damaged doors and windows were. It is very remarkable as this is vital information for how the progressive flooding ever was possible.
As most of the starboard side on deck 4 and 5 are buried in the mud one can conclude that windows and doors they reefer to are at the port side. Therefore those doors and windows can not have had anything with water entering the ship to do.
From the investigation of the ship, deck 4 and 5, described in 8.9 and Figure 8.27 the conclusion is that deck 4 only has been inspected through windows on the port side. Nothing is mentioned of thet windows on the starboard side had been pushed in. Deck 5 has also been investigated through the windows on the port side and from the café at the port side. There is no record of any windows pushed in.
It is also remarkable that no doors or windows have been tested regarding strength to withstand waves. No other record of strength is shown, but still the commission states that this is how the water came in to the ship.
And it is not mentioned how the water, if it came in through windows at deck 4 aft when the ship listed 40 degrees, came down to deck 0 and 1, unless the water could climb about 7-10 meters up inside the ship to enter the stairs and lifts. The only chance that water could find it's way down the ship from deck 4 and 5 is if the water came in there before the list, but then the 4:th and 5:th deck are about 10 meters above the see level. But the water must have entered before the list, because many of the survivors from deck 1 fled when water came in to their cabins (before the list). The conclusion is that the progressive flooding was not a result of water entering deck 4 and 5.
So, the conclusion made by the commission must be nothing but a fake.
8.6 Damage to the visor and ramp attachment devices
8.6.1 The visor bottom lock
"All three attachment lugs for the bottom lock installation had failed (Figures 8.13 and 8.14). The locking bolt (Figure 8.15) remained attached to the actuating cylinder piston rod, which was bent (Figure 8.13)."
"When the locking bolt was removed from the actuator piston rod, the actuator was in fully extended, i.e. locked, position. The piston rod was bent upwards, away from the forepeak deck. The hydraulic hoses were connected. The bolt was checked for wear and deformation. The bolt was straight. The general diameter of the bolt was about 78 mm. Only a slight variation in diameter was measured at the contact area between the bolt and the visor lug. No other damage to the bolt was noted."
According to the commission the visor bottom lock (also called the Atlantic lock) broke first permitting the visor to open and close in the waves. This is shown in Figure 13.6. No explanation is given how the two visor side locks could brake in the same time as they must have done if this was what happened. According to tests of the visor strength, performed on the visor, the port side lock broke first, thereafter the top port hinge. This contradictory conclusion is made in the supplements and below in 12.7.3, but the commission irrespective of that choose to state that the bottom lock may have broken first.
As shown in Figure 8.13 and 8.15 the bolt of the bottom lock with its hydraulic actuator has broken and bent upwards. The lugs for the bolt are also broken in an upward and forward way.
This is a clear indication that the visor broke in its port upper hinge and port side visor lock first, and thereafter fell forward, twisting starboard and held by the bottom lock and the starboard visor lock until they broke. Finally the visor ripped of completely, when the starboard hydraulic actuator ripped its way to the ramp hitting the ramp and bending the upper starboard part of the ramp forward and outwards. During this twisting motion the visor was sort of standing on the small foredeck just inside the visor, causing this massive damage at the bottom of the visor. The starboard bottom corner of the visor was then hitting the bottom starboard corner of the ramp, causing the massive damage to the ramp, a damage that the commission completely has forgotten to mention. The damage on the visor from this twisting movement can clearly be seen, where the visor corner is completely damaged. There is no way the visor both can have torn the ramp to open position and in the same time cause this damage to the ramp. So the ramp has been closed during the loss of the visor.
The hinges of the visor have also been found repaired in a very poor way, leaving almost no material to hold the payload.
An important fact should also be mentioned , that the bottom lock and bolt of the visor was found bent a lot upwards. This is also a very strong indication of that the ramp never has been open after the loss of the visor, as the ramp in that case had hit the broken bottom lock forcing it down. In fact the bottom lock was quite undamaged with even the hydraulic pipes connected. One must remember that the commission states that Estonia was heading into the waves with around 14 knots, something that must have forced the ramp to completely damage the remains of thr bottom lock in it's broken position.
8.5.3 Visor damage
"The bottom lock mating lug was stretched and pushed to starboard and the attachment structure cracked at the port side (Figure 8.10)."
"The housing on the visor deck had impact damage to the port part of its aft inner wall, including bent and dented bulb bars (Figure 8.7)."
According to the commission the housing on the visor must have forced the ramp to open fully, but there is almost no damage in the housing except for some minor damage on the port upper corner, shown in Figure 8.7. The bottom lock mating lug that was stretched and pushed to starboard. This dammage together with the damage of the housing only on the port side, indicates clearly that the visor was lost twisting towards the starboard side.
It is not possible that the relatively massive damage on the top of the ramp was caused by the visor housing.
When the visor broke lose in the upper port hinge, it also ripped the port side hydraulic actuator off from its fastening to the ship. In that moment the hydraulic hose was torn off, and the system lost the pressure. This was also why the starboard hydraulic actuator later could be pulled to fully extended position. Each Hydraulic cylinder was provided with an oil flow restriction device. This device could not hold the pressure when it was completely lost, just slow the loss of oil down. The reason to the device was to prevent the visor from falling down in case of broken pipes or hoses.
8.6.2 The visor side locks
"The lugs had separated from the visor by shearing of the visor plating around the attachment welds, leaving rectangular holes in the visor bulkhead plating (Figures 8.19 and 8.20). The tear pattern and deformation of the bulkhead generally indicated that the lugs had been torn off in a downwards and aft direction."
If the visor locking broke first in the bottom lock, the lugs would have been torn off in an aft and slightly upwards direction. The finding in 8.6.2 clearly indicates that the visor, contradictory to the conclusion from the commission, was lost by broken upper hinges while the bottom lock still was partly intact.
It can also be seen in Figure 8.20 that the manually hook on the visor starboard side was completely demolished. This damage was not to be found on the port side, Figure 8.19. The damage of this hook could have been done in two ways. Either the manual locking has been used in locked position, at least on the starboard side, and the damage has been caused when the manual lock broke from the force of the loose visor. This was probably not the case following the findings in 8.12 from the ROV investigations. More probably, the manual hook got stuck to the hull when the visor was lost. In Figure 3.10 it can be seen how close the hook was to the hull in the forward bulkhead. When the visor was twisting forward and to the starboard side, the hook was forced upwards and got stuck in the hole and broke.
The port side hook was not damaged as it left the hole in the forward bulkhead in a more forward direction when the port hinge broke.
The commission states in 8.12 (below) that the starboard hook hit the bulkhead "twisted due to a blow to the front bulkhead", but it is unlikely that the damage would have been such if that was the case.
Studying the rectangular holes where the visor lugs have been fastened
to the visor, Figure 8.19 and 8.20 it is clear that only the starboard hole
indicates that the lug was torn off in a downward and aft direction. This
is also a clear indication that the visor broke first on the port side.
8.8 Observations on the navigation bridge
"On the port bridge wing manoeuvre console the control lever for the port engine was found in full astern position and the lever for the starboard engine in 10 to 20 % forward position. The corresponding pitch indicators both indicated 100 % forward pitch. On the main manoeuvre console the port engine control lever was in about 50% astern position and the starboard lever in 95 % astern position, both pitch indicators indicating between 50 and 55 % forward pitch. According to information from KAMEWA AB, the supplier, the pitch indicators should all irrespective of the actual pitch return to zero in case of electric power failure".
The report regarding the observations on the navigation bridge is very unclear, as there is no explanation of how the system was supposed to work. The conclusion from the control levers can not tell anything of what the actual speed was at the accident. It is remarkable that the "pitch" indicators not had return to zero after the blackout. There is no further investigation made regarding this. It has not been found if the two different maneuver consoles should have indicated the same, or if they irrespective from each other could be switched of. If it is the case that the consoles should indicate the same, then the electrical system must have been out of order in some extent. This is not investigated.
According to the distress calls there is nothing that indicates that the bridge had power supply after the blackout at 01:25.04. Almost 4 minutes later the crew are able to read and send their position at 01:28.43, but this can have been done by light from a torch.
8.11 The EPIRB beacons
"The EPIRB beacons along with some liferafts and lifejackets were found on 2 October 1994 by two Estonian fishing vessels in the vicinity of Dirhami on the north coast of Estonia. The beacons were switched off when found. On 28 December 1994 the condition of the above EPIRBs was tested by the Finnish experts. The radio beacons proved to be in full working order when switched on."
"On 24 January 1995 both EPIRBs were activated on board the Estonian icebreaker TARMO, when they worked without interval for four hours. According to the Russian COSPAS Mission control centre, whose area of responsibility includes the Estonian waters, the radio beacons were transmitting the signal in the normal way throughout the test period."
It seems extremely remarkable that both the EPIRB beacons were found switched off. This itself is a clear sabotage.
8.12 Other observations
"The propellers were observed to be in almost zero pitch position and the rudders in hard starboard position. The only watertight door on deck 1 which the divers were able to inspect was closed. The eye bolts of the manual visor locks were in open position according to the ROV survey. The lugs of the manual lock on the starboard side of the visor were heavily twisted due to a blow to the front bulkhead of the vessel."
As the propellers really were in almost zero pitch position, but the
instruments on the bridge indicated differently, this should have been investigated
more carefully. See also 8.8 above.
"The lowest bow band to the stem plating was welded only from above (area affected by ice damage repair).
One bracket at the aft bulkhead on the port side and between stringers 2 and 3 had been replaced, with defects in the new welding. "
Contradictory to earlier statement the commission here concludes that repairs had been done poorly. This should have been enough for a careful investigation of the entire hull.
12.6.1 Floating conditions and stability during flooding
"Even though the list developed rapidly, the water on the car deck would not alone be sufficient to make the ship capsize and lose its survivability. As long as the hull was intact and watertight below and above the car deck, the residual stability with water on the car deck would not have been significantly changed at large heel angles (Figure 12.12). The capsize could only have been completed through water entering other areas of the vessel".
The commission has not been able to show how water entered the inside of the ship, besides of the water that entered the cardeck. Therefore the commission has failed to proof how Estonia could sink. Their own conclusion is that the ship could not capsize if water had not entered other areas of the vessel.
Therefore it is a complete scandal why alternative leakage has not been investigated.
"Stability calculations show that the ESTONIA would have had a small positive initial stability if the two sauna compartments and the next compartment aft on deck 0 had been flooded. The stability would have been worst at the initial phases of flooding and would have improved when more water flowed to these three compartments".
The commission has concluded that Estonia would have positive initial stability if the two sauna compartments and the next compartment aft on deck 0 had been flooded. And this is exactly what happened and also what prevented the ship from turning completely up side down at the capsize. And in spite of this conclusion the never investigated if the sauna was flooded.
12.7.3 Investigations of the attachments
"The results indicate that the port side lock appears to have broken in bow sea at a lower level than the load required to break the next attachment. It could not be determined which of the remaining attachments, the bottom lock or the port hinge, would break second as the uncertainty in finding the strength level of the hinge was quite large. Estimated failure load levels in bow sea were significantly lower than those in head sea".
Three different calculation methods have been used to determine how the forces affected the different locking devices and hinges. The conclusion is that the port side locking broke first, and thereafter the port side hinge, and finally the bottom lock.
This supports the theory that the visor fell off towards the starboard side, and that it happened after the ship listed starboard.
Supplement 503, Condition survey of the vessel (Rockwater)
2.6 To be able to get into the ship the divers had to brake several windows at deck 4 and 5. Only in some single case they could enter through already broken windows. In the final report it is mentioned that several windows had broken because of the waves or water pressure. This is obviously not the truth.
4.41 The bodies on the bridge were more "decompressed" than other. It was not possible to identify the bodies. Nothing more is said. Wouldn't it been possible to identify them by the uniforms?
Also some other bodies at deck 5, central staircase, were in such bad shape that it was impossible to identify them, not even what sex they were. These few bodies were the only ones in the entire ship that were in such bad shape. All other were in excellent shape easy to identify. Why is this, had the bodies anything in common? Why is this not investigated?
4.4.2 The aft port upper deck 7 and 8 are damaged. The damage is massive and several cabins are destroyed. According to the survey of the ship there are no other damages than in the bow area. It is remarkable that this is not investigated.
It indicates that the ship hit the bottom completely up side down, and thereafter bounced to the position with 120 degrees starboard list. This can be an indication of two things. It can be the result of air getting out from the ship through a big opening in the hull under the waterline, causing the twisting motion during the sinking, or, it could be the result of large amounts of air trapped inside the cardeck.
Supplement 504, Stability calculations
"The relatively small water amount of 1000 tons on the cardeck caused the static heel angle of about 20 degrees. The corner ramp remained above the calm water level until there was about 5000 tons of water on the cardeck. The progressive flooding started earlier probably on the 4:th deck through the windows broken by the water pressure".
This is a contradictory. How is it possible that the progressive flooding started earlier on the 4:th deck, when a static heel angle of 20 degrees was caused by 1000 tons of water on the cardeck. The ship had to heel at least 40 degrees to get the windows of the 4:th deck even close to the water level.
From the Figure 4.1, 4.3 and 4.7, how can it possibly have entered water through deck 4 and 5, and even if, how could the water find its way down into the ship? To get this enormous mass of water down into the ship it needed to find around 10 square meters opening down to the lower deck.
Supplement 522, Mikael Huss, Simulation of the capsize
In the simulation made by VTT they estimate the freeboard height to 2,4 meters, when the study by Mikael Huss estimates it to 2,97 meters. The difference by around 0,6 meter gives the result of the calculated inflow of water only half of the VTT result.
This clearly shows how inaccurate all these calculations are. Beside
the freeboard height a number of values are assumed i.e., speed, wave height,
frequency of the waves, coarse and maneuver at the accident. Together it
indicates that the calculations are not worth the paper it is written on,
referring to make any conclusion of the cause of the accident.
The reason Estonia sank is still not investigated. The coarse of events are as follows: At around 01.00 local time Estonia suffered from a large damage opening a hole to the sea under the waterline. The damage was in connection to the first heavy blow, sounding like an explosion in water. The blow was so strong that it lifted the entire ship. Almost immediately the ship listed 3 - 5 degrees starboard. Within a minute a second blow was heard and immediately thereafter the list did increase in rolling movements to around 30 degrees. It took around 10 minutes from the first blow.
The maneuverability was lost but the officers at the bridge did react correctly and made a starboard turn, however everything was already lost because the water tight doors were closed to late, after the bad list occurred.
With a badly list the ship lost the visor, mainly as a result of the badly performed repairs and because the waves hit the forward deck. The visor forced the ramp to open slightly in the upper end before it fell off towards the starboard side into the sea.
The ship sank with a list of 30 - 50 degrees relatively stable during
around 15 minutes when in the same time the deck 0 and 1 was completely
flooded. In the same time large amounts of water entered into the cardeck.
The stability was lost because of the flooded lower deck 0 and 1, and when
enough water had entered the cardeck, less than 2.000 tons, the ship capsized
to a 90 degree list. The time was around 01.30 and the ship sank after another
20 minutes at 01.48.
All above is from a stage in the investigation before it was clear that there could have been an explosion between the ramp and the visor. After finding a non detonated explosive between the visor and the ramp, on the port side, the damages on the ramp, visor and hull have been investigated once more. The conclusions thereafter are as follows.
One of the initial damages on the ship were probably made from an explosion between the visor and ramp. This may have happened around 00.45. The visor itself had been poorly repaired, in particular the upper hinges. The visor broke in it's locking lugs, bottom lock and hinges as a result of the explosion between the visor and ramp. At least two explosives were adapted between the visor and ramp, and at least one exploded. The remaining one have been filmed by the JAIC. Finally after the ship had a list of 30 degrees the visor fell off towards starboard. Around15 minutes later two other explosions followed with only some minute apart. The ship then suffered from at least one damage below the waterline. A big hole was ripped open on the starboard side close to the bow. A track with metallic parts from the ship hull was left at the bottom. Several platings from the ship was later found and filmed at the bottom, and the platings were said to come from other parts of the ship. The videofilms from this survey has not been found but it is well described in letters and telefax.
When the visor fell off it damaged, but not opened, the forward ramp. The damage to the ramp was massive, primary made by the pressure from the explosion, but also from the two hydraulic actuators ripping their way in the upper foredeck. The ramp was not properly closed before the explosion and the pressure wave throw the ramp towards a more closed position. When the ramp hit the housing (bulkhead) it bent forward about two meters up and the top of the ramp bent like a "V" and hit the bulkhead hard. The explosion lifted the visor up and forward leaving it hanging only in it's hydraulic actuators. Finally the visor ripped of completely, when the hydraulic actuators ripped their way to the ramp hitting it and bending the upper starboard part of the ramp more forward and outwards. During the loss of the visor the ramp was bent forward and to starboard, leaving an opening in the top of the ramp of approximately 40 cm. Even though the ramp newer was closed before the explosion, it could not open because of the fact that the railings on the side of the ramp got stuck with the hydraulic locking pins extending from the bulkhead. This together with the damages on the ramp, is the strongest proof that the ramp was mainly closed during the sinking.