This space was left empty for possible new evidence received in the year 2000. Below parts of the statement of the survivor Christer Eklöf are quoted. The statement was taken early December 1999 by the Finnish lawyer of Meyer Werft, Henrik Gahmberg, but the translated version was only available in March 2000.
Only those parts of the statement are quoted which have not been covered already:
- when he was crawling along the vessel's hull he saw something like a stick coming out of the hull below the fender bar,
- he first thought it would be the stabiliser fin and he wanted to hold on to that thing, however
- it was too far in the fore part of the vessel and too small to be the stabiliser fin,
- the "thing" was about 1 to 1.5 metres long and only 10 or 20 centimetres thick,
- it had the same colour as the bottom,
- it was not a bilge keel,
- he does not believe that it was a damaged propeller blade of the bow thruster because those do not have the colour of the bottom,
- when he was underneath the bridge, he heard a muffled sound from there and compares it with an imploding TV-set,
- when he was down in the sea he saw that the visor was missing,
- the police did not show any interest in the fact that he had seen this thing when they were interrogating him.
Per-Erik Ehrnsten - interviewed by Peter Jansson on 1 May 2000 :
- ESTONIA left somewhat delayed at about 19.15/20 hours. At 19.00 hours vehicles were still boarding, he could hear the sounds.
- Vessel started pitching noticeably after 21.00 hours and at about 23.00 hours he went to his cabin 6304 on deck 6 which was an inside cabin without windows, the bed was athwartships.
- He cannot recall significant rolling, just pitching,
- he woke up several times by vibrations in the hull when the bow was diving into the waves,
- at a certain time these vibrations were replaced by new sounds which were regular 4-5 tong, tong sounds, a short pause and the same again, which appeared to be transmitted through the ship's structure as vibrations from somewhere forward and below; the tong, tong sounds came in such short intervals that they could not have been caused by wave movements; there was no change in the ship's movements that he could associate wit the tong, tong sounds.
- There were 4-5 "tongs", then a pause of 4-5 seconds and then again 4-5 "tongs", the interval between the "tongs" remained the same, ice floes crashing against the hull in the winter cause less heavy sounds than these tongs did;
- he does not recall having noted change of engine revolutions at that time;
- there were 2 "tong" sequences before the big heel to starboard occurred.
- There was first one smaller and then a bigger heel to starboard when he just had his trousers on and everything flew against the door; - he removed these things from the door, went out, turned into the central (forward) stairway, rushed up the stairs to deck 7, where he was helped out on deck by Silver Linde and two other sailors, Silver Linde was talking into his walkie-talkie and refused to follow some order, he was very irritated (P.E. Ehrnsten understands Estonian):
- The heel was about 30° when he came out on deck and the wind and waves came in from the aft port quarter (30° to 60° from aft of abeam, port side).
- With his back to the wall (longitudinal bulkhead on deck7) he could see the two ferries 20-30° aft of abeam at port side; at the same time he could see the moon and the bow simultaneously;
- the ferry stabilised at a heel of 30-50° for quite a while;
- the waves came from port aft and the ship was drifting with the wind, he and other people were eventually washed overboard by waves approaching from aft and washing oblique about the bottom, ended up in the water on the same side as funnel and bridge were, i.e. in the lee.
- He saw the stabiliser fin sticking out about below the forward door, it was not moving.
- When he was washed overboard he was slightly forward of the bridge.
- From the water he could see the unbroken silhouette of the vessel against the moonlight.