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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Builder Defends Ferry

HAMBURG, Germany () -- The ferry Estonia sank in 1994, killing 859 people, because of faulty maintenance, the ship's German builder said Friday.

An attorney for Meyer-Werft, Peter Holtappels, said a 20-month investigation by the shipyard concluded that the ferry company knew about a decisive defect before the disaster. He said the bow cargo door broke off in high seas "because the hinges were in disastrous condition.''

Only 137 of the people aboard survived when the ferry capsized in stormy seas Sept. 28, 1994, after leaving Tallinn, Estonia for Stockholm, Sweden. Meyer-Werft, which built the ship in 1979, has consistently denied any construction flaws.