Does anyone have anything to share with me about this disaster? I'm thinking about Ziemowit and Polonius in particular for their knowledge of Polish history, but if anyone else has anything to say, I'd love to hear it.
To cut a long story short, a Polish ferry capsized in the Baltic Sea in 1993, killing 55 people. It's not really known in Europe, as it was overshadowed by the Estonia disaster in 1994. The ship itself should never have sailed, while the ship was also in pretty bad condition.
On a quick note, I remember very well this disaster being reported in the news at that time. From memory: the ferry was sailing from Świnoujście to a port in Denmark or Sweden when the main gate for receiving cars opened and water began to flood in. The weather conditions in the sea were extreme. All this happened during the night.
Having checked the Wikipedia ("Katastrofa promu Jan Heweliusz") now, there is nothing about the main gate, however (I must have confounded that with the story of "Estonia" or it was reported in this way at the time). The description of the Heweliusz disaster is truly horrific. Safety procedures were evidently neglected.
The Wikipedia only has an article on that in Polish, no other language versions have been provided which is a great pity (my link is different from the one you have provided and gives a detailed description of the disaster).
Thank you Ziemowit. If I may ask, do you remember anything about the reaction in Poland at the time? Was it seen as the ferry company to blame, or was the Master blamed instead? I'm having a very hard time finding out much about it, only that like the Estonia, the governments in question seemed to conspire to cover up the real reason for the loss.
And yes, it's a truly horrible disaster. The MS Estonia was also horrible, but the conditions were truly awful on the night the Jan Heweliusz sank - the fact that anyone survived at all was remarkable. The worst thing of all is that no-one seemed to actually pay attention to what happened with the Jan Heweliusz, leading directly to Estonia the year after.