Editorial: silence – not always golden

Mandri ja Saaremaa vahet sõitev parvlaev Regula.

PHOTO: Teet Malsroos / Õhtuleht

The folks ferried between mainland and Saaremaa feel worried: in summer, the queues are a bother as things stand but ship swap by Saaremaa Laevakompanii may stretch them longer still – yet, the main hero keeps mum. On the one hand, people are justified in expecting information regarding plans of a company providing public services. On the other, entrepreneurs have their business interests to consider. And as the move is allowed by contracts, who could find fault with the entrepreneur.

Legally, that is. Humanly, we could.

Summing it up: a new contract was denied to Saaremaa Laevakompanii currently in charge of connection with Saaremaa. The reason was simple – the competition was won by Port of Tallinn which will be ferrying the people starting October next year.

About the time in between – including the summer when the urge to go to Saaremaa swells like a flood – just some rare and sparse facts are known. Firstly, we know that the ferries we are having at the moment have been advertised in Germany for a local line. And secondly, Saaremaa Laevakompanii has rented an older vessel from Greece, and a lot smaller. When exactly the ships are swapped, only Saaremaa Laevakompanii knows.

We all understand the business side of things. What we do not understand is the vacuum of information. True: officially, Saaremaa Laevakompanii is under no obligation to say anything. Even so, people are in the dark and realise something has gone badly wrong.

As anybody providing public services will know: silence bodes no good whatever isn’t being communicated. With public need for information unmet, fear will weave its web like a spider. The web will be weaved of whatever fragments of information currently available, filling the blanks with hearsay and old wives tales. The fewer the facts, the grander the role of the grapevine. Thus it may happen that once they realise the importance of communication, misinformation might be out of control.

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