Former Minister of Transport and the current Speaker of Parliament Sturla Bödvarsson issued a statement yesterday stating that he had not issued any orders which could have caused the current situation surrounding the new Grímsey island ferry.
A 12-year-old ferry Oleain Arann was purchased to replace the old Grímsey island ferry Saefari in November 2005. There were planned to repair the new ferry so that it might commence operations in November 2006, Fréttabladid reports.
The cost of repairs has far exceeded estimates and the new ferry has still not been put to use, still in a dockyard in Hafnarfjördur, southwest Iceland.
Fréttabladid wrote yesterday that the local authority in the Grímsey island municipality, northeast Iceland, is dissatisfied with a report by the Icelandic National Audit Office on the purchase and renovation of a new ferry for the island and that the Audit Office is not pleased with the local authority’s criticism of the report.
Director of the Ministry of Transport Ragnhildur Hjaltadóttir claimed the ministry’s regulations had been violated during the purchase and renovation of the new ferry, which took place while Bödvarsson was Minister of Transport.
According to Fréttabladid, Bödvarsson’s statement explained that if mistakes occur at institutions or are made by advisors subordinate to the Minister of Transport, the final responsibility lies with him, but for him to have daily interventions or take charge of a single projects as extensive as the Grímsey island ferry case is “naturally unthinkable.”
The statement mentioned that it is obvious that any media coverage and measures taken in relation to this case now do not have anything to do with the former Minister of Transport, but with those who are now in government.
The current Minister of Transport Kristján Möller did not want to comment to Fréttabladid yesterday on Bödvarsson’s statement.