Officially 137 persons have survived the catastrophe, some are crew members, two are advisors and the others are passengers. Most of them have testified to the police in Finland, Sweden and/or Estonia, some three or more times. Only a few crew members have been questioned directly by the JAIC.
They are:

3rd engineer Margus Treu
motorman Hannes Kadak
watch A.B. Silver Linde
system engineer Henrik Sillaste
trainee officer Einar Kukk
purser Andres Vihmar (only by Bengt Schager).

The JAIC has also interviewed only very few of the passengers or advisers directly, e.g. Pierre Thiger has been interrogated by Olof Forsberg and the statement is attached as Enclosure The Finnish Commission member Tuomo Karppinen has spoken by telephone to the truck driver Eckard Klug and to the advisors Paula Liikamaa and Peter Järvinen. The respective memo is attached as Enclosure 21.1.248.

Andi Meister's book "The Unfinished Logbook" and also the interview which Jutta Rabe held with him and subsequently with Bengt Schager, the psychological expert to the Swedish part of JAIC, reveal however that the Estonian Commission members as well as the Estonian security police and other government bodies have frequently spoken to the crew members, in particular to Margus Treu and Silver Linde. It is unknown whether these questionings were recorded, but at least, recordings are not available.
According to Kari Lethola, chairman of the Finnish part of the JAIC, the following survivors have not been interrogated at all:

Igor Gricius from Dobele/Latvia,
Gull-Britt Payr from Stockholm,
Arturas Tamasauskas from Paneveöys/Lithuania.

From the latter it is only known that he was the driver of the Lithuanian van, No. CVK 445. He refused to testify at all and left the hospital without permission.

Of the other 133 survivors, however, at least one statement of each is available to this 'Group of Experts'; in total there are 243! Contact was made with some of the key witnesses and additional information was obtained and/or relevant information was confirmed. These interviews - in addition to the statements taken by the police - are also available on video cassettes. The interviews were either carried out by a member of this 'Group of Experts', by the Finnish lawyer Henrik Gahmberg or by the Estonian journalist Juri Liim in close co-operation or in the presence of a member of this 'Group of Experts'.

The relevant parts of some of the statements and all of the interviews have been translated into English and are attached as enclosures.

All the available statements and interviews have been analysed, but only those statements of crew members made on the day of their rescue, or shortly thereafter, were considered to be reliable and thus possibly not influenced by the ESCO/Estline/N&T representatives and/or other interested parties. Similar weight was put on statements and interviews where members of this 'Group of Experts' were present and could talk to the survivor directly.

Several drawings are attached which indicate the layout of the crew and passenger cabins on all decks, the car deck with centre casing and lift arrange-ments, the 1st deck with passenger accommodation and engine control room (ECR), further the 0-deck with sauna/swimming pool/conference compartments and the sewage treatment area with the vacuum system directly next respectively aft of it and, further aft, the location of the heeling tanks and the stabiliser pockets directly aft of the heeling tanks.

The results of the analyses of all the available statements and interviews with regard to the time up to and including the casualty sequence of-events are outlined in the following Subchapters 21.2 - 21.9.

Other relevant observations made by survivors during and after the sinking, while waiting to be rescued and subsequently after their rescue, is explained in Subchapter 21.8 - Other Observations.


Summary of Testimonies by Surviving Crew Members on Duty


On the bridge there were on duty from 20.00 to 01.00 hours

the 2nd officer (B) Peeter Kannuussaar,
the 3rd officer Andres Tammes

and since 22.00 hours

the watch A.B. Silver Linde.

Five or 10 minutes before 01.00 hours the next watch presumably

the 2nd officer (A) Tormi Ainsalu and
the 4th officer Kaimar Kikas

came to the bridge.
Also the trainee officer Einar Kukk was on the bridge from about 20.20 hours to about 00.30 hours - see Enclosure 17.2.217.



In the engine room there were on duty from 00.00 hours onwards

the 3rd engineer Margus Treu,
the motorman Hannes Kadak,

and at 00.30 hours the system engineer Henrik Sillaste was called down because there were problems with activating the starboard stabiliser fin (accor-ding to the book of Andi Meister "The Unfinished Logbook"), and also the vacuum system of the forward sewage installation was causing difficulties.




Summary of testimonies by trainee officer Einar Kukk - cabin 4103
- 4th deck, port side outside, 2nd but last cabin


Einar Kukk has been interrogated five times according to JAIC's Report, of which all statements are available to this 'Group of Experts'. They are attached as:

(1) on 29.09.94 in Turku - Enclosure 17.2.217
(2) on 29.09.94 in Tallinn - Enclosure
(3) on 07.10.94 in Tallinn - Enclosure
(4) on 17.10.94 in Tallinn - Enclosure
(5) on 28.08.96 in Tallinn - Enclosure

- At about 23.00 hours a large wave hit the vessel's port bow.

- The master came to the bridge again about 30 minutes later and asked the 3rd officer whether all 4 engines were running, which was confirmed. The master then ordered that the stabilisers were to be activated after the next course change and left the bridge approximately 15 minutes before, i.e. at about 00.05/00.10 hours.

- The wind was coming from SW and veering West, whilst the waves came more from southerly directions. The sea was quite heavy.

- He was apparently still on the bridge when the vessel changed course around 00.25-00.30 hours, although he never said so, but he stated that the 2nd officer told him that the vessel would make about 1 knot less speed after the stabilisers had been activated. The speed was then about 14.5-15.0 knots.

- At about 00.30 hours Silver Linde returned to the bridge and Einar Kukk left for his cabin; in his last statement - Enclosure - he said that Linde left the bridge at this time for a new round.

- He went to his cabin, cleared up some matters and then went to Pub Admiral, where also Karaoke was being performed (5th deck, starboard side, aft).

- There he saw Silver Linde in the door at about 00.40 hours. Kukk left after some minutes and went to his cabin. There he arrived at ca. 00.50 hours, went to bed, but could not sleep.

- After 5-10 minutes he heard a very strange noise which was very unusual (and alarming) to him, it could have been an impact or strong vibration and the vessel behaved very strangely; he got up and dressed; while he was putting on his shoes the vessel rocked and heeled abruptly to starboard, he cannot say how much, but it was very far.

- He rushed up to the 7th deck and met boatswain Vello Ruben in the central stairway,

Note: This means that the boatswain had been somewhere further down when the heel occurred - most probably on the car deck - because his cabin was on deck 7.

- when he was between 6th/7th deck he noted a shock/vibration inside the vessel.

- He and the boatswain helped each other out of the door on to the open deck 7;

- the list was then about 45° and the engines had definitely stopped;

- on deck 7 he met Ivan Ziljajev, a crew member with a walkie-talkie, and further forward in a liferaft, Silver Linde;

- when the list was 90°, he looked at his watch: it was 01.30 hours and he slid into the water, the stern was then submerged up to the stabiliser fin.