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Estonia shipwreck survivors demand compensation after 25 years

AFP  |  Nanterre(France) 

More than 1,000 people including survivors and the families of victims of Europe's worst peace-time shipping disaster took their claims for compensation to a on Friday, 25 years after the sinking of MV in the

The ferry went down on the morning of September 28, 1994 while travelling between and Stockholm, killing 852 of the 989 people on board.

Following the incident, an international commission established to investigate the accident concluded in a 1997 report that the problem had been a defect in the bow-door locking system that opened onto the ferry's

The will assess whether shipbuilder Jos L. Meyer-Werft, and the French certification agency, Bureau Veritas, which had inspected the ferry twice in 1994, should pay damages to the 1,116 plaintiffs.

Maxime Cordier, a acting for them, said the court would rule "who is responsible for the negligence in the conception and the operation of the vessel".

It has taken more than twenty years of efforts in the French legal system to have the case heard and the claimants are asking for more than 40 million euro (USD45 million) for psychological damages, Cordier said.

After the disaster, the Swedish-Estonian shipping company that owned the MV agreed to pay 130 million euros (USD 147 million) for loss and damages to survivors and next of kin through an indemnity fund.

The hearings, which are scheduled for Friday and Monday, will take place in front of a French high court on the outskirts of Paris, near the

A verdict is expected in July.

The claimants will seek to show that the design of the ferry was intrinsically dangerous because of the opening mechanism at the front of the vessel, designed to allow vehicles to drive off quickly.

The MV has never been raised from the seabed, 85 metres (280 feet) down, and the wreck remains off limits to divers.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 12 2019. 16:45 IST
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