On the 26th November 2011, Tug Malta Limited launched the new 75 tonnes bollard pull harbour and escort tug. The tug was christened ‘ST ELMO’ by Mrs Margaret Abela at the Valletta Waterfront, in the presence of the President of Malta, H.E. Dr George Abela, the President and the Managing Director of Rimorchiatori Riuniti Group, Dott. Giovanni delle Piane and Mr Gregorio Gavarone respectively and other members of the Board of Directors of Tug Malta Limited. His Grace the Archbishop Mons. Paul Cremona blessed the tug.
Tug boat ST ELMO is an Azimuth stern drive tug, designed by Robert Allan Ltd and built by the Spanish shipyard Astilleros Zamakona. It is fully equipped with fire-fighting class 1 equipment, towing winches and a deck crane, all necessary for normal tow operations and for emergencies – to provide assistance in life saving, equipment rescuing and environmental protection situations both within and outside the territorial waters of Malta. The vessel is equipped with twin Caterpillar main engines and two Rolls Royce Aquamaster propulsion units. The MT ST ELMO was delivered to Malta from Spain under the command of Master Kenneth Linwood and manned by Maltese and other foreign crew members. She will be based in Malta and will be deployed to render harbour towage services, salvage and offshore towage services.
Tug Malta Ltd’s investment outlay of €8 million in ST ELMO now brings the fleet to a total of 8 tugs. This latest addition continues to modernise the Company’s fleet configuration in terms of type, tug power and capacity as to better meet the local shipping industry’s towage requirements particularly when deployed at the busy port of Marsaxlokk where increasingly larger ships are calling. Coupled with the introduction of the MT SPINOLA in June 2009, the investment in the new tug ST ELMO is consonant with Rimorchiatori Riuniti’s fulfilment of its commitment towards Government at the time of acquisition of Tug Malta to invest in two new tugs in the initial 5 years of operations. The said tug investment not only fulfils any investment obligations that Rimorchiatori Riuniti as shareholders of Tug Malta had pledged to undertake at the time of the Company’s acquisition, but also exceeds the technical specifications set out in the Harbour Towage Agreement. Now that ST ELMO has joined the fleet, Tug Malta is even more better equipped to serve the industry as well as to pursue its growth strategy that is to develop more aggressively offshore activity in the Mediterranean.
In addition to the capital outlay undertaken in the aforesaid two new tugboats, coupled with the recent huge investment carried out by the Group in a new anchor handling vessel deployed overseas as to expand capacity in the off-shore market; last September Rimorchiatori Riuniti committed itself for a further $74.6 million investment in two new bulk carriers – PANAMAXES of 76,500 tonnes each currently being built in South Korea by SPP Plant & Shipbuilding Co Ltd. The investment which will be undertaken by Bulk Malta Ltd, a newly formed Maltese subsidiary company of the Group, speaks volumes of Rimorchiatori Riuniti’s commitment in expanding its business in Malta. The first of these vessels is expected to be delivered in 2013 and the second will be due in early 2014. Both PANAMAXES will be deployed to carry any type of dry cargo anywhere in the world. Bulk Malta Ltd will ultimately own and operate the said bulk carriers.