Norwegian police have recommended reopening an investigation
into a ferry fire in 1990 that killed 159 people after a
police review cast doubt on findings that a Danish man who
died on board had started the blaze.
Survivors and relatives of passengers who died on the
Scandinavian Star have long campaigned for the case to be
reopened, because of doubts that a single passenger could
have started all the fires that broke out in several parts of
the vessel as it headed from Norway to Denmark.
Last year, with Norway's 25-year statute of limitations for
murder cases looming, police agreed to review their work on
"When 159 people are killed in a fire that was probably
started deliberately, there's reason to do what we can to get
as many answers as possible on what happened," Oslo police
chief Hans Sverre Sjoevold told a news conference.
"The investigation that was conducted in 1990-91 did not have
the full scope that we would demand today, particularly
regarding potential economic motives behind a fire like
"The factors that resulted in a Danish citizen being named
the perpetrator were insufficient as evidence."
A survivors' group has pointed to new witness testimony that
some people slipped away from the ship after the accident
without being registered.
Sjoevold did not name any possible suspects and cautioned
there was no certainty that a fresh investigation would
uncover significant new evidence.
A final decision on whether to reopen the case rests with the
national prosecutor's office. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik,
editing by Alister Doyle and Kevin Liffey)