Estonia has signed up to a pan-Nordic maritime rescue association which comes to the aid of small boats at sea, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Thursday night.
The solution arose after an agreement signed between Estonian and Finnish maritime organizations, and will also be available to boats which get in trouble on the larger inland waters, which in Estonia means primarily Peisi Järv (Lake Peipus). The response service includes capabilities to tow vessels to the nearest port if needed.
"We are making history here, opening the sailing season between Estonia and Finland," Head of the Estonian maritime rescue association (Eesti Merepäästeühing) said at a signing ceremony involving his organization, its Finnish counterpart and the volunteer maritime rescue league in Estonia, the Päästeliit.
Fittingly enough, the signing ceremony took place at sea, midway across the Gulf of Finland – travel restrictions at least in Finland prevented the exchange of contracts taking place on terra firma.
"It's been a long journey that started around 2005. And I think it's a great result. I feel confident that the result is great. It's a sign of continued and deep cooperation between Finnish and Estonian volunteers," Tanel Hinno went on.
Jori Nordström of Finland's maritime rescue service said: "As we are used to saying - we have the one sea, one which connects us and connects Finnish and Estonian seafarers. So it is natural that we develop cooperation in the direction of receiving the same level of service on both the Estonian and Finnish coasts."
The scheme itself has been in existence for over 20 years. In Estonian waters, the service will be provided by local voluntary rescue units and their partners, AK reported.
Editor: Andrew Whyte