Before 1961 Maltese commercial towage had generally been limited to lighterage, the tugs being too small to handle large merchant vessels that had to rely on powerful Admiralty tugs based on Malta for servicing Royal Navy warships.

MALTA TUGS – COMMERCIAL TOWAGE IN MALTESE HARBOURS – 1856-2012, a sequel to ROYAL NAVY TUGS AT THE GRAND HARBOUR MALTA (2010) traces the development of commercial towage in the Grand Harbour from the Crimean War to the setting up of Midmed Towage and Mediterranean Salvage & Towage at a time when naval dockyard was converted to commercial operation, Malta became an independent nation and the military base was being run down.

Tug Malta succeeded Midmed Towage and Mediterranean Salvage & Towage on October 1, 1980. Since then, the company, which is now a subsidiary of Rimorchiatori Riuniti Spa of Genova, has undertaken ongoing fleet replacement to enable it to continue to offer safe, 24×7 services in Maltese territorial waters and beyond, albeit mainly at Marsaxlokk Harbour that has overtaken the Grand Harbour in the number of commercial vessels requiring towage.

Apart from the narrative, MALTA TUGS – COMMERCIAL TOWAGE IN MALTESE HARBOURS 1856-2012 contains a highly illustrated ABC listing the majority of commercial tugs operating in Grand Harbour from the end of the Second World War to 2012, as well as a chronicle of events relating to commercial towage throughout this period.

The book written by Michael Cassar was sponsored by Tug Malta and launched at the Malta Maritime Museum on Friday 10th May 2013.