Pre-survey of MS Estonia; the first investigation measures on site successfully completed

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Under the lead of Estonia, the Estonian Safety Investigation Bureau and the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority have examined the accident site within the frame of the on-going pre-survey. The sea bottom as well as the wreck itself have been examined and documented. The data gathered will need to be processed, which will take time. Before it is processed and confirmed, the data should be interpreted with caution. When the analysis of the data is completed the results will be made public and they will also form the base for decisions on further investigation measures.

Among the facts that have been established so far are:

  • A scanning survey (Mesotech) as well as a ROV survey confirm the existence of the two holes previously documented by a TV-documentary published in 2020.
  • The survey of the sea bottom confirms that even if the wreck to a large extent rests on a layer of soft clay, there are boulders and bedrock in close vicinity of the wreck. However, data will have to be processed and further examinations might be needed before it can be established if this fact is relevant for the occurrence of the holes in the hull.
  • The surveys show that the hinges of the bow ramp of the wreck have collapsed and that the bow ramp has fallen to the side of the bow, hence leaving an opening to the car deck.  
  • Other deformations have been documented as well. One example is damage to the stern which might be consistent with the stern reaching the bottom first, when the ship sank.

Press photos

Press photos from the work at the site are available through the following link: When using them, reference should be made to Madis Veltman, Postimees.


Further Information:

Estonia (OJK): Executive Director Rene Arikas, +372 6256314,

Sweden (SHK): Deputy Director General Jonas Bäckstrand, +46 8 508 862 82,, or
Senior Investigator Jörgen Zachau, +46 8 508 862 13,

Date of accident: