Buying a 32-year-old ship to bolster Gozo Channel’s fleet is just not good enough for Gozitans and would just add to the country’s environmental woes, Nationalist Party MEP candidate Michael Briguglio said on Saturday.

Speaking alongside PN MP Chris Said, Dr Briguglio accused the Labour government of not taking Malta’s sister island seriously.

Times of Malta reported on Thursday that a fourth vessel would join the Gozo Channel's fleet in a few weeks' time. On Friday, Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana confirmed that when she posted Facebook photos of her 'inspecting' the vessel.

The fourth vessel will be dedicated to commercial vehicles and will serve as a stop-gap solution until a tender for a longer-term lease is completed. 

The PN has however slammed the plans, noting that the ship being brought to Malta is more than three decades old.

Speaking in Gozo, Dr Briguglio said the ship had been built in 1987 and compared its age to the average age of ships in Italy and Greece – 20 and 11 years respectively.

It was the PN, Dr Briguglio said, which had invested in Gozo Channel to ensure it had three ships in its fleet, which had built terminal buildings in Cirkewwa and Mġarr and which had spent money to increase the capacity of the Ta’ Pinu in 2012.

Dr Briguglio said that PN MEPs would work to attract EU funds allowing Malta to plan to introduce a fifth ferry in the Gozo Channel fleet, increasing trip frequency and ensuring that the company could cope whenever one of its vessels needed repairs.

“Connectivity is crucial to Gozitan competitiveness,” Dr Briguglio argued.

Mr Said noted that fast ferry plans had run aground because a suspicious tendering process had been suspended and that talk of a cruise liner terminal in Gozo had also gone quiet.

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