Water in the visor and on the car deck
The picture below shows ESTONIA at her berth in Tallinn with open visor and closed bow ramp. The arrow no. 1 points to the oil covered lower part of bow ramp which demonstrates the height of the water level with hydraulic oil floating on top inside of the visor when the vessel was at sea in calm weather. Arrow no. 2 points to the bow ramp hinges which are on car deck level.
"Reference is made to our earlier telephone conversation in December 1994 about observations concerning the lower bow part/bow visor of "Estonia". There is a little uncertainty about the exact date which could have been the 02.09.94, but what can be of importance is my observation from the pilot boat. On the way out to a vessel we met "Estonia", sea state was moderate, wind came from ESE. "Estonia's" lower bow part was submerged in the waves and when the vessel rose out of the wave-trough masses of water were streaming out of the whole lower part of the bow visor, even out of the sides. This was repeated many times during this meeting with "Estonia". The distance to "Estonia" was ca. 75 m during the observation and the visibility was good."
Attached to the letter is a drawing which shows water streaming out of the visor from a level above the 3rd stringer, which was the normal filling stage in good weather. Letter and drawing are attached as Enclosure 220.127.116.11.
Note: According to the logbook of the Stockholm Pilot Association ESTONIA arrived at Sandhamn on the 2 September 1994 at 05.15 hours.
»On the 24 December 1993 I piloted "Estonia" to Stockholm at about 05.50 hrs I went alongside the ferry's starboard side on board the Sandhamn pilot boat inside Svångens Light, wind and sea state according to the attached copy. Water covered the whole starboard side of the car deck ca. 3-5 cm high.
On 26 December 1993 I piloted "Estonia" again, this time from Söderarm. The weather was now worse, according to my own notes ca. 22 m/s from East, with rough seas. I boarded the ferry about 1,5 nm outside Remmargrunds Light. Upon my recommen-dation the master turned to starboard to make leeway for the pilot boat. I jumped on board from the upper platform of the pilot boat, the port pilot door was open. Under such conditions one has to expect water splashing up from below between ferry and pilot boat. This time, however, surprisingly the water came from above out of the pilot door when the "Estonia" rolled to port. When I came on board the mate warned me that there was "plenty of water on deck!" On the way to the lift I walked through water high up the legs of my boots, ca. 20 cm.
In my opinion there was 5-10 cm of water over the whole area of the vessel's car deck. The water was splashing about 1 m high against the bulkhead of the stairways (centre casing).«
The complete report is attached as Enclosure 18.104.22.168.
The following 6 statements were taken during telephone interviews after EFTERLYST TV - see Enclosures 12.4.145 - 12.4.147.
- there was a continuous leak in the hydraulic system of the visor which was frequently reported to the officer, but not changed;
- the watertight doors could not be closed properly which was widely known on board;
- the Atlantic lock did not function properly;
- the visor could not be closed properly, they left port with a gap open and tried to close it properly outside;
Note: This was also observed by the watchman on the Sandhamn watch tower reported by visitors to the Second Exhibition of the 'German Group of Experts' in Stockholm.
- since March 1994 there frequently was a lot of water on the car deck which was not due to the fact that the visor could not be closed, but due to the untight bow ramp. The respective letter is attached as Enclosure 22.214.171.124 with office translation.
»When we came back down to the car deck before or upon arrival at either side I remember that the car deck was always wet with water standing in the indentations. This was particularly in the forward part of the car deck behind the bow ramp.
I have frequently observed when sitting in my truck watching the berthing manoeuvre of "Estonia" in Tallinn and the opening of her visor that water was splashing out of the visor when it was opened. I have also observed in Stockholm after I had left the ferry via the stern ramp and was then driving alongside the vessel forward that water was still streaming out of the closed visor.«
The complete statement is attached as Enclosure 126.96.36.199.
»I saw welding and burning several times when the ramp was closed. It was the port side, mainly the lower bolt. There was always a ladder in the vicinity of the bow ramp. I once or twice came down to the car deck at sea during normal weather/sea state conditions, opened the door in the centre casing and saw at once that there was a lot of water on the car deck, I would estimate about 5 cm. This was the 2nd door from forward, i.e. in the forward third of the car deck. This was on voyage from Stockholm to Tallinn, because vice versa I had no reason to go to the car deck as I sold the cars in Tallinn.«
The complete statement is attached as Enclosure 188.8.131.52.