French Court Rejects Compensation Claim Over Estonian Ferry Disaster

   July 20, 2019 ,   Accidents

A Paris City court has rejected a compensation claim on Friday, July 19, related to the 1994 sinking of the cruiseferry MS Estonia (launched in 1980 as "MS Viking Sally"), which remains one of deadliest maritime disasters in Europe.

The court ruled on the claim from 1000+ survivors and relatives of victims of the accident in which the ship MS Estonia (serving the route between Tallinn Estonia and Stockholm Sweden) sank on September 28, 1994, killing a total of 852 people. Most of the victims' bodies were never discovered.

They sought EUR 40.8 million (USD 46 million) from the French agency Bureau Veritas which deemed the vessel seaworthy and German shipbuilder Meyer-Werft. However, the French court threw out the claim, citing the lack of “intentional fault” attributable to either company in the case, the 2nd-deadliest peacetime sinking of a European vessel after the Titanic.

The investigation (concluded in 1997) found that the locks on ferry's bow (the prow door) hadn't held up to the strain of the sea waves, causing water to flood ship's car deck. The case has been making way through French courts since 1996.