Fortina’s hop-on ferry service to stop at Balluta eight times a day

Fortina Investments says its new hop-off, hop-on ferry service will start operating this summer between Sliema, St Julian’s, Buġibba and Comino

Fortina Investments has acquired new boats to operate a hop-off, hop-on ferry service
Fortina Investments has acquired new boats to operate a hop-off, hop-on ferry service

A new ferry service between Sliema, St Julian’s, Buġibba and Comino will start operating shortly Fortina Investments said, as controversy rages over the Balluta stop-over.

The €20 million venture will see new vessels operating a hop-off, hop-on concept and shall replace the traditional Captain Morgan tour business, the company said.

It added the service will initially pick up passengers from the Balluta Bay stop next to the St Julian’s water polo club, up to eight times a day.

The service has stoked controversy over the Balluta stop-over with some residents objecting to the creation of a temporary, floating mooring platform.

The platform was granted planning permission and will be in the vicinity of the St Julian’s water polo club.

But residents fear the ferry operation will disturb the swimming zones inside the bay and ticket booths will clog the promenade just like the Sliema Ferries.

Fortina Investments insisted the ferries will not enter the swimming zones in Balluta Bay, no ticket booths will be set up along the St Julian’s promenade and the landing place will not be anywhere near the sandy beach.

The company added that it had been in talks with the authorities for years to have all ticket booths removed from the Sliema Ferries and replaced with one uniform booth for each operator run under strict conditions.

The company accused its detractors of a “misinformation campaign” that prevented people from understanding what the concept was.

“This misinformation campaign has only served to muddy the waters and prevent people from seeing this service for what it really is — a bus stop at sea that will board and disembark passengers at a temporary landing berth that is already populated by numerous pleasure craft,” a company spokesperson said.

Fortina Investments said the floating landing place will be a temporary platform measuring 10.5m by 5m that will rest on four legs on the undisturbed seabed. It will be anchored to the existing quay and a nature monitoring report will be compiled over the next five years.

The new ferry service is called iSeeMalta and will operate purposely-built cleaner vessels. 

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