The Maltese maritime register is the biggest in Europe and the sixth biggest in the world. Transport Minister Ian Borg stated that in recent months the register continued to boost its quality and reputation, and for the first time it is among the top 20 registers on the white list of the Paris agreement, which covers all ports.
The fleet of vessels flying the Maltese flag ranges from the largest and most modern cruise liners to vessels carrying oil rigs, merchant vessels and superyachts larger than 24 metres. The Transport Minister stated that more than 30 superyachts were registered during the first six months of this year, with the numbers in this category exceeding 830 on the register.
Minister Borg added that for the first time in history, the Maltese Register of Shipping has qualified among the top 20 registries on the white list of the Paris agreement, which covers all ports. The Minister remarked that Malta classified in 17th position on the list, which shows technical details of the fleet registered under the flag and conformity with international conventions on safety, prevention of pollution and working conditions for mariners.
Over 4,600 inspections were carried out during the past three years on the fleet flying the Maltese flag, and just over 100 vessels were stopped because of irregularities. The Minister added that these results continue to attract confidence and investment in the Maltese register, which has doubled the registered tonnage over the past seven years. The Minister further stated that last year alone saw an increase of more than 7% over 2018, despite the fact that the industry was going through a difficult period.
Dr Borg pointed out that the industry generates over 14% of the Gross Domestic Product and value-added employment.
In the coming weeks, Dr Borg added, the Directorate of Merchant Shipping will launch two digital projects, and as a result of an investment of a quarter of a million euro from European funds, the authority is implementing a pilot project for the setting up of a system of digital archiving in this directorate.
And in more developments in this sector, Minister Borg referred to the news that MSC Cruises now has a 50% shareholding in the Palumbo shipyard. The company stated it will use the yard for works on MSC Cruises and MSC Group Cargo.