Low sea levels affecting ferry traffic between Hiiumaa, Estonian mainland

Ferries at the Port of Rohuküla.
Ferries at the Port of Rohuküla. Source: Juhan Hepner/ERR

The scheduled 12:30 p.m. departure from the Port of Heltermaa on the island of Hiiumaa and the 2:30 p.m. departure from the Port of Rohuküla on the mainland have been canceled due to low sea levels along the route. The day's remaining scheduled departures may be affected as well.

The Leiger departed from the Rohuküla on schedule at 10:30 a.m., but was forced to leave behind five vehicles, five vans and one bus.

Decisions regarding the next scheduled departures will be made by the ferry captains on an ongoing basis, based on current conditions.

According to TS Laevad Chief Captain-Marine Safety Manager Jaanus Matso, forecasts by the Marine Systems Institute at Tallinn University of Technology (TTÜ) indicate that sea levels along the Hiiumaa-mainland corridor may fall to the point that they can no longer ensure safe ship traffic.

"In order to ensure safe ship traffic in the Rukki Canal, there must be at least 45 centimeters of water below the vessel's keel," Matso explained. "We were only able to take a certain number of vehicles on board the 8:30 a.m. departure from Heltermaa this morning; 21 vehicles were left behind."

Based on sea level forecasts for the next few hours indicating a continuing drop in sea level, it is very likely that the captains will have to make the call to temporarily halt ship traffic betwen Rohuküla and Heltermaa, he added.

Ferry operator TS Laevad, a subsidiary of the Estonian state-owned Port of Tallinn, has asked travelers to be patient as well as to check for the latest information online at praamid.ee and on Facebook before heading to port.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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