News | Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Virtu Ferries in full investment mode

Karl Stagno-Navarra

The Sicilian port of Pozzallo is set to develop a widely awaited sea passenger terminal together with the upgrading of its existing port facilities.
The news was welcomed by Malta-based Virtu’ Ferries Ltd which is now looking into the possibility of investing in the proposed passenger terminal, that is expected to service further routes in the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, Virtu’ Ferries will by next year operate a brand new €60 million state-of-the-art catamaran, the ‘Jean de La Valette’.
The tiny fishing port of Pozzallo, situated in the Southern tip of Sicily has been a long-time first port of call for Virtu’ Ferries, on its scheduled route to Sicily that also includes Catania.
A meeting held last week between the Sicilian province government and the mayorships of Ragusa ended in agreement on the development of the terminal, that will now be subject to public tender and expressions of interest.
“We will definitely look into the prospects of investing in the project,” Henri Saliba, Virtu’ Ferries General Manager told Business Today.
The project is expected to cover an area of 4,400 square metres that will include a car park, a commercial centre, a passenger terminal, security services and offices.
Work on the new catamaran ‘Jean de La Valette’ is reportedly progressing according to schedule in its dock at Austal Ships in Western Australia.
A Facebook page set up by Virtu’ Ferries for all to follow the progress on the modern catamaran has attracted hundreds of enthusiasts who receive updates with photographs from Australia.
The page - that can be obtained with a simple Facebook search ‘Jean de La Valette’ – accepts questions from the public, and gives replies on mechanical data.
More than 500 people have so far registered as members and are regular users of the page.
“We are really happy with the response we have received from the public with this Facebook page,” Saliba said, adding that the company feels proud to have initiated such an interactive way of keeping the general public informed on the construction of the vessel.
The ‘Jean de La Vallette’ is expected to be completed and operational by August of next year.



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19 August 2009


Malta Today


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