‘Estonia’ ferry disaster: call for new inquiry, 25 years on
Survivors and relatives of those who died in the Estonia ferry disaster called Saturday for a fresh inquiry into what happened, at memorial ceremonies marking the 25th anniversary of the incident.
Former lawmaker Kent Harstedt, one of the survivors, spoke at a ceremony in Stockholm for the 852 people who perished when the ferry sank in the Baltic Sea.
“The time for justice has come…,” he told those gathered at the garden of remembrance.
“There has not been any international, independent inquiry, no one has had to assume their responsibilities.”
The Estonia sank in a storm on September 28, 1994, on route from Stockholm to the Estonian capital Tallin. Only 137 people out of the 989 passengers and crew members on board survived.
There were 501 Swedish nationals among the dead and 285 Estonians.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and members of the royal family took part in the Stockholm ceremony.
In Tallinn, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid joined hundreds of people, many of them relatives of the victims, at a memorial service there.
Estonian Aimeri Laasik, 61, who lost her 23-year-old sister-in-law, attended the Tallinn ceremony.
She wanted to see the inquest re-opened, she told AFP. “I want this investigation to have a result.”
Relatives of Swedish victims have petitioned an Estonian court, pressing for a more thorough investigation. It is due to decide late October whether or not to reopen an international inquest.
Despite calls from relatives of some of the victims for the wreck to be raised and the bodies recovered, an agreement between Estonia, Finland and Sweden designated it a marine grave and left it untouched.
A 1997 investigation conducted by the three countries concluded that the sea flooded into the car deck because of a problem with the door on the ferry.
The ship’s builder has paid out 130 million euros in compensation to survivors and to relatives of the dead.