A research vessel with investigators from Sweden and Estonia was scheduled to arrive Wednesday at the site of the wreckage of a passenger ferry in the Baltic Sea for underwater studies that are hoped to produce new information about a maritime disaster that occurred nearly 30 years ago.
The studies of the wreck of the M/S Estonia ferry will be conducted from the Viking Reach research and survey vessel by the Estonian Safety Investigation Bureau and the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority in cooperation with Finnish authorities over the next eight days.
The M/S Estonia sank in heavy seas on Sept. 28, 1994, killing 852 people, most of them Swedes and Estonians, in one of Europe’s deadliest maritime disasters. The ferry was traveling from Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, to Stockholm when it sank about 30 minutes after an initial distress call. Only 137 people survived.
The accident has sparked several conspiracy theories, including that it might have collided with a submarine or carried sensitive military cargo.
In January, the accident investigation boards of Estonia, Finland and Sweden said there was no indication that a collision or an explosion caused the sinking, A 1997 joint investigation by the three countries concluded that the ferry sank when its bow door locks failed in a storm.