Built in the shipyards of Baltic Workboats in Nasva, the latest of Estonia’s new island ferries, the Soela, will take up regular line service between the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa today Monday. Unlike the larger ferries recently introduced on the routes from the islands to the Estonian mainland, Soela was finished a week before the deadline.
Soela was christened and festively introduced to passengers at 7:45 on Monday morning. The ferry godmother is Milvi Vanatoa, who founded the local museum in the harbor town of Sõru. The Soela left Sõru for its first trip to Triigi at 8:15 a.m.
Compared to the other ferries on the route, Soela has more or less the same capacity in terms of passengers and vehicles, but the advantage that it doesn’t need to be turned around. This makes the trip a little shorter. The new ferry can accommodate up to 200 passengers and 22 cars or two trucks.
The ship is 45 meters long, 12 meters wide, has a draft of 2.7 meters, and a maximum speed when loaded of 12 knots. It will be operated by AS Kihnu Veeteed and has a crew of six.
Soela is financed by the European Union’s structural fund (85 percent) and the Estonian state (15 percent). It cost €9.4 million to build.
Soela is the last of six smaller ferries commissioned for the routes to Estonia’s smaller islands. The other ships already in service are Abro connecting Saaremaa and Abruka, Runö connecting the mainland and Ruhnu, Kihnu Virve connecting Kihnu, Manija, and the mainland, Ormsö connecting the mainland and Vormsi, and Wrangö connecting the small island of Prangli off the north coast with the mainland.
Editor: Dario Cavegn