Ferry operator TS Laevad, a holding of listed Estonian port company Tallinna Sadam, has decided to sail the ferries Tiiu and Leiger on the Hiiumaa route and the ferries Piret and Regula on the route connecting the islands of Saaremaa/Muhu with the mainland from July 27 to 29.
The ferries will re-swap on Friday night, with Tiiu transferring to the Saaremaa route and Regula to the Hiiumaa route, TS Laevad said in a statement on Monday.
Indrek Randveer, chairman of the management board of TS Laevad, said that following an in-depth analysis, the decision was made to bring the ferry Tiiu back to the Hiiumaa route and the ferry Regula to the Saaremaa route from Tuesday, while on Friday the ships will swap routes again until Sunday.
"This decision was made keeping in mind tourism, the locals, and business on the large islands. In the middle of the week, larger ships are more necessary on the Rohukula-Heltermaa route than on the Kuivasta-Virtsu route, as in such way cargo transport for both islands can be arranged without major damage," Randveer said.
The CEO explained that this week, there will be an average of eight cargo vehicles per trip on the Hiiumaa route and 2.2 on the Saaremaa route.
"Considering the schedule of the Hiiumaa service, we want to avoid excessively long waiting times for cargo vehicles - estimated at 3-9 hours - at the port, which would begin to disrupt freight traffic. Due to the shorter journey and the more frequent schedule, the waiting time for cargo vehicles on the Saaremaa route could be up to one and a half hours, which would not yet have a significant impact on freight transport," said Randveer.
At the same time, according to the CEO, the larger ferry Tiiu is absolutely necessary in the current situation on the Virtsu-Kuivastu, or Saaremaa route from Friday to Sunday, as significantly more passengers head to the islands of Saaremaa and Muhu than to Hiiumaa during the weekend.
"We will add, however, additional departures for weekend travel to Hiiumaa in both directions, which can be booked in advance. We also commit to transferring everyone at the port on each day -- no one will be left behind. We believe that this is the best solution for all parties involved," Randveer added.
Passenger transport is carried out normally, which means that boarding to the desired journey is guaranteed by a vehicle e-ticket purchased in advance. People can also travel to the large islands by bus or by plane.
On the night between Sunday and Monday, the ferry Regula will return to the Saaremaa line and the Tiiu to the Hiiumaa line.
The ferry Toll of TS Laevad suffered damage in an accident involving a collision with berth at Kuivastu Harbor on July 22. Due to repairs, the ferry is likely to be off the Virtsu-Kuivastu line until August 10.
Editor: Helen Wright