Summary of testimonies by motorman Hannes Kadak


Kadak, who made his first voyage on ESTONIA and who went on his first (and last) watch on ESTONIA on 28 September 1994 at 00.00 hours, has been interrogated 3 times, viz.:

(1) on 29.09.94 by the Estonian security police in Turku - Enclosure
(2) on 29.09.94 by the JAIC members in Turku (transcript not available).
(3) on 31.03.95 by the JAIC members in Gothenburg - Enclosure

In detail:

(1) on 29.09.94 by the Estonian security police in Turku:

- commenced his first watch ever in the engine room of ESTONIA at 00.00 hours, made an inspection round of the engine room and returned to the ECR, whereafter Margus Treu made his round;

- sometime later the bridge ordered to activate the stabilisers;

- at 00.46 hours he saw a jet of water penetrating the right side of the bow ramp, and thought it was rain water, did not report it to anybody;

- when Margus Treu returned to the ECR Kadak went to the workshop next to the ECR and on same deck, and did some work;

- suddenly the vessel sank down and fell to starboard, he ran back to the ECR, where Treu was watching the monitor and said:

"The situation is serious" or "bad" "because the ramp has been struck and became broken.";

- saw on the monitor that there were high waves on the car deck and the water level had already reached the height of the personal cars;

- thereafter the light began to blink which meant "boat alarm";

- then Henrik Sillaste came in and the watertight doors closed again;

Note: This means that the watertight doors were already closed when Henrik Sillaste arrived 1-2 minutes after the sharp heel to starboard. Since a sharp heel to starboard is no reason to close the watertight door in the engine room, there must have been something else and earlier which caused Margus Treu to close the watertight doors, apparently without instructions from the bridge, because he has testified that he had only had two communications with the bridge subsequently in relation to pumping water to the high port side.


(2) on 29.09.94 by the JAIC members in Turku:
This statement is not available.


(3) on 31.03.95 by the JAIC members in Gothenburg:

Main subject of the questioning of Hannes Kadak was his statement - obviously uninfluenced - made on 29.09.94 (Enclosure in Turku that at 00.46 hours he had seen water penetrating on the right side of the bow ramp.
On pages 162 ff. of the book "Katastrofen Kurs" by Anders Jörle and Anders Hellberg, who had early access to the confidential protocol of the meeting, the Questions/Answers quoted below developed:

»JAIC: Are these statements correct?

Kadak: I have thought a lot about it in hindsight, but I cannot say if it was exactly that way.

JAIC: You say here that you saw water before midnight (Swedish time)?

Kadak: I have thought it over and it can be totally wrong.

JAIC: We may consequently consider it to be uncertain?

Kadak: Uncertain.

JAIC: Uncertain. This can mean that it might have been so or it might not have been so. In the statement it is written down that ".. at 23.46 hours I saw on the monitor that water penetrated at the right side of the ramp". Is it correct that you said so to the officer in charge of the interrogation?

Kadak: It is so that, after coming home, I have thought it over and it is so that I am not so sure about it, and I have considered whether it could be wrong and why could I say so.

JAIC: But you did say so to the interpreter during the questioning on the 29th?

Kadak: After I came ashore I have testified so many times.«

At this stage Enn Neidre, member of the Estonian part of JAIC and in a captain's full dress uniform, interrupted the discussion:

»Neidre: I made notes at the hearing on 29 September and in these notes nowhere can the time 23.46 hours be found.«

Note: It is clear that Neidre never wrote down 23.46 hours as Kadak never said 23.46, because he was talking in Estonian time and in his respective statement 00.46 hours is stated as the time when he saw the water penetrating.

The psychological expert to the JAIC, Bengt Schager, commented on the Kadak testimony as follows:

»... that Kadak probably saw a water stream, but that he is afraid that this information can be relevant. We have no evidence that he has more information than he has told us and today he might be unwilling to give more information, because he might correctly assume that in such a case he would be partly blamed for the catastrophe ...., the water stream could hardly have been there, rather small or thin, because then it would hardly be visible on a small monitor.«

The further statement of Hannes Kadak, viz. that Margus Treu had told him: "The situation is dangerous or bad, because the ramp was struck and became broken." is much more important, but was apparently not questioned by the JAIC.
In summary it has to be concluded that the JAIC changed the initial statement of Kadak, that he saw - expressed carefully and already under intimidation - a jet of water penetrating the bow ramp, into a "trickle" of water. Of course, a "trickle" would certainly have been difficult to observe on the small monitor, so what Kadak must have seen was much more, viz. almost the same picture that all three of them saw subsequently and of which Sillaste made two drawings. The reason why Kadak did not react differently was most likely because he was on his first watch ever on ESTONIA and simply did not know any better.

Due to the statements made by Treu and Sillaste in 1996 and subsequently - as is now known - that all three - Treu, Kadak and Sillaste - had left the engine control room much earlier, i.e. Kadak and Sillaste when the heel was 30°-35° and Treu when the heel was 40°-45°. It also explains how 2nd engineer Peeter Tüür saw Kadak on the open deck 7 as he left his cabin on the forward port side of deck 7 through the window. Since Sillaste and Kadak were together with Silver Linde in the same liferaft, which they all boarded in the forward part below the bridge and Linde has testified that he was in the liferaft already at 01.23 hours, it has to be assumed that they were out on the open deck 7 at a rather early stage, earlier than many crew members from cabins on decks 7 and 8, not to speak of the passengers from the lower decks!