A 17th century tower in Marsascala is set to become a den of corsairs when the former restaurant is turned into the island's first piracy museum.

St Thomas Tower, which had been used as a restaurant for a number of years, was one of a number of lookouts built by Grandmaster Wignacourt to protect the island from marauders of the Mediterranean.

The first phase in the six-month conversion project was finished last week following a 20-day job to clean up the interior of the tower.

But Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, which was entrusted with the heritage site earlier this month, has a lot more on its plate before it opens the tower to the public, probably over the Christmas period.

Foundation chairman and CEO Mario Farrugia said work over the past weeks involved removing the debris that had accumulated over the years and some concrete structures reminiscent of the tower's days as a pizzeria. Around 18 skips of waste were removed from inside the tower.

The second phase is next: Cleaning the ditch surrounding the tower and removing vegetation from the area. Attempts will be made to waterproof the roof before winter.

Mr Farrugia said the museum will be dedicated to piracy in the Mediterranean in the early 17th century, when the tower was built.

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