• Denmark's news in English
 
app_header_v3
After 26 years, new info on fatal Scandinavian Star fire
The Scandinavian Star car and passenger ferry caught fire between Oslo, Norway and Frederikshavn, Denmark in the evening of April 7, 1990, killing 159 people. Foto Per Løchen / NTB

After 26 years, new info on fatal Scandinavian Star fire

The Local · 22 Feb 2016, 08:46

Published: 22 Feb 2016 08:46 GMT+01:00

Retired Danish ship inspector Flemming Thue Jensen stepped forward in a series of interviews with the Danish and Norwegian press over the weekend to say that the fatal fire aboard the Scandinavian Star was sabotage. 
 
Jensen said that crew members were responsible for the fires that broke out when the ship sailed from Oslo to Frederikshavn in Denmark on April 7, 1990. The flames claimed the lives of 159 people. 
 
“If the Norwegian police had spoken to us and investigated the case more thoroughly, the case would have been resolved in 1990,” Jensen told Norway’s TV2. 
 
“I willl not go in to details because then I would identify the person in question. I will not name the person – the Norwegian police must do that. Not me,” the retired inspector said. 
 
Jensen said the 26-year-old case should be “as easy as a bicycle theft” for Norwegian police to solve.
 
Norwegian police initially claimed that the fire was set by Danish truck driver who died in the flames, but charges against him were dropped in 2014 when a police report stated that there was not sufficient evidence of his guilt. 
 
 
Relatives of some of the 159 people who died have long campaigned for the case to be reopened, arguing that there is evidence to suggest that the fire was a deliberate arson carried out by the ship's crew. 
 
According to Jensen’s new revelations, that is precisely what happened. 
 
Retired Danish ship inspector Flemming Thue Jensen held a press conference about the Scandinavian Star tragedy in Oslo on Sunday. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix
Retired Danish ship inspector Flemming Thue Jensen held a press conference about the Scandinavian Star tragedy in Oslo on Sunday. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix
 
The retired Dane, who led the investigation of the damaged ship, said the fire pattern was not random. 
 
“It had to have been a conscious and planned action. It wasn’t some lunatic who walked by with a burning match,” he told Bergens Tidende. 
 
Jensen said that iron bed frames were arranged to keep fire doors from closing, allowing the main fire to spread throughout the ship. Likewise, a door to the upper car deck was also propped open to supply the fire with more oxygen. Jensen also said that there was a third fire set that broke out nearly 12 hours after the main fire, well after the ship had been evacuated and only a few crew members remained. 
 
Norwegian police have previously said that the third fire was the result of the previous fire flaring back up but Jensen said his investigation showed that a hydraulic line had been cut in a way that would make diesel leak on mattresses that were deliberately arranged below. He claims that only people will intimate knowledge of the ship’s layout could have set the fires.
 
Jensen said that he did not tell the full details when he testified before Denmark’s Maritime and Commercial High Court in 1990, including the information about the hydraulic pipe, because his supervisor had only given him a mandate to speak about the incidents before and during the main fire. 
 
At a Sunday press conference in Oslo, Jensen said he would not speak to Norwegian police about his new revelations. 
 
“I don’t trust the Norwegian police but I am willing to testify in court,” he said. 
 
Story continues below…
Jensen accused the Norwegian police of never considering who could have benefited financially from the Scandinavian Star fire. 
 
“Among all Danish police investigators, the first rule is to always follow the money. Why didn’t the Norwegian police do that here?” he told Norwegian news agency NTB. 
 
According to NTB, the owners of Scandinavian Star received $14 million in compensation following the fires. 
 
Norwegian police said on Sunday that they would take Jensen’s new information into consideration. 
 
“We will use information that has come forth from the press conference and in the media in our further investigation. The new information will be compared with information already present in the investigation material,” Oslo Police spokeswoman Unni Turid Grøndal said in a press release. 
 
A 1990 file photo of the fatal fire aboard the Scandinavian Star. Photo: Claus Bjørn Larsen/Scanpix
A 1990 file photo of the fatal fire aboard the Scandinavian Star. Photo: Claus Bjørn Larsen/Scanpix

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Danish 'devil of death' nurse gets life for killing patients
Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Scanpix

A Danish nurse, dubbed a "devil of death" by prosecutors, was on Friday sentenced to life in prison for murdering three patients and trying to kill a fourth.

Brexit
Brits in Denmark left shocked and concerned by Brexit
British expats in Denmark were left feeling like these supporters of the 'Stronger In' campaign who watched the referendum result in London early on Friday. Photo: Rob Stothard/AFP/Scanpix

The Local spoke with a handful of British expats living in Denmark on Friday and not a single one was happy about the referendum result.

Roskilde Festival 2016
8 key questions ahead of this year’s Roskilde Festival
It's that time again! Roskilde begins on Saturday. Photo: Tobias Nicolai/Roskilde Festival

Denmark's biggest party is about to kick off – here's what we'll be keeping our eyes on as The Local once again heads to Roskilde.

Brexit
Denmark vows to defend euro peg after Brexit vote
The Danish krone has had a fixed exchange rate since 1982. Photo: Colourbox

National Bank "will do what it necessary to maintain a stable exchange rate".

Brexit
EU-sceptic Danish party calls for referendum, PM says no
PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen and FM Kristian Jensen addressed the Brexit results on Friday morning. Photo: Uffe Weng/Scanpix

The Red-Green Alliance wants a Danish referendum on EU membership within a year but the PM reaffirms that "we belong in the EU".

Maersk to mull splitting group under new CEO

Danish oil and shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk named a new chief executive and said major changes could be in store.

Brexit
Danish PM: Brexit ‘very sad’ for Denmark and EU
Leave supporters cheer the referendum results on Thursday night. Photo: Toby Melville/Scanpix

Lars Løkke Rasmussen said on Friday morning that he is disappointed in the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU.

Brexit
Why Denmark won't try to follow the UK out of the EU
Photo: Bjørn Wylezich/Iris/Scanpix

With Brexit a reality, many point to Denmark as being the next country to follow suit but Danish experts say they are wrong.

Denmark's Sankt Hans Aften explained: Witches and rain
How many hay witches will die tonight? Photo: Colourbox

Denmark will be ablaze with bonfires on Thursday night – if predicted heavy rains don't put a damper on the Sankt Hans Aften celebrations.

Brexit
We hate EU too but 'please stay', Danish daily urges Brits
A woman rides a bicycle as she leaves a polling station at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, west London on Thursday. Photo: Leon Neal/Scanpix

In a rare move, Berlingske made an English-language appeal to Brits.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
International
After Brexit, Danish PM resists calls for similar EU referendum
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
National
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
International
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
Society
Sex campaigns lead to Danish baby boom
National
Don't worry Denmark, the world still loves you
Culture
Danish diversity ad a massive social media hit – have you seen it?
National
Denmark scraps green card but spares current holders
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Society
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
National
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
National
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
National
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
Travel
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
Sport
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
National
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Society
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
International
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
National
Denmark picks F-35 in historic jet purchase
Society
Denmark to no longer define transgender as mental illness
National
Danish minister tells 'Sharia' troublemakers to 'get a job'
Culture
Danish 'martyr' exhibit reported to police
National
Denmark extends 'temporary' border measures for sixth time
2,269
jobs available