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  D. Further Information received from Sweden, Finland and Estonia after the Publication of our Report
23. The International Symposium on the Sinking of the “Estonia” at Tallinn – 27 September 2005

The Symposium was organised on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of the “Estonia’s” last departure from Tallinn by the Estonian Relative Organisation ELA and by the Chairlady of this organisation, Helje Kaskel.  It took place in the National Library where simultaneously an exhibition was shown concerning the endeavours of the various interested groups to bring light into the circumstances surrounding the sinking which was organised by Jutta Rabe and Kaj Holmberg.

The speakers were:

1. Edgar Savisaar: Estonian Minister for Economy and Communication. The audience was very surprised that the Minister participated although he just said a few words of welcome and wished the organisers success, however his presence upgraded the Symposium considerably.

2. Anders Björkman: He dismantled the JAIC Report in a relatively short time and explained in a way also understandable to laymen why the JAIC scenario was totally unacceptable. He was subsequently quoted in the Estonian media with his basic statement: The JAIC Report is wrong.

3. Gregg Bemis: He explained the results of the Diving Expedition in August 2000 and the subsequent examinations of the metal samples by the US-Institute which had doubtless proven that these samples had been affected by detonation. The US-scientist expressed the opinion that the BAM results had to be considered a joke, Gregg Bemis further explained that to his knowledge the detonations which had affected the above-mentioned steel sample did occur after the sinking. In this context see the photos on pages 104-106 and the respective comments. The orange cube was identified by explosive experts to have been an explosive device which did not explode, while on the opposite starboard side it did explode with corresponding damage – see pages 69-94.

4. Evelyn Sepp: The Member of the Estonian Parliament was appointed by this institution to investigate the transport of secret military equipment from Tallinn to Stockholm at the Estonia side.  There were at that time practically no results and it is unknown whether this has changed in the meantime.

5. Lars Ångström: Member of the Swedish Parliament and also member of the Defense Council of the Parliament.
He explained among other things that :

(1) Already in October 1994 Swedish Navy divers had been down to the wreck, opened the bow door and pulled something out of the cardeck.  During this operation the rails of the bow ramp were cut off – see in this context pages 882 ff. of our Report and Chapter 1.2.4 of this Update.

(2) The – unpublished – part of the Hirschfeldt Report – see Chapter 22.1 above – reveals that the secret military equipment which was partly sighted by Lennart Henriksson were parts of the nose radar of the Russian fighter plane SU-27.

(3) There have been substantial activities under water inside and in the surroundings of the “Estonia” between October and December 1994 as well as subsequently.

6. Sven Ánér: The Swedish journalist (Palme News) did explain his very conclusive investigation results about the Captain Avo Piht, who disappeared and the other missing crew members.

7.  Bertil Calamnius: Chairman of the Swedish relatives’ group AgnEf.  He spoke about the “The Estonia Affair – A grand deception”.

Subsequently Jutta Rabe summarized and compared the various sample examinations by the different institutes which all proven the explosion and that this was not disproven by the BAM.  Thereafter the American journalist Christopher Bollyn compared the cover-up methods used by the governments in the “Estonia” case with those used after 9/11 in the United States.

During the subsequent discussion a former and now retired civil servant at the Interior Ministry during the years 1994/1995 took the microphone and apologised for having lied to the media when being questioned in relation to the “Estonia” sinking in those years.  His name is Matti Oun and he explained subsequently, among other things, that the then Minister of Interior, Heikki Arike, had been informed quite early, i.e. some time after midnight of 28 September 1994 already, that the “Estonia” was in trouble. The information came from the ESCO radio watch (on 24-hour standby) having been called by the “Estonia” and from where the information was passed to the management and further to the Ministry.  Shortly afterwards it was decided that the Head of the Estonian Intelligence Services should fly to the “Estonia” position and have a look at the vessel.  Subsequently the ferry was found on her side.*  This was around 01.30 hours according to several survivors who at about this time heard the noise of a propeller plane circling above them for some time and which then  disappeared.

* This is also reported in the Andi Meister book – “The Unfinished Logbook”.


Note: Assuming that it took about 30 minutes from the time the first information from the “Estonia” had reached the Minister, who certainly discussed the matter with the ESCO management and his aids and then decided to send the intelligence man to the casualty site by plane, further assuming that it took the man to reach the airfield another 15 minutes and thereafter for the plane to take off and find the “Estonia” a further 30 minutes, i.e. in total 75 minutes from the first information to reaching the casualty position by plane, it thus has to be concluded that the “Estonia” problems started already shortly after or even at midnight.  This raises a number of questions, viz.:

(1) Why was the information chain vessel - owner - ministry used which is quite unusual for a marine accident of a commercial vessel?
The answer can only be that it was clear from the very beginning that this was not a normal civil marine casualty but something requiring immediate action by the respective government agencies straight away:

(2) Why was the head of the intelligence services sent out to the casualty position by plane?
The explanation could be that the ferry could no more be reached by radio, and that the intelligence expert should try to make contact with the vessel when above it, and further that he should ascertain whether there were other vessels in the surroundings and to establish the identity and/or type of these vessels.

Matti Oun did not say whether he knew the answer to the above questions, however, it became very obvious that the ”Estonia” casualty from the very beginning had not been treated as a civil maritime casualty but rather as a critical military incident.

Matti Oun further explained that he had been contacted soon after the sinking of the “Estonia” by several Estonian Army officers who had escorted a truck loaded with secret military equipment from the Russian border to Tallinn and subsequently onboard the “Estonia”.  They were convinced that this truck was the reason for the sinking and they wanted to be released from their military oath to be able to inform the public. Such a release up to that day was not granted and Matti Oun appealed to Evelyn Sepp to file a respective application to the Parliament.  It is unknown whether this has been done in the meantime.

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