Monday. 17.06.2024

A Swedish court is due to issue its ruling on Monday for two Swedish men charged with violating a maritime grave site by diving near the wreck of a Baltic Sea passenger ferry that sank in 1994, claiming 852 lives.

The two defendants, Henrik Evertsson and Linus Andersson, denied any wrongdoing during the trial at the Gothenburg district court.

Evertsson and Andersson were part of a film crew that made a documentary investigating the M/S Estonia sinking. They used a remotely operated vehicle to film the wreck in September 2019, but were detected by a Finnish Border Guard vessel.

Footage from the dive appeared in a recent documentary and showed previously unseen images of two large holes in the hull of the M/S Estonia, sparking renewed interest in what is considered Europe's worst maritime disaster since World War II.

If convicted, the two men could face fines or up to two years in prison. 

Prosecutor Helene Gestrin called for a suspended sentence and that the duo be fined.

Journalistic research

Gestrin has rejected the defence's argument that they were engaged in journalistic research. She said their actions constituted a violation of the gravesite, which is protected by law, without any exemptions.

The ferry was en route from Tallinn, Estonia, to Stockholm when a storm ripped off the bow door. Of the 989 people on board, only 137 survived the ordeal on September 28, 1994.

After the footage was released in September, Estonia, Finland and Sweden said they would conduct a joint investigation led by Estonia, the ship's flag state.

Sweden recently started amending a law banning diving at the wreck.

Ruling due for two charged with violating M/S Estonia maritime grave