Kristel Üksvärav said that a ferry could have been sought somewhere else, while admitting there would be no other rapid solution. “One possibility would be to ferry people back to the mainland without sticking to a schedule.”
Maripuu said that the Saaremaa Municipality offered a compromise in only getting the larger ferry for one week. “It would be a great help to us,” she said. “That is what we are asking the people of Hiiumaa, knowing that it is inconvenient and unfair toward them.” She added that the island has made no demands. The company decided to replace the ferries Tiiu and Regula on its own.
Most sensible decision
CEO of TS Laevad Indrek Randveer said that replacing one of the ferries servicing the Hiiumaa link is the most practical solution.
“Starting on Saturday, the ferry Regula will be stepping in for regular trips on the Rohuküla-Heltermaa line, while Tiiu will be helping the Saaremaa link stick to the schedule,” he said.
Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center), whose ministry could be looking at a claim for damages from Hiiumaa, said the decision made is the most sensible option.
“TS Laevad analyzed passenger volumes and prebooked tickets on both lines and found this solution to be the most practical. The situation is understandably difficult for all sides, while a temporary solution needs to be found for people to reach their destination,” the minister found. He emphasized that both lines will be serviced by two ferries and ferry links will be retained. Aas also said TS Laevad will do everything in its power to successfully service passengers.
Randveer said the company will do its level best to see to the needs of all passengers going to and returning from Hiiumaa. “Even though Regula takes on fewer passengers and vehicles, minor changes we’re making will allow us to make sure people who have already bought tickets for the weekend can cross. Our goal is to organize all planned trips and minimize the waiting period,” the CEO said.
He said that the weekends’ bookings for both islands left no doubt as to the necessity of the switch as the number of vehicles that miss the ferry is 11 times greater for the Saaremaa link than it is for Hiiumaa even when all ferries are in operation. “Leaving Regula to serve the Saaremaa link on the weekend would leave us with very long queues,” he said.