A new fast ferry which will be operating between Malta and Sicily, HSC Artemis, docked in the Grand Harbour on Monday morning. 

Ponte Ferries will operate the catamaran between Grand Harbour and Augusta. The 96-metre vessel which can carry 717 passengers and 245 cars or 15 road freight trailers plus 180 cars. Trips between Sicily and Malta will be made daily.

Ponte Ferries will begin trips in summer 2021 Photo: Matthew MirabelliPonte Ferries will begin trips in summer 2021 Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

The service is a joint venture between Magro Brothers Investment Ltd and Merill Invest Ltd. The HSC Artemis was greeted by the owners Michael and Julian Zammit Tabona, Mario Muscat and Fabio Muscat. 

Nick Valenzia speaks about the difficulties of launching during a pandemic Video: Matthew Mirabelli

“Launching during a pandemic was quite a significant challenge,” Ponte Ferries representative Nick Valenzia told Times of Malta.

He said that the team had faced logistical issues and also some challenges when settling the purchase of the vessel. However, everything has now fallen into place. 

Valenzia added that Ponte Ferries will be announcing offers in the coming weeks. 

“Passengers can choose to travel in first class, while we will also introduce incentives to passengers to travel with their pets. There will also be a smart, user-friendly ticketing system. The system will be cost-effective, which will ultimately benefit the public and transporters.”

Valenzia said that the ferry is expected to operate in summer 2021.

The vessel will now undergo internal upgrades to equip it with the latest technologies and amenities. It was recently operating in the Canary Islands and has just been refitted by Fred Olsen, a leading ferry operator in Spain that specialises in inter-island routes.

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