Prime Minister Jüri Ratas should stop defending Minister of Economic Affairs Kadri Simson (Center) and take charge in the matter of the continuing delays and interruptions of the ferry connection with Hiiumaa, chairman of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE), Mart Helme said on Monday.
"The inability of the government to ensure ferry services between Hiiumaa and the mainland is a textbook case of carelessness and negligence on the part of the state. Of course part of the blame lies with the Reform Party, which a couple of years ago chose not to carry out regular dredging works in the Rukki shipping channel. Unfortunately, Minister Kadri Simson is continuing the negligent policies of her predecessor, Kristen Michal," Helme said.
"The problems with low sea levels between Hiiumaa and the mainland have been known for years. The last time measurements were made was in November last year, when Simson was minister. Had they started with the work right away, the current crisis would have been avoided."
Starting with the dredging in August or September, like Simson suggested it, wasn't acceptable, Helme added: "The problem needs to be solved immediately, not six months from now. Hiiumaa's residents and businesses are unable to bring supplies and deliver their produce means immense economic damage to the business of the entire island," Helme said.
"It is evident that Minister of Economic Affairs Simson is not up to her job. The prime minister has to stop justifying Simson's inaction and manage the crisis himself," Helme added.
Due to low water levels, the ferries operating between the mainland and Hiiumaa were able to carry only significantly smaller numbers of people and vehicles than usual on Sunday, as the vessels could be loaded only partially and schedules could not be kept.
Editor: Dario Cavegn