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  C. Other Examination / Investigation Reports
17. Amended Considerations concerning the Possible Sinking Scenario - Page 1

The developments during the last voyage of the ESTONIA from Tallinn to the casualty position, the possible sinking scenario after the visor had been blown or pushed up and became finally disconnected from the vessel and the final settling of the visor on the sea bottom is demonstrated by 35 drawings following this page. This is a modified version of the scenario shown in our Report on pages 1048 ff. based on new evidence. These various sequences were drawn by the Naval Architect Dr. Zenon Hirsch, Hamburg who has closely followed the investigation by the German ‘Group of Experts’ since 1995 and who also built both the intact and the damage models of the foreship and visor of the ESTONIA, which were key tools in the investigation.

The drawings do not claim to demonstrate the real sinking scenario but the best educated guess that can be made at the time using the information available to us. It transpires, however, from the drawings that several relevant discrepancies to the JAIC Report do exist: These are:

(1) The visor side locking devices did not fail because they were too weak due to a “design mistake”, but were blown apart by the force of the explosions. The Atlantic lock resisted even this force  mainly  due to the flexibility of the visor bottom structure and broke only later.

(2) The visor did not pull open the bow ramp because the bow ramp – being more less unsecured - fell into the visor. The bent frames inside the ramp house were probably caused by pressure from the sea bottom on the outside of the ramp house caused when the visor was pulled backwards over the seabed away from the wreck.

(3) The visor did not tumble forward over the bulbous bow while the vessel was still on full ahead making some 14 kn, but remained attached to the vessel until she had capsized and heeled to about 130°/140°.

(4) The two big indentations in the starboard hull plating of the visor were possibly caused by the bulbous bow when the ESTONIA settled on the sea bottom and the bulbous bow came in contact with the visor standing upside down already on the sea bottom. Another possibility is a collision with another vessel about which, however, no information is available.

(5) There are very clear damage marks at the visor bottom which indicate strongly that the visor had been found and moved to some other position before the 18.10.94, being the official finding date.

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