Sir - No representatives of the Swedish Govemment or Parliament have participated in a debate started by the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in August 2001 about what to do with the Estonia case. Critical questions have still to be answered or conclusively refuted.
I believe that the Swedish government is disregarding the conclusions drawn by Professor Anders Ulfvarsson, of Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, that the Joint Accident Investigation Commission (JAIC) has presented 'misleading information about the state of the Estonia before its last voyage' and that there are 'grave deficiencies in the final report of the JAIC.' Furthermore, I consider that conclusive evidence presented by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and others to the effect that the Estonia was un-seaworthy leaving port on its last voyage has also been disregarded.
I consider that the states of Sweden, Finland and Estonia have, in the case of the Estonia, disregarded international conventions for safety at sea (eg, Resolution IMO A 848 2.0) to which the said countries have adhered. Those conventions have been initiated by the United Nations and the IMO in order to increase safety at sea.
I believe that it is therefore time to establish an independent Estonia tribunal under the auspices of an international shipping body, eg, the IMO. The aim of the tribunal should be to establish why the Estonia sank so quickly and thereafter determine the cause of the disaster and why so many persons perished. When this has been conclusively determined, but not before, the tribunal can suggest relevant amendments to applicable international conventions for safety improvement.
The JAIC's recommendations have been rejected by the international shipping community. The tribunal may be funded, perhaps by the ITF, the International Chamber of Shipping and/or other independent organisations concerned with safety at sea, since Sweden does not appear willing its fulfil its obligations under international UN conventions or want to fund such a tribunal.
Advokat - Attorney at law