On Saturday 2nd April, 2022 His Holiness Pope Francis during his Apostolic visit to Malta crossed to the sister island of Gozo by the High Speed Craft MARIA DOLORES.
After leaving the Apostolic Nunciature, Rabat , Malta the entourage proceeded to DWQ 5 to board the Virtu Ferries High Speed Craft MARIA DOLORES to cross the islands.
Once MARIA DOLORES left her quay she was saluted with water display from tugboats Fire Monitors and escorted by various law enforcement craft. The Church of Malta and the State appealed for the public to gather and welcome him near the port, at the Upper Barrakka Gardens and in the areas of Senglea and Vittoriosa. Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna – FWA (Malta Heritage Trust) fired a 21 gun salute from the Saluting Battery.
As per Notice to Mariners No 028 of 2022 Mgarr Harbour was restricted from 1630 hrs until 1945 hrs with Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) Maritime Squadron Craft MELITA II and P 23 patrolling the entrance.
At 1751 hrs the High Speed Craft MARIA DOLORES escorted by the AFM ribs P 02, P 03, P 05 and P 06 together with the Protector Class Patrol Craft P 52 was seen reaching the Gozo Channel of which the Inshore Patrol Craft (IPC) P 23 escorted the convoy.
At 1800 hrs MARIA DOLORES entered Mgarr Harbour –
Upon berthing of MARIA DOLORES , her Port Side ramp opened and the entourage started disembarking with thousands of souls lined the route from the Harbour towards Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary to greet the first pope to visit the island in 32 years.
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Published – Saturday 16th April, 2022