‘Scandinavian Star’ drama drags on

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Two years after reopening the investigation into the deadly fire on board the Scandinavian Star ferry in 1990, Oslo police have concluded that no new charges will be filed. Protests are expected from the families of those killed in the fire, and from some of those who survived.

Newspaper VG reported this week that police contend there is no evidence there were several arsonists on board the ferry, where a fire that began on the vessel’s lowest deck spread poisonous gas that killed 159 of those on board. The ferry was sailing from Oslo to Denmark when the tragedy occurred in the early morning hours of April 7, 1990.

Oslo Police Chief Hans Sverre Sjøvold insisted that police have done a thorough investigation this time around, after being harshly criticized for the initial investigation 26 years ago. Theories have flown for years that the fire was intentionally set as part of an insurance swindle.

VG reported that police gathered information and material in 18 countries. It was the intense heat of the fire, claimed some experts for example, that caused an oil pipe to break and leak oil, not any vandalism to the pipe itself. Police also found that fire-fighting efforts themselves made the fire worse, by feeding it with oxygen.

The lack of any new charges is a disappointment for those who claim justice has not been served in the Scandinavian Star case. Several have never had any confidence in the new investigation, and were now preparing a possible legal response. There’s also been support expressed for a new probe backed by the Norwegian Parliament.

newsinenglish.no staff