Investigation and causes of the sinking of MV Estonia

Tuomo Karppinen, Klaus Rahka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The full Commission report of the investigations elucidating the causes of the MV Estonia accident of 28 September 1994 has been published, and the present paper highlights the methodologies of the investigations and the results obtained. The text includes direct quotations from the Final Report of the The Joint Accident Investigation Commission, 1997, and presents the conclusions and recommendations in full. The sinking was initiated by wave load induced breaking of bow visor attachments and release and separation of the bow visor. There was interference with the second and only additional water barrier of the car deck, the closed loading ramp, and the failure of its lockings caused the bow loading passage to open, allowing water to enter. When the ship had listed, door openings and windows above the car deck broke in the prevailing sea conditions and water started entering the accommodation decks. This finally led to the capsizing and sinking of the ship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-162
JournalTechnology, Law and Insurance
Publication statusPublished - 1998
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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