PRESS RELEASE BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER: Speech by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on the occasion of the naming ceremony of the Motor Tug St Angelo

Reference Number: PR180288, Press Release Issue Date: Feb 09, 2018

Malta is forever bound to its surrounding sea. It has shaped our people, our economic progress, and the journey of our nation throughout all its history, a maritime history. The sea brought us our religion, formed our rich culture from all those who came to lay claim in our past and gave us the tools to forge our own future through economic prosperity. It was in this relationship, our understanding of our strategic importance at the centre of the Mediterranean, that Malta was able to grow into the regional and yes, global player that it is today.​​

Today’s inauguration of this new state of the art tugboat, being deployed by Tug Malta, represents the strides we have made as a country, from independence to the success story that we are today. Tug Malta’s development over the years itself mirrors this journey. Starting from a government initiative, bringing together in cooperation small operators in the towage services, it grew in stature and capability gaining the confidence that it could meet Malta’s emerging and fast growing maritime needs. As our port operations grew, shifting towards the growing importance of Malta Freeport as a major logistics hub in the Mediterranean, Tug Malta attracted the attention of big players in the industry. Through the privatisation process launched in 2006, Tug Malta partnered with Rimorchiatori Riuniti Group of Geneva, and made the necessary leap to spearhead Malta’s growing economy and Maritime expansion. The success of this partnership is a perfect example of how public and private interests can be mutually beneficial, bringing the right expertise and impetus from the private sector to such a vital sector of our economy.

Tug Malta’s relationship with Transport Malta remains fundamental to our vision to turn Malta from a small localised port to global player in the maritime sector. The new vessels commissioned by Tug Malta, are a clear indication of this ambition and Tug Malta’s readiness to meet it. With an investment of 24 million Euros in three new tugs, Tug Malta will be able to provide services to even bigger vessels that our harbours are attracting. More crucially, this new fleet will also be able to service our LNG needs, particularly with regards to safety and emergency services, further extenuating Malta’s leap forward we have experienced over the past five years.

My government’s vision for our islands remains a bold one, more so in our self-confidence that we can better capitalise on the strategic position Malta has in sea trade routes and the maritime industry generally. I congratulate Tug Malta on its steadfast determination to meet this challenge, and wish the crews a safe and prosperous journey.​