Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shipbuilder Faulted in Sinking of Ferry Estonia

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shipbuilder Faulted in Sinking of Ferry Estonia

Article excerpt

The ferry Estonia sank last year because the shipbuilder made the cargo door locks too weak to withstand stormy waves in the Baltic Sea, investigators say.

"At the bottom of it all, it's a pure manufacturing deficiency," Borje Stenstrom, a commission member, said Friday, citing an official report released in Sweden, Finland and Estonia. A complete report on the accident is due later this year.

But victims' relatives and an inquiry commissioned by the shipbuilder said the ferry was going too fast and might have been saved had the Estonia's crew acted differently when the locks broke on the bow door.

The ferry went down Sept. 28, killing 859 of the 996 people on board in the worst maritime accident in the Baltic.

Stenstrom said the 515-foot vessel had been designed to have locks twice as strong as those that were actually manufactured for the ship in 1979. The locks were the main fasteners for the ferry's 56-ton bow cargo door.

The three locks were able to withstand 580 tons of pressure from pounding waves, the commission calculated. …

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