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Malta-Gozo fast ferry?

For those of you who may not know, the company of Virtu Ferries operates a catamaran service, between Malta and Sicily. The latest, however, is that the company has applied for a license to operate a fast ferry service between Malta and Gozo!

The decision comes after Ian Borg, the Transport minister, announced that the government will liberalise the fast ferry market between Valletta and Mġarr last month. The government has expressed that the fast ferry service should be operational by 1 June, 2021. According to Virtu, due to the short timeframe given, they will initially use one of its existing vessels, to operate the Valletta-Mġarr service. They will then review the possibility of commissioning a specific vessel for the route in the future.

The proposal was one of much controversy, after the Public Contracts Review Board decided back in 2019, that a contract awarded by the Gozo Channel to Island Ferries was null. Why? Well, reportedly, the contract agreement was concluded before a final decision was made.

Virtu said that once the service is up and running, it will be reviewing the construction of a ferry specifically for the inter-island service.

“The proposed new ferry will conform to the highest environmental standards in place at time of build, respecting stringent Emission Regulations and guidelines issued by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO),” said the company.

Ian Borg said that while the parameters will be wide, so that no one who might express interest in the service may be excluded, the trip between the two islands must not last longer than 45 minutes. The service will ferry passengers from Mġarr in Gozo, to the Grand Harbour in Valletta, as of June 1.

What are your thoughts?