Through an investment of €1.9 million, Infrastructure Malta (IM) has completed the rebuilding of the old breakwater and nearby quays at the inner part of Marsascala Bay.
This was announced by the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Aaron Farrugia, the Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Chris Bonett and the Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Animal Rights Alicia Bugeja Said, during an on-site visit.
This project, co-financed by the European Fund for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, commenced with the reconstruction of 140 meters of quays along San Ġorġ Street, close to the Marsascala Parish Church, along the northern shore of the bay. These quays are popular among Marsascala residents and visitors for swimming and seaside walks. Decades of sea erosion scoured the quays’ foundations, and their concrete surfaces were cracked and pitted. In recent years, parts of them collapsed into the sea. IM rebuilt these quays in a new, safer design, including a wave wall to protect pedestrians and adjacent buildings from rough seas.
The second phase of works included the consolidation and rebuilding of the 80-year-old breakwater that shelters this part of the bay. While the subsea structure of the outer half of this 30-metre breakwater was still standing, the inner half was disintegrated and gradually failing. Thus, a team of builders and divers removed the damaged sections and levelled the seabed with large precast concrete blocks, up to the deck level, before being infilled with concrete. The agency embedded 16 concrete piles up to 3 storeys deep into the ground, before building a new concrete deck and a new wave wall. The agency completed this project with the installation of safety ladders and other navigational aids for mariners.
Minister Aaron Farrugia spoke about the importance of further strengthening Malta’s maritime infrastructure, as a key resource to our economic development. “Investment in our marine infrastructure is critical, especially when considering that we are an island state. This sector is crucial in strengthening and ensuring our country’s competitiveness and economy,” concluded Minister Farrugia.
Parliamentary Secretary Chris Bonett emphasized on the significance of this project which has been carried out with the aid of the European Fund for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (EMFF 2014- 2020), a fund which allowed Malta to invest around €23 million in the fishing industry and coastal communities whilst helping them adapt to changing conditions in the sector and become economically resilient and ecologically sustainable.
“This project, together with the upgrading of the other two fishing ports in Marsaxlokk and Mġarr Gozo, emphasise the government’s promise towards providing a more sustainable future by making use of EU Funds to increase flexibility for fishermen and improve operational efficiencies in these designated ports,” concluded Parliamentary Secretary Chris Bonett.
Parliamentary Secretary Alicia Bugeja Said explained how this infrastructural project will be enjoyed by the entirety of the local fishing community in Marsascala. “The breakwater will provide fishermen better access to their vessels as well as provide further shelter to all boats anchored in this harbour, thus providing added peace of mind to their owners. Government is committed to continue investing in our harbours’ infrastructure as our vision is to keep supporting and providing assistance to fishermen. Thanks to today’s investment, as well as previous ones such as the installation of new electricity and water pillars, and the maintenance of our winch rooms, we will ensure that this vision becomes a reality,” stated Bugeja Said.
IM’s maritime Infrastructure team is also rebuilding another breakwater in Buġibba. This project will develop the old breakwater into a new passenger terminal and extend this alternative mode of travel to other coastal locations in Malta. Meanwhile, testing of electrical equipment at Boiler’s Wharf in Senglea is well underway as part of the shore-to-ship project. The agency is developing the necessary infrastructure for vessels to switch off their gasoil or heavy fuel oil-fired engines and plug in to shoreside electricity whilst berthed at port. This €33.2 million EU funded investment will cut over 90% of the air pollution that cruise liners and Ro-Ro ships produce when visiting Malta.