The Malta Independent 13 December 2018, Thursday

Pilot boat service grew by 27% between 2012 and 2017 – transport minister

Friday, 30 November 2018, 16:01 Last update: about 12 days ago

A new pilot boat, Juliet 1, was inaugurated yesterday by transport minister Ian Borg.

Speaking at the event, Borg said the government will continue strengthening the industry in view of the success being achieved by this sector.

He said that the number of vessels registered under the Act about Merchant Ships, including yachts and fishing boats, had by the end of September reached a figure of more than 8,300 ships, which amount to more than 77 million gross tonnes. This means a growth of 2.5% over December 2017.

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When it comes to the registration of superyachts, Malta is also registering very positive results, with almost 800 yachts longer than 24 metres registered under the Malta flag by the end of September, an increase of 9.4% over December of last year. In fact, Malta is nowadays the largest register in Europe and sixth in the world. 

The Minister explained that both during 2017 as well as during the first half of 2018, Malta also saw an increase in the number of passengers, cargo and vessels which used or were given some form of service in one of our ports. 

With regard to cruise liners, the number of passengers visiting the Maltese islands in 2017 reached a record number of over 790,000, which means more than 100,000 passengers over the previous year, with the number of cruise liners entering Malta in the same year increasing by 9% over the previous year. 

“At this point, one continues to understand the importance of everyone involved in our ports, among them these dedicated pilots which form part of the cooperative Malta Maritime Pilots which is celebrating 15 years since being set up,” said the Minister. 

He stressed the importance of the work done by these pilots, as their guidance, dedication, and experience lead to the possibility of ships or vessels of over 500 gross tonnes and even superyachts which request the service, entering and maneuvering in our ports.

This cooperative has given more than 88,000 pilotage services over the last decade and registered an increase of 27% in services from 2012 to 2017. Borg also said that we must appreciate the dangers that come with this work and expressed his gratefulness towards these pilots. 

He also reminded those present of the investment being made by the same cooperative in the boats it purchases, such as the one inaugurated Friday, as well as the €3.5 million investment in a training centre. 

Chief Pilot Jesmond Mifsud spoke about the investment undertaken by the Malta Maritime Pilots. He explained that the 15-metre Juliet 1 cost €900,000. It is the eight pilot boat. 

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