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Finns probe if robot illegally explored Estonia ferry wreck

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Finnish police said Wednesday they are investigating whether a German ship sent down a diving robot into an area of the Baltic Sea where the wreck of one of Europe's deadliest maritime disasters rests.

They said the incident could be a violation of the law protecting the M/S Estonia that sank Sept. 28, 1994, killing 852 people. Most victims remain entombed on the car ferry, which rests on the seabed some 80 meters (264 feet) below the surface. The wreck is considered a graveyard, which gives the area protection under the law.

Finnish coast guards sent a report Monday to the Finland's National Bureau of Investigation about the incident in international waters but which is within Finland's economic area. Finnish authorities, who are investigating the incident with their counterparts in Germany, did not name the German vessel.

However, the Baltic News Service, the region's main news agency, said a Finnish coast guard ship approached the Fritz Reuter on Monday afternoon and that a robot was thought to have been used to illegally explore the wreck.

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