A French court has turned down a bid by survivors and families of the victims of the Estonia ferry sinking to extract compensation from Bureau Veritas (BV).

They were suing the French class society and German shipbuilder Meyer Werft for €40m ($45m) following the 1994 Baltic Sea disaster that killed 852 people - still the second-worst peacetime maritime loss of life after the Titanic.

A total of 1,116 plaintiffs were instead ordered to pay the companies' costs - €70,000 to BV and €35,000 to the yard, AFP reported.