Ferry operator Kihnu Veeteed announced on Friday that due to strong winds Amalie, the ferry replacing fast catamaran Runö currently in the dock for repair works, will not be able to leave port. This means that the already inconvenient connection between Saaremaa and Ruhnu is now down as well.
Runö has been down since 22 June, when it suffered a breakdown and turned around to return to Pärnu. Director of Kihnu Veeteed, Andres Laasma said at the time that the extent of the damage will be revealed only once the main engines have been completely removed from the vessel and taken into the shop for repairs.
Runö will be down for at least two to three weeks. This interrupts the fast and relatively convenient ferry connection between Pärnu and Estonia's most remote island. In the meantime, a replacement, Amalie, was moving between Ruhnu and Saaremaa, providing a slow and inconvenient replacement for the regular route.
Because Amalie is small, the current weather means that even that connection will now be interrupted for at least tomorrow Saturday and also Sunday.
Minister of Public Administration Janek Mäggi (Centre) commented the situation earlier this week, saying that "Ruhnu Island has always been an extreme place to live and visit." When the Republic of Estonia had long since been proclaimed, Ruhnu islanders only found out this had happened long after the sea ice had melted, in May, so in some ways, this is a very special place in Estonia, Mäggi said: "This is in some respects inevitable."
Mäggi also noted that ferry service to Ruhnu costs €530,000 per year, while flights to the island, which operate from 1 November through 30 april, cost another €420,000. "That is a total of €1 million, which is three times more in subsidies than Ruhnu Municipality's own budget," he highlighted. "So a great deal of money is contributed to ensure that this connection exists, but in order to significantly improve it... that would again require significant additional resources."
Editor: Dario Cavegn