Organisations disappointed over dropping of fast-ferry service proposal |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
03/09/2020

Organisations disappointed over dropping of fast-ferry service proposal

Eleven organisations are calling on the Government to reconsider its decision to ignore its electoral pledge to offer a fast-ferry service linking the Mġarr harbour to the Grand Harbour, in favour of a hop-on, hop-off ferry service. The latter service will not cater for the needs of Gozitan and Maltese commuters crossing between Malta and Gozo every day, and fails to address, in a tangible and sustainable manner, the connectivity challenges faced by Gozitans. The fast-ferry had been promised for years, and it would have significantly eased the hardships faced by Gozitan workers, students and other commuters by providing a much shorter commute and reducing vehicular traffic between the two islands.


By embracing a scheme that is merely a private sector business venture, instead of a fast-ferry service, the Government is betraying the 3,300 Gozitan employees who work in Malta, and who desperately need an efficient transport solution. It defies belief that the government remains obsessed with its pledge to deliver a car tunnel, which would take years and millions to complete, and which will not significantly shorten journey times, whilst dismissing other, more efficient, alternative solutions.


The tendering process for the provision of a fast-ferry service between Valletta and Mġarr was mired in controversy, and has now been suspended following claims of foul play. A third tender was issued earlier this summer for a hop-on, hop-off ferry service from at least five seaside locations, which will not be an adequate substitute for the fast-ferry service originally promised. The fast-ferry service linking Mġarr to Valletta would provide a non-stop seamless connection for Gozitan commuters, who have to make the crossing daily. The new hop-on, hop-off service proposes to make various stops at different ports in Gozo and Malta, and thus will not provide a fast, non-stop connection that is so direly needed for Gozitan commuters. Moreover, no evidence that the service frequency proposed will cater for the daily Gozo commuter numbers has been presented.


Sources close to the maritime industry have claimed that it is clear that the latest tender document has been drafted with the sole intention of accommodating the needs of just one operator. We have to ask whether there is any connection between the suspension of the fast-ferry tendering process, and the operation of a new scheduled hop-on, hop-off service for tourists in Mġarr harbour. One cannot ignore the similarity between the Government’s proposed scheme, and the hop-on, hop-off service that has just been launched. It seems to be a very strange coincidence indeed that a new catamaran service operated by Captain Morgan started operating just a day after it was announced that the fast-ferry tendering process was being suspended.


In light of the above, we demand full transparency from the Government, and we demand the publication of the studies that would justify its decision to shelve the fast-ferry plan and opt for the hop-on hop-off service instead. Minister Ian Borg should stop declaring that his schemes are supported by Gozitans, when all the major Gozitan organisations have criticised the Government’s suspension of the fast-ferry service tender. The Gozo Business Chamber, the Gozo University Group, and the Gozo Tourism Association have all publicly condemned the Government’s actions, and called on it to relaunch its plans for a non-stop fast-ferry service between Mġarr and Valletta.


We reiterate our call to the Government to find adequate, long-term and sustainable solutions that would truly address Gozo’s mobility and connectivity challenges.


  1. Association for Gozitan Employees in Malta
  2. Bicycle Advocacy Group
  3. BirdLife Malta
  4. Din l-Art Ħelwa
  5. Extinction Rebellion Malta
  6. Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar
  7. Friends of the Earth Malta
  8. Isles of the Left
  9. Moviment Graffitti
  10. Nature Trust Malta
  11. The Archaeological Society of Malta
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Għaqdiet jinsabu ddiżappuntati li l-proposta għal servizz ta’ fast-ferry ġiet imwarrba

Jappellaw għal azzjoni immedjata sabiex titjieb il-konnettività bejn iż-żewġ gżejjer


Ħdax-il għaqda qed jagħmlu appell lill-Gvern biex jikkunsidra mill-ġdid d-deċiżjoni li jinjora l-wegħda elettorali tiegħu li joffri servizz ta’ fast-ferry li jgħaqqad il-port tal-Mġarr mal-Port il-Kbir, biex minfloku jintroduċi servizz ta’ trasport bil-baħar tat-tip hop-on, hop-off. Dan is-servizz mhux se jaqdi l-bżonnijiet tal-passiġġiera Għawdxin u Maltin li jaqsmu bejn Malta u Għawdex ta’ kuljum, u jonqos milli jindirizza l-isfidi ta’ konnettività li jħabbtu wiċċhom magħhom l-Għawdxin b’mod tanġibbli u sostenibbli. Il-fast-ferry kienet ilha tiġi mwiegħda għal snin sħaħ, u kienet se tnaqqas bil-kbir id-diffikultajiet li jħabbtu wiċċhom magħhom il-ħaddiema u l-istudenti Għawdxin u dawk li jkollhom jagħmlu l-vjaġġ bil-vapur kuljum, billi kienet se tkun qed tnaqqas il-ħin tal-ivvjaġġar u tnaqqas it-traffiku veikulari bejn iż-żewġ gżejjer.


Bl-introduzzjoni ta’ skema li hija sempliċiment mezz ta’ investiment għas-settur privat, minflok servizz ta’ fast-ferry, il-Gvern qed jittradixxi lit-3,300 impjegat Għawdxi li jaħdmu f’Malta, u li verament għandhom bżonn soluzzjoni tat-trasport effiċjenti mill-aktar fis. Il-fatt li l-Gvern jibqa’ ossessjonat bil-pjan tiegħu li jibni mina għall-karozzi, li tieħu snin u tiswa l-miljuni biex titlesta, u li xorta mhux se tkun qed tnaqqas il-ħin tal-ivvjaġġar b’mod sinifikanti, filwqt li jinjora soluzzjonijiet oħra alternattivi u aktar effiċjenti, imur kontra kull loġika.


Il-proċess tas-sejħa għall-offerti għas-servizz ta’ fast-ferry bejn il-Belt Valletta u l-Mġarr kien imtappan bil-kontroversji, u ġie sospiż wara allegazzjonijiet ta’ aġir diskriminatorju u inġust. Aktar kmieni dan is-sajf ħarġet it-tielet sejħa għall-offerti, din id-darba iżda għal servizz ta’ trasport fuq il-baħar b’lanċa tat-tip hop-on, hop-off minn mill-inqas ħames lokalitajiet li jmissu mal-baħar. Din bl-ebda mod ma tista’ taqdi bl-istess mod il-bżonnijiet tal-Għawdxin bl-istess mod bħas-servizz tal-fast-ferry li kien ġie mwiegħed oriġinarjament. Is-servizz ta’ fast-ferry li jgħaqqad l-Mġarr u l-Belt kien se jipprovdi konnessjoni bla xkiel għall-passiġġiera Għawdxin, li jkollhom jaqsmu ta’ kuljum. Is-servizz il-ġdid hop-on, hop-off jidher li se jkun qed jieqaf f’diversi portijiet f’Għawdex u f’Malta, u għalhekk mhux se jkun qed jipprovdi konnessjoni veloċi u bla waqfien li hija tant bżonnjuża għall-passiġġiera Għawdxin. Barra minn hekk, ma ġiet ippreżentata l-ebda evidenza li l-frekwenza tas-servizz li qed tiġi proposta se tkun qed taqdi n-numru ta’ Għawdxin li jaqsmu l-fliegu kuljum.


Sorsi qrib l-industrija marittima saħqu li huwa evidenti kif l-aħħar dokument tas-sejħa għall-offerti ġie mfassal bl-għan ewlieni li jakkomoda l-bżonnijiet ta’ operatur wieħed biss. Għalhekk bilfors ikollna nistaqsu jekk hemmx xi konnessjoni bejn is-sospensjoni tal-proċess tas-sejħa għall-offerti għall-fast-ferry u t-tħaddim ta’ servizz ġdid skedat ta’ hop-on, hop-off għat-turisti fil-port tal-Mġarr. Wieħed ma jistax jinjora x-xebh bejn l-iskema proposta mill-Gvern u s-servizz hop-on, hop-off li għadu kif ġie mniedi. Tidher kemxejn koinċidenza stramba l-fatt li servizz ġdid bil-katamaran operat minn Captain Morgan beda jopera ġurnata biss wara li ġie mħabbar li l-proċess tas-sejħa għall-offerti għall-fast-ferry ġie sospiż.


Fid-dawl ta’ dan kollu, nitolbu trasparenza sħiħa min-naħa tal-Gvern, u sabiex jiġu ppubblikati studji li jiġġustifikaw id-deċiżjoni tiegħu li jwarrab il-pjan għall-fast-ferry u jagħżel li jintroduċi servizz hop-on, hop-off minflok. Il-Ministru Ian Borg għandu jieqaf jistqarr li l-iskemi tiegħu huma appoġġjati mill-Għawdxin, meta l-organizzazzjonijiet ewlenin Għawdxin ikkritikaw id-deċiżjoni tal-Gvern li jissospendi l-proċess għas-sejħa għall-offerti għall-fast-ferry. Il-Gozo Business Chamber, il-Gozo University Group, u l-Gozo Tourism Association kollha kkundannaw pubblikament l-azzjonijiet tal-Gvern, u appellawlu biex jerġa’ jniedi l-pjan tiegħu għal servizz ta’ fast-ferry bla punt ta’ waqfien bejn l-Mġarr u l-Belt.


Aħna ntennu l-appell tagħna lill-Gvern biex isib soluzzjonijiet fit-tul, adegwati u sostenibbli li jistgħu verament jindirizzaw l-isfidi ta’ mobbiltà u konnettività ta’ Għawdex.


  1. Association for Gozitan Employees in Malta
  2. Bicycle Advocacy Group
  3. BirdLife Malta
  4. Din l-Art Ħelwa
  5. Extinction Rebellion Malta
  6. Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar
  7. Friends of the Earth Malta
  8. Isles of the Left
  9. Moviment Graffitti
  10. Nature Trust Malta
  11. The Archaeological Society of Malta