There are plenty of boats and yachts moored in the various bays and marinas around Malta and Gozo, but have you ever wondered about how many foreign vessels visit the Maltese Islands and ask for clearance by maritime authorities each year?
The last set of available statistics, issued at the end of last year, detail figures for the year 2013. Just over 11,000 vessels visited the Islands, with the vast majority of vessels entering classified by the National Statistics Office as “Other”. These numbered 7,106 vessels, with a total tonnage of 56.5 million tons.
Dry cargo vessels were the next largest category, accounting for 2,645 vessels of the grand total. These types of vessel are used to carry solid dry goods that have a higher tolerance to heat and cold, such as metal ores, coal, steel products, forest products. Their combined tonnage was over 36.9 million tons.
Tankers ranked third in terms of numbers, with 478 coming to Malta in 2013, weighing in at over 3.9 million tons combined.
The Maltese Islands are also home to a booming cruise terminal in the Grand Harbour, where some of the world’s finest cruise ships can be seen berthed at the quayside almost on a daily basis. Of the 302 passenger vessels which requested clearance from Maltese maritime authorities in 2013, some 286 were cruise ships, bringing a total of over 430,000 cruise passengers to Maltese shores during that year.
Interesting to note were the smaller categories, most notably yachts and motor fishing vessels. The figure for the former was remarkably small, with just 38 yachts requesting clearance from Maltese maritime authorities during 2013, representing just 18,908 tons of the total of over 56 million for the year.
Relatively few motor fishing vessels in comparison with other seafaring vessel types also visited, numbering 442. The likelihood for the skewed figures, taking into account that the most significant portion of vessels included in the statistics were classified as “Other”, is that many yachts or boats which are here for leisure purposes do not have the requirement to declare their presence due to being domiciled in Europe. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to know what’s moving in and out of the Maltese Islands on the high seas.