[Orginal letter reformatted to improve readability. Edit. comm.]

From: Björn Stenberg
Date: Thu 14 Sep 2000 18:43
Subject: Estonia: New video evicence

Following mail with questions have been sent to the Swedish Näringsdepartementet, Statens haverikommission, svenska Sjöfartsinspektionen and the Finnish AIB.

Links to pictures from a. o. the latest divings at bottom of this mail.


Mona Sahlin
Ann-Louise Eksborg
Kari Lehtola
Johan Franson

Dear Mona, Ann-Louise, Kari and Johan,

We have found that diving activities has taken place after June 1996 but before the summer 2000 at the ship wreck of MV Estonia. We would like to have your explanation regarding this activities. Enclosed our report with link to the picture evidence.


Questions regarding extensive activities at MV Estonia between 1996 and 2000.


In this analysis, the Independent Fact Group shows that the video films taken by the "Bemis expedition in August 2000" on the ship wreck of MV Estonia, reveals, among other things, that extensive activities has been performed on the wreck after June 1996 and before the summer of 2000.

The activities have involved the opening of the forward ramp, creating extensive damage to the same. Such mechanic damage must be the result from towing activities from the surface or via other forceful means at the site, as the damage pattern prove that the ramp must have been opened and later closed. The result has been that the lower "horizontal" beam on the ramp (where the hinges are) is completely broken in two places, and moreover has the vertical beams dislocated from the horizontal beam in several places.

The evidence can clearly be seen in comparison with the earlier video material recorded by the JAIC in 1994, and from the videos recorded during the recovery of the oil during 1996.


Videos 1994 and 1996

All video films taken during the JAIC investigation of the wreck during 1994 and 1996 show the forward ramp on MV Estonia slightly open, approximately between 0,6 to 1 meters at the top. The ramp had severe damage, mainly in the top where the starboard and port corners had been bent outward from the ramp frame. The flaps at the top of the ramp were bent towards the starboard side. Some of the main vertical beams were damaged and the ramp was also bent outward at the "height" of 3 meters. The main horizontal beam to which the four ramp hinges were welded, were not damaged. However, the two hinges at the port side, of the total of four hinges at the ramp, were broken.

The vertical beams, four main and six smaller ones located in pairs between the main beams were all still "in connection" with the main horizontal bottom beam. The starboard one had a severe damage and were extremely bent towards the center of the ramp. It had however not dislocated completely from the bottom horizontal beam. The damage can be seen in the starboard bottom corner of the ramp. Apart from that there were no other severe damage to the bottom horizontal beam on the ramp.

Videos 2000, the "Bemis expedition"

The video films taken by ROV the 29 August 2000 show a completely new damage situation of the forward ramp on MV Estonia. The ramp was now found almost closed with an opening of only between 0,2 to 0,6 meters at the top. The bottom horizontal beam that earlier was almost without any damage at all, was now found completely broken in two places. The starboard vertical beam that earlier had a severe damage, but had not dislocated from the bottom beam, was now found dislocated and clearly much more damaged than it was 1996.

In the enclosed picture mosaic from the 1996 videos, showing the bottom of the ramp with the horizontal beam, we have marked where the beam is now found broken.

The Fact Group commentary:

The damage found in August 2000, proven by video, can not have occurred due to any other actions than that the ramp has been opened and reclosed between 1996 and the summer of 2000. The surface of the fractures have a thin layer of sediment and algae attached to them. Therefore these fractures can not have been made after early or mid summer of 2000. There is, due to the surface of the fractures no possibility that the main bottom horizontal beam on the ramp may have broken by underwater currents, fatigue or aggressive corrosion.

A total fracture of the beam can not happen unless an extreme external force is used to open and close the ramp. To be able to open and close the ramp, towing activities most probably have taken place from the surface.


As the wreck has been under constant guardian and protection from both the Swedish and Finnish authorities to protect it from plundering and any underwater activities, the authorities should know what activities have been performed on the wreck between June 1996 until the summer of 2000.

Who have opened and closed the ramp?

Has the ramp been opened and closed by the Swedish or Finnish authorities or by a third party?

Why has this been done?

The picture mosaic can be found at our home page:

and at the specific picture file:

Please confirm the reception of this letter with the due day book number (diarienummer). Awaiting your earliest response.


Johan Ridderstolpe and Björn Stenberg
The Independent Fact Group

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