The Malta Maritime Authority (MMA) is proposing a programme of marina capacity expansion including constructing some 1,100 berths in 13 permanent and temporary facilities. This move follows on from the earlier study into Malta’s shortage of marina berths, which projected the demand over the next 10 years taking account of both local demand and visitors. One element of this is the provision of more superyacht berths as part of a strategy to enhance the island’s offering to larger boats.

Of the 1,100 berths, 860 of them will be provided in four new permanent or extended marinas. On Malta itself, 280 additional berths are planned for the south side of Maonel Island; 100 extra berths at Ta’Xbiex and 310 at a new marina at Sa Maison. On Gozo, a new marina at Menqa will contribute 170 berths. Possible new berths in key tourist areas of St Julian’s and the Veċċja area of St Paul’s Bay are not to go ahead following objections of the closeness of boats to swimmers.

In a comment to Malta’s Sunday Times newspaper, infrastructure minister Dr Austin Gatt said: “With these new marinas we should solve the problem of demand for the next 10 years. We looked at all bays and coves in Malta which could cater for environmentally-friendly marinas, which didn’t depend on speculation.”

The MMA is currently privatising the three marinas that it owns at Msida, Ta@Xbiex and Gozo. Three others at Grand Harbour (CN Marinas), Manoel Island (Melita Marine Group) and Portomaso are privately owned. A spokeswoman for CN Marinas has told SBN that: “We are very interested in the privatisation and have already held talks with the government about them.”