PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR TRANSPORT, INFRASTRUCTURE AND CAPITAL PROJECTS: About 12 abandoned vessels are being removed from the Grand Harbour

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg announced that the works for the regeneration of the Grand Harbour are currently in progress and about 12 abandoned vessels are being removed from the Grand Harbour.

Minister Borg said that Transport Malta, together with Infrastructure Malta, has undertaken a number of projects set up to regenerate the harbour, thus improving not only the services that can be offered but also the flexibility that the harbour can fully offer the shipping industry in Malta. The minister said this while encountering an operation being carried out where a vessel was being loaded.

Minister Ian Borg said, “Our harbour is of strategic importance. It is a harbour that has a variety of uses; industrial, freight but also on the touristic level and so every place we have in this harbour needs to be well utilised.”

“We want more maritime services, but we must ensure that every space is used in the best possible way and therefore we are cleaning these wrecked vessels that were sunk and abandoned inland of Marsa, about twelve in all. Even when we had craft structures such as oil rigs that were there and had long since been abandoned, we asked to remove them as well. We now have a new port notice that notifies us every two months so that we can see whether the work is being done or not”.

The complexity of these operations should not be underestimated given that a number of vessels, which are in a state of wreckage, are completely submerged, which adds to the complexity of the equipment and experience required in the removal process. Also, the circumstances surrounding each vessel, which are now considered unsuitable for the sea, vary to the extent that each must be treated differently, with both legal and logistical processes tailored to each case. These processes are currently underway, together with a number of operations that have already recovered a number of vessels to date.