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New look for AFM base

Artist’s impression of how the base will look after the upgrade.

Artist’s impression of how the base will look after the upgrade.

The Armed Forces of Malta’s maritime base in Hay Wharf will undergo a €4.8 million upgrade next year, EU Funds Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg has told Times of Malta.

The seven-month project will extend the existing quay to accommodate a new rapid deployment launching facility and the construction of an onsite border control room. Work is set to be completed by June 2015.

The Hay Wharf quay is the main base for the island’s maritime search and rescue operations, with all migrant rescues ending there. Most operations see large numbers of sea weary migrants made to sit on the sweltering concrete until processed, while crew are housed in cramped buildings.

The base will now be drastically improved, with staff accommodation, training and fitness facilities introduced.

The main aim of the investment is to improve quick response capabilities. To this end, Dr Borg said, the investment would include new lifting equipment able to pluck vessels from the water and put them back in at a moment’s notice. The investment follows a separate injection of funds that have been used to extend the armed forces’ fleet of patrol and search and rescue boats.

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