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Services & Information
Flags, Symbols and their uses
The National Flag of Malta
The Constitution provides that the National Flag of Malta consists of two equal vertical stripes, white in the hoist and red in the fly, with a representation of the George Cross, edged with red, in the canton of the white stripe; the breadth of the flag is one and a half times its height.
The Emblem of Malta
The emblem of Malta is described by the Emblem and Public Seal of Malta Act (Cap.253) as a shield showing an heraldic representation of the National Flag of Malta; above the shield a mural crown in gold with a sally port and eight turrets (five only being visible) representing the fortifications of Malta and denoting a City State; and around the shield a wreath of two branches: the dexter of Olive, the sinister of Palm, symbols of peace and traditionally associated with Malta, all in their proper colours, tied at base with a white ribbon, backed red and upon which are written the words "Repubblika ta' Malta" in capital letters in black.
The Presidential Flag of Malta
The Presidential Flag of Malta was introduced by Proclamation dated 12th December, 1988. This flag is flown on the President's official residences and offices and on all occasions at which he is present. It has the same proportions as the National Flag and consists of a blue field with the Emblem of Malta at its centre; and a Maltese Cross in gold in each corner.
The Merchant Flag of Malta
The Merchant Flag of Malta introduced by the Merchant Shipping Act (Cap. 234) consists of a red field bordered in white, with a white Maltese Cross at its centre.
The Flag used by the Archbishop of Malta
The flag used by the Archbishop of Malta consists of two equal vertical stripes, yellow in the hoist and white in the fly.
The Pennant used by the Commander of the Armed Forces of Malta
The pennant used by the Commander of the Armed Forces of Malta consists of a red field with the symbol of the Armed Forces in gold at its centre.
The Pennant used by the Commissioner of the Police Force
The pennant used by the Commissioner of the Police Force consists of a blue field with the symbol of the Police Force at its centre.
It is the custom to display the National Flag of Malta only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, it may also be displayed at night on special occasions, and in such case it should preferably be floodlit.
The National Flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
The National Flag should be displayed near the main administration building of every public institution on all days when the weather permits and especially on National Holidays.
The National Flag should be displayed during school days on or near every school building and in or near every polling place on election days.
The National Flag carried in a procession with
The National Flag carried in a procession with other flags.
The National Flag with another flag against a wall
The National Flag at the centre and at the highest point with a group of flags.
When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation.
When the National Flag is flown from a staff it should be hoisted to the peak of the staff unless it is at half-mast.
The National Flag, when flown at half-mast, should be hoisted to the peak for an instant and then slowly lowered to the half-mast position. It should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. By "half-mast" is meant lowering the National Flag to half the distance between the top and bottom of the flagstaff. Crepe streamers may be affixed above the flag as a sign of mourning. Flags are to be flown at half-mast on Government buildings when instructions are so issued by the Office of the Prime Minister.
When the National Flag is displayed otherwise than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, with the 'hoist' on the left of the audience, whether indoors or out, or so suspended that its folds fall as free as though it were hoisted upon a flagstaff.
No flag or pennant may be placed above the
National Flag or to its right.
The National Flag displayed flat in public places without flagstaff
The National Flag should be placed on the speaker's right
When flown from a staff in a public hall or auditorium the National Flag should occupy the position of honour and be placed at the speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag displayed on the platform should be placed on the speaker's left as he faces the audience.
When the National Flag is used to cover a coffin, it should be so placed that the George Cross is at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be allowed to touch the ground, nor be lowered into the grave.
The National Flag of Malta should not be draped over any part of any vehicle.
When in Malta the President shall fly his Personal Flag from the centre mast of the car and when on board a Maltese military vessel from the starboard yard. When the President is travelling in the same vehicle with someone of his own rank, the flag of the visiting Head of State shall have the courtesy position on the right side.
When outside Malta he shall fly the National Flag from the right and his Personal Flag from the left of the car.
The Prime Minister shall fly the National Flag from the centre mast of his car except when he is travelling in the same vehicle with someone of his own rank; in this case the flag of the visiting Head of Government shall have the courtesy position on the right side.
Foreign Ambassadors accredited to Malta, to organisations based in Malta or to conferences being held in Malta, shall normally fly their flags from the left side of the car. Visiting Heads of State or Government shall normally fly their flags from the centre mast of their cars although nothing shall prevent them from following the customs of their countries.
The Commissioner of Police and the Commander of the Armed Forces may fly their pennants from the centre mast of their cars. Except as already provided above, and for the Archbishop of Malta who may fly his own flag from the centre mast of his car, no other person shall fly in Malta a flag or pennant on his car.
In flying the National Flag on their cars, Maltese Ambassadors abroad shall follow the custom of the country to which they are accredited.
International maritime custom will be followed by vessels in Maltese territorial waters.
Maltese military vessels shall fly the National Flag of Malta as their ensign.
Maltese civilian vessels shall fly the Merchant Flag of Malta as their ensign.
Maltese military vessels may fly a jack which shall be a square flag, consisting of a George Cross proper fimbriated in red in the centre of a white square, within a red square. Each corner of the red square shall contain a white Maltese Cross.
The Emblem and Public Seal of Malta Act (Cap.253) provides that it shall not be lawful for any person to publicly vilify by words, gestures, written matter whether printed or not, or pictures or by some other visible means, or in any manner to deface, the National Flag of Mal
ta or the Emblem of Malta. It further provides that it shall not be lawful to incorporate within any design, for any purpose whatsoever, without the written authority of the Prime Minister, or not in accordance with any condition contained in any such written authority, the National Flag, the Emblem or former Emblems of Malta.
The National Flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
Except when ships are following international maritime custom, the National Flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colours, local flags, and organisation or institutional flags are to be dipped to the National Flag as a mark of respect.
The National Flag shall never be displayed with the George Cross down save as a signal of dire distress.
The National Flag should not be used as the covering for a monument or commemorative plaque at unveiling ceremonies. It should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony but bunting of white and red, not in the proportions of the National Flag, should be used for the covering.
The National Flag shall never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the National Flag is flown.
The National Flag should never be used as drapery of any sort whatsoever, never drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fly or fall free.
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the National Flag or when the National Flag is passing on parade or in a review, all persons present shall face the National Flag and stand to attention. Those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove headgear. Foreigners should also stand to attention. Saluting the National Flag in a moving column shall be rendered at the moment the National Flag passes.
Whenever the National Flag is painted on the side of a ship or aeroplane, the hoist should be towards the bow of the ship or front of the plane with the fly flowing aft.
Maltese military aircraft shall on the wings and fuselage carry a roundel, consisting of George Cross proper fimbriated in red in the centre of a white disc, within a red disc.
Maltese military aircraft shall carry a rudder or fin flash consisting of two equal vertical strips, one white and the other red with the white leading and bearing across its top third a George Cross proper fimbriated in red.
National Flag Graphical Specifications
- The Malta Government Gazette (No. 15,310) of the 25th July, 1990
OPM No 14_2004.pdf
- OPM Circular 14/2004 issued on 5th April, 2004
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