P24 handed over to San Diego Maritime Museum

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

The Swift Class Patrol Boat (P24) was this morning officially handed over to the Maritime Museum of San Diego.  

Operations director Mark J. Gallant extended the appreciation of the chairman of the San Diego Maritime Museum and said that such an initiative between Malta and the US would continue to strengthen a long history of friendship.

He said the museum would have a display that paid tribute to the fallen Maltese servicemen who died on board the P23 (the sister vessel of P24) during a tragic accident on September 7, 1984.

AFM Commander, Brigadier Martin G. Xuereb said the swift boats facilitated Malta’s efforts to control its maritime borders and for a considerable number of years the P23 and the P24 were the work horses of the Maritime Squadron.

He said that although they were used mainly for border control and as search and rescue launches, the vessels had also proven to be a versatile tool.  

The P24 was now sailing back to the US for public viewing in the Maritime Museum of San Diego while the P23 will stay in Malta, a reminder of the relationship between the US Armed Forces and the AFM.

During this morning’s ceremony, the P24 was towed away as an AFM soldier played the bagpipes and a fog horn salute was sounded from the P61. The Austal Class P24 was aptly chosen to tow its predecessor to the Malta Freeport for eventual shipping to San Diego.

The event was attended by US Ambassador Gina K. Abercrombie- Winstanley.

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