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New Ferry Delivered to Maritime Administration

Since 2007, the Estonian Maritime Administration has been carrying out an extensive project aimed at acquiring vessels to provide a connection between the mainland and small islands, financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund. The ultimate goal was to order six newbuildings. From 2007 to 2013, five ferries were delivered to the MA. The Baltic Workboats shipyard (BWB) built the Abro and Runö, servicing the islands of Abruka and Ruhnu, respectively; the Ormsö was built for the Vormsi line, and the Kihnu Virve for connecting Kihnu, Manija and the mainland. The shipbuilding and engineering company Reval Shipbuilding built the Wrangö that connects the island of Prangli with the mainland.

The sixth ferry was delivered in April 2017 ahead of schedule to provide a connection between the islands Hiiumaa and Saaremaa. The ferry carries up to 200 persons and up to 22 automobiles or two road trains. It has a length of 45 metres, a width of 12 metres, draft 2.7 metres, a speed of up to 12 knots fully laden, and is maintained by a crew of six. 85 per cent of the financing of the newbuilding was received from the Cohesion Fund of the European Union (2014-2020) and 15 per cent from the state budget. The total cost was 9.4 million euro.

The vessel was named Soela, after the strait between the two islands. It began its service on 1 May 2017 shuttling between Sõru harbour in Hiiumaa and Triigi harbour in Saaremaa. The MA does not operate the Soela; the operator is AS Kihnu Veeteed.