A new Virtu Ferries catamaran managed to out-run pirates as it sailed near Somalia on its delivery trip from Australia to Malta.

Virtu Ferries said the vessel, Jean de la Valette, is currently on the last stage of its trip to Malta from its builders, Austal Ships, in Australia.

The vessel started the 7,700 nautical mile journey on August 26. The crew includes several Maltese.

The vessel made the 3,227 mile journey from Fremantle across the Indian Ocean to Male in 95 hours, despite very heavy seas. It then proceeded to Salalah in Oman and on towards Aden.

Several precautions were taken as the vessel transited the pirate-infested waters.

The departure date from Salalah was kept secret and barbed wire was placed along the ship's sides to make boarding difficult.

Security drills were held for the crew. Similar drills for engine room crews were carried out to isolate the engine rooms in both hulls.

The Jean de la Valette made the journey from Salalah to Aden at full speed, sometimes reaching 42 knots and was in constant contact with warships.

Virtu Ferries said that it was after the vessel entered the Red Sea through Bab El Mandeb that pirate skiffs were sighted and tried to approach the vessel. They, however, gave up due to the vessel's high speed.

Jean de la Valette kept other vessels informed of the position of the skiffs.

The vessel has now entered the Mediterranean and is due to arrive in Malta on Saturday.

Services between Malta and Sicily will start at the end of this month.

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