In September 2021 the SA Mare Liberum fund that was established upon an initiative of close relatives of people who died in the sinking of MS Estonia organises a privately initiated expedition to the wreck of the ferry, the goal of which is to find answers to questions that have still not been given by state investigations over that past 27 years.

Close relatives of the deceased are organising an independent expedition to the wreck of Estonia



  1. Why and when did the visor disconnect from the ship?
  2. Did the ramp completely open before the sinking of the ship?
  3. What exactly are the damage locations on the right deck, when and what caused such damage?
  4. Why and when did intermediary walls of the abaft and car deck of the ship become damaged?
  5. Does the hull of the ship have any more damaged locations of which we do not know?
  6. What objects are located around the wreck and in the assumed trajectory of the sinking of the ship, and what is their connection with the sinking of the ship?
  7. How exactly did different parts of the ship get filled with water?

The organiser of the expedition SA Mare Liberum is a fund that was founded in July this year upon an initiative of close relatives of survivors. The manager of the fund is the former state prosecutor Margus Kurm who in 2005-2009 was the head of the committee for investigation of the sinking of Estonia. The members of the council of the fund are Piret Kergandberg, Raivo Hellerma and Carl Eric Laantee Reintamm.

  • In the course of the investigation project, SA Mare Liberum plans to conduct underwater research in order to investigate the shipwreck on the sea bottom, and to interview survivors of the catastrophe once again. After gathering evidence, the entire collected material will undergo a thorough scientific analysis. Additionally, a 3D model of the bow visor of Estonia has been prepared, which now makes it possible to study damage of the visor from the distance.
  • The diving expedition is planned for the second half of September 2021, and it will be conducted using RS SENTINEL. The ship belongs to the German company RS OFFSHORE which is managed and owned by Kurt Rohde. During the voyage multibeam and side-scan sonars, a magnetometer, an airlift and other necessary machines will be used. The expedition will include two crews of underwater robots with a total of four robots of different sizes, as well as four divers with supporting personnel and equipment. During diving operations damage spots on the hull of Estonia will be mapped and 3D-scanned, and the areas surrounding the car deck and the shipwreck will be studied.
  • Materials gathered in the course of the SA Mare Liberum investigation project will be analysed by dr. Andrzej Jasionowski, whose SophusQuorum Pte. Ltd. company registered in Singapore specialises in expert examinations of sea accidents. Dr. Jasionowski has already dealt with topics concerning Estonia before – in 2005-2008 he was a member of the scientific consortium SSPA, which conducted a number of different studies regarding Estonia under the order of the Swedish government.
  • The activities and the investigation project of SA Mare Liberum are funded from donations and the sale of media rights. The biggest supporter from Estonia is Postimees Grupp which among others owns such media channels as Postimees, Kanal 2, BNS and Radio Kuku.

About the expedition in brief

Why are you doing it?

The goal is simple – we want to find out why Estonia sank. To do it openly and without prejudice. We are planning to review all possible versions, including those which at first glance look unlikely. All pictures, films, expert opinions and other materials obtained during this work will be made public.

Isn’t the Estonian Safety Investigation Bureau doing exactly the same thing? Why is another investigation needed?

A privately initiated investigation must be viewed as a constructive competition to the official investigation. The Safety Investigation Centre is operating in a comfortable monopolistic peace – in a certain sense, they are acting in a scrutiny-free space. Any parallel investigation will be useful. All materials collected during this privately initiated expedition will be made public. The materials will be provided to the Safety Investigation Centre as well. There is no conflict here. In fact, the two investigations are more likely to complement each other.

Is a privately initiated investigation of the wreck allowed at all?

Diving to the wreck for the purpose of investigation is not forbidden. The provision of the Penal Code of Estonia regarding desecration of a grave applies to the wreck of Estonia as well, however, this provision does not apply to a scientific investigation or to gathering of evidence for a judicial procedure. Diving for the purpose of investigation is not forbidden by international agreements either. The information regarding the prohibition on diving comes from domestic legislation of Sweden which is stricter. However, Swedish laws are valid in the Swedish state, while Estonia’s wreck is located in international waters. Therefore, no consents or permits are required to be obtained for the investigation of Estonia.

Why specifically is Andrzej Jasionowski being engaged as an expert?

Andrzej Jasionowski has a strong academic background. His company SophusQuorum Pte. Ltd. specialises in expert examinations of sea accidents. Dr. Jasionowski has already dealt with topics concerning Estonia before – in 2005-2008 he was a member of the scientific consortium SSPA, which conducted a number of different studies regarding Estonia under the order of the Swedish government.

Will all interested scientists get access to the data? 

Yes, we will share the materials with all interested parties. We are planning to give all materials for review to at least two expert groups that will work independently and in parallel with each other.

How much will the investigation cost, and where will the money come from? 

The estimated cost of the investigation is around 800,000 euros, of which 460,000 euros will be covered by Postimees, and the remaining part will be donated by Swedish and Estonian supporters. The final cost of the investigation will depend on the number of days that we will have to spend at sea, which in turn depends on the weather. Also, the final budget will depend on the number of specific expert analyses that will have to be ordered.

Has all the money been raised? 

All the money has not yet been raised. If anyone wishes to become a sponsor, we welcome any contribution. There are no plans to organise public fundraising. 

Why was Postimees chosen as the media partner? 

When we started to look for supporters, we contacted Postimees first, and since we immediately received a positive answer from them, searching for other media partners was no longer necessary. Postimees has two main roles in the project – to be the recorder and the intermediary. Since one of our goals was to be as open as possible during the entire course of the investigation, Postimees which has such channels as Kuku Radio, a newspaper, an online portal and Kanal2 offers the best possibilities to ensure that. We hired communications bureau Agenda PR in order to provide equal and fast distribution of media materials among all other media houses. 

Why are there two organisations of close relatives related to the sinking of Estonia, and what is the difference between them? 

Mare Liberum has been created specifically for the purpose of the investigation. The field of activity of Memento Mare is broader.

Frequently asked questions

We will publish picture and video materials gathered in the course of the expedition on this website as they become available.

Video and photo materials will be complemented with Scanpix links and more specific conditions as to how the right of use of the materials can be acquired.


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