The Ministry of Economic Affairs said Saaremaa Laevakompanii, the owner of current domestic ferry service provider Väinamere Liinid, has no basis for claiming laws were broken in the procurement process.
Saaremaa Laevakompanii says it is a conflict of interest that ministry staff - which supervise the state-owned Port of Tallinn, the winner of the contract - are deciding the result of the procurement, and that this is in violation of public procurement and competition laws.
The ministry said in response that state companies are allowed to participate and win state-organized tenders. As for the commission tasked with picking a new domestic ferry service provider, the ministry said bringing in people from other ministries to run the procurement would have led to a lack of knowledge on the field.
Saaremaa Laevakompanii said they have appealed the first tender, which was open to all, but only drew one bid from Saaremaa, which the ministry deemed unsuitable. The company said the ministry should not be allowed to sign a contract with another company until the appeal has been responded to.
New ferries in construction
Meanwhile, the Port of Tallinn said LMG Marin, a Norwegian company, has already drawn up projects and technical parameters for the new ferries, which will enter service in two years, when the new domestic ferry service contract enters force.
The state-owned company will sign contracts with two shipyards to build the four ferries.
Port of Tallinn won the tender to operate ferry routes between the mainland and the two largest islands with a bid of around 200 million euros, 60 million less than Väinamere Liinid.