Although the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications decided on Friday to terminate the contract signed with Tallink Grupp for a vessel to operate between Estonia and Germany, Tallink announced on Monday that it has been commissioned to continue to operate the group's vessel Star on the Paldiski-Sassnitz route.
The route has been commissioned by the ministry to ensure continuing movement of goods between the Baltics and the Nordics and Western Europe during the coronavirus situation.
"Although the borders are now open, there is no absolute certainty that it will remain this way," ministry spokesperson Rasmus Ruuda told ERR's online news in Estonian on Monday.
The exact schedule of Star for departures from March 27 will be agreed today, March 23 and will be communicated thereafter without delay.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and Tallink Grupp signed an agreement on March 19 for the Tallink vessel Star to operate between the ports of Paldiski in Estonia and Sassnitz in Germany as an emergency measure.
On March 20, Ando Leppiman, the secretary general of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, sent a letter to Tallink stating that according to the agreement, the contracting authority, i.e. the economic affairs ministry, has the right to prematurely terminate the contract if obstacles impeding terrestrial transport have disappeared, or if the loading ratio of the vessel is less than a third of maximum capacity.
"We hereby declare that the contracting authority exercises its contractual right and will terminate the agreement as of March 27. Consequently, the trip departing from Sassnitz to Paldiski at 7 p.m. on March 26 shall be deemed the last chartered service. The obstacles that hampered the terrestrial transportation of goods by vehicles have disappeared, thus the state has has no need to continue ordering the service," Leppiman wrote on Friday.
The vessel's cargo capacity is 100 lorries and ten passenger vehicles. The ship can transport up to 330 passengers per trip. Accommodation for all cargo drivers will be provided in cabins. Food and medical supplies transport will be prioritised during the booking process.
The Star had also been earmarked to transport Estonian citizens from Sassnitz to Germany, following the imposition of border controls by Poland two days ahead of Estonia, on Sunday, March 15.
Editor: Anders Nõmm