Film makers' guilty verdict upheld in "Estonia" ferry disaster case

OSLO (Reuters) - A Swedish appeals court said on Wednesday it had upheld the guilty verdict against two film makers accused of disturbing the wreck of the ferry Estonia, which sank in the Baltic Sea in 1994 with the loss of 852 lives.

The roll-on, roll-off ferry, carrying 803 passengers and 186 crew, sank in international waters during stormy weather on its way to Stockholm from Tallinn, and has since been protected as a grave site.

"Protecting the peace of the graves for a large number of deceased people clearly outweighs the journalistic interest the men had," the Western Sweden Appeals Court said in a statement.

The Swedish film makers were part of a Discovery Network documentary team which in 2019 sent a remote-operated vehicle to film the wreck, discovering previously unknown damage to the hull and reviving speculation about the cause of the disaster.

They were found guilty by the Gothenburg district court last year but had appealed the case.

The official investigation in 1997 concluded that the bow shield had failed, damaging the bow ramp and flooding the car deck. The wreck site was declared a marine grave.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Essi Lehto)

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