Developers eye port plans for Saaremaa

  • 1999-11-18
TALLINN(BNS) - Environment Minister Heiki Kranich is not opposed to
building a deep-water port in the bay of Uudepanga in the western
island of Saaremaa which conservationists consider an unsuitable

Kranich said the port can be built in the bay provided two conditions
are strictly observed: first, that no oil products be transported
through the port, and second, that the investor assume full
responsibility for environmental risks and their financial coverage.

The minister admitted that environmental risks and investors'
interest diminish in proportion with the distance of all possible
locations for the port from Uudepanga.

In choosing the location of the port, its nearness to international
shipping routes is a major consideration, and therefore, ports
farther away from the Tagamoisa peninsula will not have a substantial
effect on the development of Saaremaa's economy, Kranich said.

Kranich meanwhile emphatically denied that the location of the port
had already been determined.

The building of the port in the Uudepanga bay is complicated by two
factors - its nearness to the Vilsandi National Park and that the bay
lies in the wintering area of an endangered species of bird, the
Steller's eider.

The construction company Skanska Ehitusis is interested in building
the deep-water port in the Uudepanga bay.

The Saaremaa county government estimates the cost of the port project
at 80 million kroons ($5.3 million) but several other sources put it
as high as 200 million kroons.