time to explore with esplora

New fast ferry service to Sicily next summer

A brand new fast ferry service to Sicily will start running in summer 2021. The service, which is operated by local company Ponte Ferries, will offer commuters and hauliers a direct link between Valletta and Augusta.

The service is set to kick off with a 96-metre passenger, vehicle and cargo carrying, high-speed craft. It will operate every day between Malta and the port of Augusta, which is just a half hour away from Catania. It will also offer competition on the Malta-Sicily route, which is currently serviced by Virtu Ferries. Ponte Ferries is a joint venture between the Zammit Tabona family, Magro Brothers and investors Mario and Fabio Muscat, of the Ozo Group.

The company said: “Ponte Ferries promises to bring the much-needed choice and competition with the entry of a second operator in the market.”

Indeed, the ferry will be able to shuttle 720 passengers and is able to carry no less than 245 cars, or 15 freight trailers, plus 180 cars.

According to the operator, the trip between the two countries will offer clients a new opportunity to explore areas closer to Catania, Taormina and Syracuse, with a reduction in transit time, due to the close proximity of the autostrada. This would provide them with quicker and easier access to these areas.

The company added that HSC Artemis will sail into the Grand Harbour, where it will undergo internal upgrades to equip the vessel with all the latest technologies and amenities. The ferry will also feature a club class lounge, as well as many other services. The craft is fully classed and complaint with all the international safety and navigation regulations and is registered under the Maltese flag.

The vessel was operating in the Canary Islands and has recently been overhauled and refitted by a leading ferry operator in Spain, which specialises in inter-island routes aboard high-speed vessels.

“We’re thrilled and determined to offer a choice for hauliers and visitors to Sicily. We have researched the market for a few years now, and know that this is what people want,” said a Ponte Ferries spokesperson.