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Tug Malta to invest €50 million

A Moss 424 anchor-handling supply vessel of 210 tonnes Bollard-Pull. An identical vessel has been ordered by Rimorchiatori Malta Offshore Ltd.

A Moss 424 anchor-handling supply vessel of 210 tonnes Bollard-Pull. An identical vessel has been ordered by Rimorchiatori Malta Offshore Ltd.

After the acquisition of the majority shareholding of Tug Malta Ltd from Malta Government Investments Ltd, as agent for the Government last July, the new majority shareholder - Rimorchiatori Riuniti SpA of Genoa - has taken some important decisions to establish Tug Malta as a leading towage and ancillary services player in the region.

At a recent board meeting it was decided to expand the fleet with two new vessels to develop offshore services in North African countries and in the Mediterranean. The total value of these two investments will be of over €50 million.

The first vessel is an 80-tonne Bollard Pull harbour/escort/anchor handling tug designed to operate in Maltese harbours and their approaches. The tug will be fully equipped with fire-fighting Class 1, oil recovery and salvage equipment. The vessel is due for delivery in December 2008, and will be equipped with Voith Schneider propulsion and twin MAK main engines able to give a total power of 7.180 BHP.

The second vessel, an anchor handling supply vessel to be delivered in April 2010, is a Moss 424 Mark III design with a DWT of 3,100 tons, and will be equipped with four main Bergen engines with a power of 19,000 BHP able to give a Bollard Pull of about 210 tonnes.

The vessel will also be equipped with a fire fighting system Class 2, Dynamic positioning 2, and oil recovery capability to match the technical/operational requirements from offshore operators.

The vessel will also be able to carry typical liquid and dry cargo necessary for rig operations and 1,200 tons of cargo on a deck area of 600 square metres.The vessels will be built in Europe.

The investment comes hard on the heels of the investment already made by Rimorchiatori Riuniti Group with the acquisition of Tug Malta. It is foreseen that the financing of the first vessel will be carried out in Malta. A leading local bank has shown a keen interest.

A training programme for Tug Malta's crews represents one of the most important goals of the group.

At the end of October, the new Tug Malta board met in Malta for the second time under the new shareholders. Present for the meeting were directors Giovanni delle Piane, president of Rimorchiatori Riuniti S.p.A., Gregorio Gavarone, managing director and CEO of Rimorchiatori Riuniti S.p.A., and Riccardo Biale, executive director of Rimorchiatori Riuniti S.p.A. Also present were John E. Sullivan, representing one of the minority shareholders, who was re-appointed company chairman, Richard Camilleri, and Godwin Falzon. The other minority shareholders were represented by Charles J. Farrugia and Andrew Zammit.

The new shareholders of the company have confirmed that the Maltese management of Tug Malta will continue to run the company within the group, under the direction of chief executive officer Ray Miller.

A member of the European Tug Owner's Association and the International Salvage Union, Tug Malta actively participates in the workings of these two international bodies.

The next annual general meeting of the International Salvage Union will be held in Malta next September.

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