Early Saturday morning, the biggest naval boat of the Armed Forces of Malta, the P62, was given a warm welcome at Haywharf after sailing for a week from Ireland in bad weather.
This morning, the Interior Minister Carmelo Abela and the Commander of the Armed Forces Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi welcomed the crew of the P62, composed of 41 AFM members who were also given a warm welcome by their relatives. Irish officials also accompanied the AFM crew members.
The Interior and National Security Ministry said in a statement that during the past weeks, the Maltese crew of the P62 carrying out various works aboard to prepare the ship for its first voyage under a Maltese flag.
He said that the P62 will now join in the duty of the AFM Maritime Squad.
The Minister added that the patrol boat, given by the Irish Government, will be utilized, during the completion of maintenance work on the P61 and until a new boat is purchased by the Armed Forces. As announced in the Budget, the purchase of the new AFM ship will involve an investment of €38 million co-financed by European funds.
Major James Grixti commanded the voyage of the P62 from the port of Cork in Ireland. The acquisition of the patrol boat was the result of assistance given by the Project Officer, Major David Aquilina who had served with the Irish Naval Forces. He was assisted by a team of technical and specialized soldiers from the Maritime Squad.