High Speed Craft News – PONTE FERRIES cancels trip with passengers aboard – 21.09.2022

And once again we have PONTE FERRIES in the news this time with Passengers stranded both at Wine Wharf, Valletta, Malta and at RoRo Jetty West, Augusta, Sicily. After queuing with their vehicles from 0300 hrs to board the 0500 hrs scheduled departure with the 1999 built High Speed Craft HSC ARTEMIS from Valletta, they were told through an onboard announcement that the vessel was to depart late “due to technical problems”.

Angry and disappointed passengers stated that they left everyone onboard, and at 0600 hrs they made another announcement that the voyage was cancelled and also complained that the vessel’s staff treated them with disrespect whenever they tried to ask what was happening. Various disappointed passengers took to social media to vent their frustrations about the service, or lack thereof, with many recounting similar experiences over recent weeks.

Then she left Valletta on Thursday 22nd September at 0451 hrs arriving at Augusta at 0859 hrs leaving Sicily again later at 1959 hrs arriving to Malta on Friday 23rd September at 0022 hrs. She left again Valletta at 0500 hrs and arriving at Augusta at 0918 hrs. Then she left Augusta, Sicily on Saturday 24th September at 0933 hrs ( She was assisted by 1 tugboat and 2 mooring boats) giving eta to Valletta at 1330 hrs ordering a pilot and 2 tugs.

Arriving at pilot station at 1317 hrs she had to wait for a while due to a 274 metre crude oil tanker leaving Valletta assisted by 4 tugs and one of the tugs had to be exchanged with another tug (GOZZO). In fact she passed breakwaters at 1336 hrs with harbour pilot embarked and tug SEA SALVOR standing by while awaiting for GOZZO.

Around 1345 hrs HSC ARTEMIS starting the manoeuvre to turn and go astern to berth at Wine Wharf when the tug GOZZO was approaching and made fast in few minutes on her starboard quarter while SEA SALVOR was fast on her starboard bow.

After she was secure at Wine Wharf the Duty Pilot advised both Tug Masters that the Captain of HSC ARTEMIS (Who’s involved in the local maritime Industry knows whom he’s – he’s been jumping from a company to a company ) doesn’t want to sign and rubber stamp the disabled papers on VHF Ch 12. According to International Maritime Law a ship is considered as disabled when she is unable to sail efficiently or in a seaworthy state as a result of engine trouble, lack of officers or crew, damage to the hull or ship’s gear whether she’s docked, moored, anchored, aground, adrift, or having been under way with a loss of propulsion.

And today Sunday 25th September she left Valletta at 1319 hrs and at the time of writing she’s entering Augusta, Sicily.

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Published – Sunday 25th September, 2022