The Cruel Sea

The Baltic ferry Estonia sinks with the loss of more than 900 lives

Nautical engineers never say a ship is unsinkable -- not since the Titanic hit an iceberg and went down in 1912. But the disaster of the passenger-and- car ferry Estonia last week was surely one that should never have happened. The 14-year-old German-built vessel was well designed, carefully maintained and as safe as modern technology could make it. It carried the required number of lifeboats and life jackets. Its engines and equipment were deemed in order: it had been thoroughly inspected Sept. 9 and again last Tuesday.

Yet hours later, the Estonia rolled over and sank in the stormy Baltic Sea....

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