»I have seen that the flaps in front of the car deck, which close the gap between bow ramp and car deck when the ramp is open, were missing at port side when the ramp was closed. The flaps were then lying loose at the side. After the bow ramp was open I have seen crew members pulling the flaps across the gap by means of hooks. I have sometimes noted that some of the upper flaps of the bow ramp were missing, but were back in place later.
There was always a garbage container standing in front of the centre casing which was never secured.
I have been on the car deck at sea several times. The car deck doors were never locked, but I was chased away by crew members sometimes, i.e. I was not permitted to enter the car deck where some activities were going on which I could not identify.
Trucks and personal cars were never secured, only the trailers were lashed.«
See Enclosure 22.214.171.124.
»When I was sitting in my car in a position close behind the bow ramp waiting for the ramp to open, I remember having frequently seen crew members pulling steel plates across the gap between the open bow ramp and the car deck. I know that this gap is normally closed by steel flaps, but these had been dismounted with certainty at the port side. There were now holes in the flaps on both ends into which crew members were putting hooks by means of which they were pulling the flaps across the gap when the ramp was open and to the side before the ramp was closed.
The area with missing flaps at the port side of the closed bow ramp can be seen on the following video prints (see arrows).«
»The car deck doors were not locked at sea (although it was said by the crew that they were), thus I was able to go down on to the car deck at sea, also at night (although this was strictly forbidden). I did this frequently to take something to my car, or to take something out, or just to check the car in bad weather to make sure that nothing was touching it. The car was sometimes secured by wooden wedges being put in front and behind the wheels, the trucks were sometimes secured by belts, the trailers very often not at all.
In front of the centre casing there were always standing one or two garbage containers into which the crew put empty bottles, cartons and the like. In addition, I noticed that these containers were also sometimes standing at port side and at starboard side in the aft part of the car deck. I have drawn the position into a sketch of the car deck (attached as Enclosure 126.96.36.199). As far as I remember these containers were never secured and very often caused concern to me when my car was standing close to them. The port one is visible on picture 1, whereby arrow 2 is pointing to it.
Note: Picture 1 can be found on the photo page attached as Enclosure 188.8.131.52.
When I was down on the car deck at night, I have several times seen the flashing light of welding being performed in the forward part of the car deck near or at the bow ramp. When I was standing with my car close behind the bow ramp I could look into the open control panel located at the port side inner bulkhead behind the bow ramp. I remember that at least during the last months before the catastrophe there were only 1 (one) green and 1 (one) red light visible on the panel. The operator was always an ordinary crew member with boiler suit and walkie-talkie.«
The complete statement is attached as Enclosure 184.108.40.206.
»The stoppers on which the bow visor was resting were ground down by the Estonians because they had no money to buy new rubber packings.«
The fax with office translation is attached as Enclosure 220.127.116.11.
»I have experienced 4-5 times that the ferry was turned round in Tallinn and made fast stern first. When we drove on board in Tallinn via the stern ramp it was difficult for the long trucks to make the turn in Stockholm, thus the crew opened the visor and lowered down the bow ramp on to which the long trucks then drove backwards in order to be able to make the turn.
During the ice winter in February/March 1994 the crew was unable to pull in the stabilisers which they had out for testing purposes and the vessel stopped outside Tallinn for quite some time until they managed to get in the stabilisers.«
The complete statement is attached as Enclosure 18.104.22.168.
»I had frequently been on the forward part of the 8th deck upon departure from Stockholm and do remember having quite often seen the visor open.« (See photo below.)