Four new inshore patrol boats formally entered service with the Armed Forces of Malta during a commissioning ceremony at Haywharf this morning.
The 40-tonne boats, 'dressed overall' for the occasion, were built by Austal in Australia in a €9.5m project, three quarters of which was funded by the E.U.
Prime Minister L. Gonzi and Brigadier M. Xuereb presided the ceremony during which the AFM pennant was raised on the four boats while their crews stood to attention.
The boats then cruised from their base to Grand Harbour and back.
Dr Gonzi in an address underlined the importance for Malta to have a modern and efficient maritime squadron because of its responsibilities for maritime safety and in order to counter smuggling and illegal migration.
The boats are the latest step in the modernisation of the Maritime Squadron, which, over recent years also commissioned a 'Modified' Diciotti class offshore patrol vessel and two Protector Class coastal patrol boats which are slightly bigger than the new boats.