The secretary of state noted that preparations for an investigation have been made since the new circumstances came to light, and on 18 December, the Estonian, Finnish, and Swedish safety investigation authorities announced that further underwater examinations are necessary. “Sweden has also publicly confirmed its readiness to change its laws so that the three countries could, in cooperation, carry out the necessary underwater examinations of the shipwreck,” said Taimar Peterkop. “We see that there are no obstacles to continuing with the preparations and the close cooperation between the Estonian authorities and their Finnish and Swedish partners facilitates progress,” he added.
Jens Haug, Director of the Estonian Safety Investigation Bureau, gave relatives of the victims an overview of the time frame for conducting the planned investigations.
While Finland and Sweden are in the process of amending their laws, safety investigation authorities will be able to go over the technical issues and requirements of the investigations,” confirmed Jens Haug.
“The statutes of limitation for most crimes committed 26 years ago have expired, which is why it is not possible to start criminal proceedings now. However, this can be done if the investigations and analyses uncover new information which indicate that someone has committed a crime and covered it up,” said Parmas, emphasising that the information currently available does not provide grounds for initiating criminal proceedings. Pursuant to law, criminal proceedings can be initiated only if circumstances indicating a criminal offence become apparent and the initiation of criminal proceedings is prohibited by law in cases where the possible criminal offence has expired.
This was the fourth monthly meeting in a row to give the relatives of the victims an overview of the developments in the preparation of a new investigation into the sinking of MS Estonia.