TALLINN – Estonia could buy a fifth vessel in addition to the four ferries of the same design currently plying the routes between the mainland and the country's large western islands and put it in operation on the Virtsu-Kuivastu line, Prime Minister Juri Ratas said on Thursday.
"The state could acquire one more ship, a fifth ship -- it should be [plying] between Virtsu and Kuivastu. Renting it every year, like we have been doing, is very expensive and doesn't pay off either in the long-term or short-term perspective," the prime minister said at the government press conference.
He said that the topic of the acquisition of a fifth ferry will be put on the table at the discussion of the state budget for next year in September.
Ratas added that when speaking about Virtsu-Kuivastu, the service connecting the islands of Saaremaa and Muhu with the mainland, one should also not forget the Rohukula-Heltermaa service between the mainland and Hiiumaa. He said that adding a third vessel to that service is not a priority, however.
"We have to look over the winter timetable in the first place, in order for there to be more departures, which I have also asked TS Laevad to assess already this fall," Ratas said, referring to the Tallinna Sadam ferry operating subsidiary TS Laevad.