The Malta Independent 29 February 2020, Saturday

Comino Ferries Coop says they were only bidder for Comino ferry tender

Tuesday, 21 January 2020, 17:30 Last update: about 2 months ago

Comino Ferries Coop, which is made up of four ferry operators, was the only operator to bid for a tender issued by Transport Malta last July for a single entity to run the Comino ferry service from Marfa and Cirkewwa, the cooperative itself has said in a statement.

The statement, they said, was being issued "in reaction to certain inaccuracies which had appeared in the media in recent days over the tender."

Some days ago, irate operators published pictures of a letter they received from Transport Malta which advised them that a new operator had been chosen to provide exclusive service from Marfa and Cirkewwa to Comino.

ADVERTISEMENT

Comino Ferries Coop were the winning bidders of the tender, the concession of which runs for 15 years from this month. The coop itself has now said that it was the only bidder for the tender.

"The tender set out a number of conditions, including: the use of new eco vessels, a fixed schedule, increased frequency, extending the summer timetable from 6pm till 8pm and broadening the nature of the service to operate to Santa Maria Bay in addition to the Blue Lagoon", their statement read.

"The provision of ferry services to Comino has been unregulated for decades - which has given rise to haphazard, unreliable and erratic operations - and all other operators had been offered the opportunity to submit a bid when the tender was issued. None chose to do so", they continue.

They said that contrary to what has been claimed, the exclusivity stipulated in the tender is restricted to departures from Marfa and Cirkewwa, while pick-ups for the purposes of pleasure, fishing, or diving will remain unaffected.

Comino Ferries Coop said that they have also committed to investing €5 million in new hybrid vessels which are safer, more comfortable and environmentally friendly as well setting up a central ticketing system.

The statement continued: "Visitors stand to benefit enormously from the new service. Not only will they enjoy improved comfort and reliability, but for the first time they will also be able to visit two locations in Comino for the price of a single ticket - which will also relieve the ever-growing pressure on the Blue Lagoon in the summer months."

  • don't miss