With any marine casualty, timing is key. Our casualty team aims to be out to the site as soon as possible in order to gather evidence promptly. This is now greatly aided in modern times with the advent of the VDR and in some cases CCTV around the vessel.
The Estonian government has committed themselves to re-investigate the disaster of the Estonia ferry, the second-worst loss of life involving a European ship after the Titanic (outside of wartime). It was determined in the official accident investigation that the vessel went down due to issues with the bow doors. This had already been shown to be a weakness of ROPAX ferries following the Herald of Free Enterprise, the disaster which resulted in the creation of the ISM code.
The decision to re-investigate comes after the release of a Discovery Network programme where it was claimed to have discovered new and crucial information. In the age of social media pressure this has now resulted in a new investigation. The question will really rest on whether any damage now found on the hull can be genuinely attributed to the sinking or if the damage occurred when the ship hit the seabed or indeed occurred at some point in the intervening 26 years. Parallels with the Derbyshire come to mind which did throw light on the possible cause of loss. With improvements in technology since 1994 it will be interesting to see what is discovered and it could open the door to other marine casualties being re-investigated in the future.
Doubt cast on new evidence in tragic sinking of Estonia