Virtsu Harbour history

The first information about crossing the strain with a cargo dates back to 1459. Virtsu manor (Werder) had a great part in it.

To keep the connection, a special type of ferryboat was used. It was a sailing boat – wide, 10-12 meters long, open from the upper part and with a relatively small draught. The communication by sea became regular together with establishing a regular postal communication between the mainland and the islands. In the 17th century the task of keeping the connection between the mainland and Muhu Island was assigned to an inn situated in Virtsu Harbour. In the eighteenth century a net of post-stations started to develop and together with this development it was easier to organise transportation of post and passengers.
The year when the first post-station was built in Virtsu is not known, but it is known to be rebuilt in 1822 (there is an old song to prove it).

There were two ferryboats operating in the strain, one stood in Kuivastu the other in Virtsu. A wooden quay (7 feet/2,13 meters deep) built in the sea was the harbour (often damaged by storms and ice) at the time.
In 1888 the first steamboat “Sirius” started operating between Virtsu and Kuivastu. In 1902 the new ice-breaking steamer “General Surovtsev” started working together with “Sirius”. “General Surovtsev” was run on a rock in 1918 by the Russian military forces.

By 1930s regular navigation was organised between the mainland and the islands, but it failed at times because the harbour was too low for some of the boats. The ice-route remained important during the winters. The communication was organised by Sergo & Co and the operating boats were “Rudolf”, and “Viire”. The harbour was transferred to its present location. After the Second World War the importance of Virtsu Harbour rose. The harbour belonged to the Port of Tallinn. Immediately after the war a motor ship “Merkuri” and a ferry No.1 carried the cargo.

From 1955 a passenger boat called “Morjak” was used. In 1956 a new type of ice-breaking ferry “Sõprus” was used, thereupon “Suurupi”, “Severodvinsk”, and “Viimsi”.
The quays in the harbour were lengthened, a ferry quay was built, and the harbour was deepened. In 1982 the new harbour building was completed.
It was not before 1974, when “Tehumardi” was put to work, when the permanent (no matter the weather) connection between Kuivastu and Virtsu was established.

In 1994 the administration of Virtsu Harbour was assigned to RAS Saarte Liinid, formed by the Estonian Ministry of Transport and Communication. The communication by sea is organised by AS Saaremaa Laevakompanii.
In 1997 a new ferry “Regula” (a ferry that at present meets all the requirements and standards) was put to use.
Since 1997 the harbour’s quay is reconstructed and new ramps are built. In 1999 the yacht harbour was deepened and floating quays were built. In 2000 the harbour’s territory was widened, the new lighting system was set, and the traffic was reorganised.