Saturday. 20.04.2024

The Swedish government said on Friday it is prepared to amend a law banning diving at the wreck of a Baltic Sea passenger ferry that sank in 1994, claiming 852 lives.

The Swedish Accident Investigation Authority requested the amendment to allow further investigation of the shipwreck.

"I am convinced that it is possible to carry out on-site investigations in a responsible manner," said Interior Minister Mikael Damberg.

He told reporters that preliminary work on the amendments has begun and they could be approved during the first half of 2021.

He underlined there were no plans to scrap a law declaring the wreck a grave site.

Holes found in the hull

A recent documentary 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.

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.

"The aim of the investigation is ultimately to determine what caused the holes," said John Ahlberk, head of the Swedish accident board.

Remoted operated vehicle

In addition to studying the holes, parts of the wreckage might have to be salvaged, Ahlberk said, adding that a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) would likely be used.

A 1997 inquiry found that the ferry sank after its bow door was torn off in a storm during its journey from the Estonian capital Tallinn to Stockholm.

Of the 989 people aboard, only 137 survived the disaster on September 28, 1994.

Sweden ready to amend law linked to 1994 sinking of Baltic Sea ferry