PRIVATISATION OF TUG MALTA
The Maltese government privatised Tug Malta Ltd. in 2007 when it entered into an agreement selling its share of Tug Malta to the Italian company Rimorchiatori Riuniti S.p.A. At that time, Tug Malta Ltd. was the only licensed company that could carry out towage operations within and between the harbours of the Maltese Islands.
Rimorchiatori Riuniti S.p.A was established in 1922 when it started to operate a number of tugboats rendering harbour towage services in the busy and commercial Italian port of Genoa. It has also operated towage and harbour services in the port Salerno in south western Italy. The company also provides fire-fighting assistance, oil pollution and environmental control and safety to vessels requiring salvage assistance. From Genoa, the Company has gradually spread its fleet to other Italian and international ports specialising worldwide in other diversified activities such as the provision of assistance to oil platforms, oil pollution containment, deep-sea towage services of ships and any kind of floating craft.
Under the privatisation process, Rimorchiatori Riuniti S.p.A agreed to invest a minimum of €22 million in two new tug boats over a five year period. The President of the company, Giovanni Delle Piane, stated that he is committed to investing in and developing harbour towage, offshore towage and international shipping. The company was also committed to purchase equipment in order to upgrade some of the existing tug boats to make them more versatile.
The privatisation of Tug Malta was particularly relevant to the country since Malta is highly dependent on its ports due to its island status.