Minister of Economy and Infrastructure Riina Sikkut (SDE) says the state will pass on an opportunity to purchase four ferries which connect the mainland of Estonia with its major islands.
The vessels currently belong to TS Laevad, a subsidiary of the state-owned Port of Tallinn (Tallinna Sadam).
In an address sent to TS Laevad, Sikkut wrote that: "According to the public service agreement on passenger transport on the Rohuküla-Heltermaa and Virtsu-Kuivastu ferry lines, concluded between the Republic of Estonia and TS Laevad OÜ and OÜ TS Shipping, we are informing you that the Republic of Estonia, as customer of the transport, does not wish to use the option to buy out the passenger ferries specified in clause 29 of the agreement."
Heltermaa is on Hiiumaa; Kuivastu on Muhu island, which in turn is linked to Estonia via a causeway road. Rohuküla is on the mainland, close to Haapsalu, while Virtsu is in Pärnu County.
The Port of Tallinn also announced the same via a Tallinn Stock Exchange announcement, which noted that, under the terms of the contract, the state had the right to buy out between one and four passenger ferries owned by TS Laevad, built to order under the terms of the contract, at a fixed price and at the end of the contract period, by announcing the exercise of the option no later than September 30 of this year.
TS Laevad services the Saaremaa and Hiiumaa lines based on its valid passenger transport contract until September 30, 2026, while the state has not yet announced a tender to find a service provider for the following period.
During a former administration, then-Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Taavi Aas (Center) had led a ministry plan to buy the ferries as state property.
TS Laevad operates four diesel or diesel hybrid car ferries, the Leiger, Piret, Tõll and Tiiu, as well as the much older Regula.
Editor: Andrew Whyte