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article imageNorway says no proof of insurance scam in deadly 1990 ferry fire

By AFP     Aug 9, 2016 in World

Norwegian police said Tuesday they had found no proof of insurance fraud as they closed a new inquiry into the 1990 Scandinavian Star ferry fire which killed 159 people, and was believed to have been arson.

The Scandinavian Star car and passenger ferry caught fire in April 1990 as it sailed overnight between Oslo and the Danish port of Frederikshavn, killing a third of the 482 people on board.

Blame was initially placed on a Danish trucker who had previously been convicted of arson attacks and who perished in the ferry blaze, but there was not enough evidence against him.

Norwegian police reopened the investigation in 2014 to examine claims that the fire was part of an insurance fraud scheme.

Experts and families of the victims had noted that several fires flared up on the ferry after the trucker's death, and suggested the blazes were set as part of an insurance fraud.

In February, the former head of the Danish maritime transport authority, Flemming Thue Jensen, accused two crew members of causing the blaze.

After two years of additional investigations, Norwegian police said Tuesday they had found no new evidence to support an indictment or theories of sabotage and insurance fraud.

The smaller fires observed after the trucker's death were likely caused by the extreme heat on the ferry, police said, citing technical experts.

"In this kind of affair this complex, dating back 24 or 26 years, ... we can unfortunately not expect to have answers to all the questions," police commissioner Hans Sverre Sjovold told reporters.

The group "Foundation for Arson Investigation into Scandinavian Star" has contested the inquiry's conclusions.

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