According to Enn Rohula, CEO of the Linda Line, which had formerly operated a catamaran fast-link between Tallinn and Helsinki and which filed for bankruptcy earlier in the year, a new, larger catamaran has been chosen for the resumption of the service between the two capitals. However, its acquisition has been hampered by the ongoing bankruptcy process, he says.
As reported on ERR, Linda Line Shipping OÜ, the parent company of fast boat operator Lindaliini AS, was declared bankrupt in May at the company's own request. Nevertheless, Lindaliini AS had intended to resume service with a new boat this summer. At present no Linda Line service runs between Tallinn and Helsinki.
''The new vessel has now been selected and investors are ready to come on board,'' Mr. Rohula told ERR on Monday.
He did not provide details, including the price of the proposed replacement ship, only stating that it was an Australian-built catamaran.
Mr. Rohula had previously stated his intention to Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat that a catamaran capable of accommodating 600 passengers and 100 vehicles would be purchased in time to meet the summer high season. The previous two vessels operated by Linda Line carried 353 passengers each (no vehicles) and the journey time between Tallinn and Helsinki was 100 minutes, according to the company website.
Linda Line, which employed around 26 people, had operated two catamarans, the Karolin and the Merilin, for nearly 25 years before the company filed for bankruptcy. The Karolin was sold to a Greek company, Golden Star Ferries, and the Merilin went to a South Korean firm, is has been reported. The company's former offices on Ädala Street in north Tallinn were also put up for sale as part of the bankruptcy process.
Linda Line ownership
Just as the current details of the proposed replacement catamaran have not been fleshed out, there is a similar lack of clarity as to ownership of some of the shares of Linda Line Shipping OÜ. Finnish-registered company Varsinais-Suomen Tukkutoimi Oy was a 90% shareholder it is reported, with the remaining 10% of shares being in the name of Jaanika Rohula, presumed to be Mr. Rohula's daughter.
However some shares are owned by one Timo Sas, and need to be bought out, according to Mr. Rohula. Timo Sas' place in the company had reportedly also been listed under the name Timo Tamm, as well as one Vladimir Timofejev; the latter had apparently been described by Estonian weekly Eesti Ekspress as something of a legendary thrill-seeker.
The company website at press time states that it is 'awaiting the start of a new season'. Clicking on the 'book a trip' button brings up an error message.
Editor: Andrew Whyte