Questions answered by state enterprise and new ferryboat operator TS Laevad head Kaido Padar.
-How much did TS Laevad pay Saaremaa Laevakompanii for Regula?
We are willing to tell that if Saaremaa Laevakompanii will consent to that. The price has been mutually agreed and is between three to six million euros, but you must ask Vjatšeslav Leedo for the precise amount.
-How many vessels were being considered in addition to Regula?
We were in contact with 27 companies. There were many issued with these ships as the height matters, the ice class, all kinds of requirements – so one cannot get them and sail at once. We did inspect six to seven ships and regarding the price and quality ratio, hand on the Bible, Regula was best. One ship offered, for instance, could only have taken 32 cars and 100 passengers.
-Vjatšeslav Leedo has said he bought Regula for 35 million Estonian kroons in 1997. In the light of that, may we say the current price of three to six million euros is a good price?
While in negotiations one sets all offers on the table and sees what would be best, all told. A price may always be questioned, but I feel that with this deal both sides were happy. Compared to other offers, I got a good deal. With Regula, it was a win-win. When purchasing a spare ship, one must have a longer period in view, as Regula is planned to be a spare ship for five to ten years.
-Will other spare ships be needed, in addition to Regula?
We are seeking some ferryboats for a short period, for rental. Today it is urgent with all four new ships and time is our worst enemy. Every week we have a building meeting with both shipyards; all understand we are in a hurry but they cannot compromise on quality. At the moment, we are preparing for the darkest scenario, but nobody needs to worry about getting to the islands come October 1st.
-The darkest scenario – would that be none of the four vessels completed by October 1st?
We are in negotiations with various companies to rent ships for a short period. One company was on vacation in July, just now on Monday we continued the negotiations. We cannot specify right now. We are obligated to have four ships and there will be four ships sailing on October 1st. We are living one day at a time and when we have news we will let the public know. We are building these ships for 20–30 years and are not about to lose out on quality. Right now, I am willing to lose a week or two, knowing the ships will be of good quality. Soon all the new ships will be here and nobody will remember the intense time we were having.
-What will be the function of Regula when all four new ships arrive?
We can’t exclude that the traffic will grow and in a couple of years we would need three ships to Saaremaa in summers. In winter, should something happen to one of the four ships, Regula will be handy being an ice class vessel.
-How is the situation at the moment with the ships built in Poland and Turkey?
I dare not say today how many ships will come and when.
-May we at least hope that one will be on time?
We are strongly pressurising the builders, are having board level detailed building meetings. But, at the moment, I cannot make any final promises. Even if the new ships will be late, hopefully we will be forgiven. After all, these ships are being built for us all.
-How are the ships built in Turkey doing?
At the moment, both are in water. Let’s say: one moves more than the other. Jokingly, one could tow the other from there.
-How long will it take for them to get here, from Turkey?
21 days. Easier with Poland, it takes two days.