Malta to Serve as North African Off-shore Launch Pad


Rimorchiatori Riuniti, the Italian company which last year bought Tug Malta from government, intends to use its base in Malta to penetrate North Africa, The Malta Business Weekly has learnt.

The company’s chief executive, Gregorio Gavarone, sees the Mediterranean as a potential growth area following their long standing presence in Brazil, according to an interview with the Lloyd’s List.

“North Africa is going to develop fast in terms of port authorities, because inland activity is significant, and the oil industry, both onshore and offshore. Malta is a very good place from which to monitor developments. Among other things, it has always had very good relations with Libya and other North African countries,” Mr Gavarone was quoted as saying by the Lloyd’s List.

Following the acquisition of the majority shareholding of Tug Malta Limited from Malta Government Investments Limited, in July last year, Rimorchiatori Riuniti SpA of Genova, Italy, had declared its intention to establish Tug Malta as a leading player in the central Mediterranean, and beyond, as far as towage and ancillary services are concerned.

Last month Rimorchiatori Malta Ltd announced the purchase of a third vessel, taking the total investment made by the company past the €100m mark since it bought Tug Malta.

The new vessel ordered is an anchor handling supply vessel, AHSV type, from the Spanish shipyard Union Naval Valencia and was designed by Moss Maritime, one of Norway’s leading naval architects forming part of Messrs Saipem. It will be delivered to the Maltese company in March 2010.

The vessel is specifically designed to perform offshore activities giving assistance to fixed or floating oil rigs in the south Mediterranean waters. The construction price of the vessel is €20m and will be financed by an Italian bank, possibly in a pooling arrangement with a Maltese bank.

Last September Tug Malta also ordered from the Spanish shipyard Armon SA an 80 tonnes bollard pull harbour/escort/anchor handling tug primarily designed to operate in the Maltese harbours and their approaches. The vessel is due to be delivered in December. The investment is €10.3m and is partly financed by Bank of Valletta and the group.