Keep prison away from port

  • 2011-02-23
  • From wire reports

TALLINN - Vopak E.O.S., the company that operates Estonia’s largest oil terminal in Muuga Port, submitted on Feb. 17 an appeal to Tallinn District Court to overturn a construction permit for the new Tallinna Vangla prison in Maardu, reports news agency LETA. “All risk analyses confirm that the development of the prison within the safety zone of the terminal, pipeline operations and Maardu railway station will interfere and limit future activities of Vopak E.O.S. Moreover, as a result of the dispute, currently, the 25 million euro investment into the new facilities in the Maardu railway infrastructure have been blocked by actions of the Ministry of Justice,” said Arnout Lugtmeijer, chairman of the board of Vopak E.O.S.

“We are surprised that the Ministry of Justice continues this pointless dispute, targeted against our activities in the industrial area of Maardu. With Vopak E.O.S.’s compromise offer on the table, the problem can be solved if the Ministry of Justice decides to stop running two prison project developments in parallel by choosing the new location in Rae municipality and abandoning Maardu,” Lugtmeijer added.

“Over the past ten years, the employees of Vopak E.O.S. have worked very hard to become the leading terminal operator in the Baltic Sea region, creating a valuable export logistics chain together with Tallinna Sadam and Eesti Raudtee,” Lugtmeijer pointed out. “Over the years, Estonian governments have done excellent work in supporting the entrepreneurship and investment climate in the country. Now we really expect the government to actually take a more active role in solving this stalemate situation, whereby all parties are spending money in an empty process for many years already. At the end of the day, we will only come out of this economic downturn when government and entrepreneurs go about business hand-in-hand.”
Vopak E.O.S. has been pro-active in trying to reach a mutually acceptable solution to relocate the prison development, the company says. “We have offered 1.2 million euros to cover non-transferable costs of the prison development, the same amount as was claimed by the Ministry of Justice to have already been spent on developing the project,” commented Lugtmeijer.

The development plans approved by the Maardu town government call for building the new Tallinn Prison 100 meters from Vopak E.O.S. terminal, which the company says affects the company’s business activities and future plans.
The Ministry of Justice says that in 2007, the company agreed to the development plans and cannot dispute that decision. The state has spent around 1.2 million euros for preparatory work.