Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg visited the Seafarers Centre in Ta’ Liesse in Valletta, on the occasion of the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Transport Malta Chairman Joseph Bugeja and Port Chaplain Mons Fr Joseph Borg.
The Minister announced that thanks to this agreement Transport Malta will be helping with a small annual donation to this centre to cover the day-to-day running expenses. The Minister explained that the role of seafarers is not always visible with regard to the work they carry out. However, he explained that these people are making an important contribution to society. “When one notes that more than 90% of products our country imports and exports come by sea, we can understand better the importance of the work of seafarers. The seafarers whose work presents them with such risks and challenges but who nevertheless continue working to sustain our economy and our livelihood, are among the many other workers with different roles who in this case – in the maritime sector – are helping to sustain this industry towards continued efficient functioning and are therefore sustaining several other industries,” said Minister Borg.
Minister Borg reminded those present of the importance of the service being given by this centre where seafarers who become victims of an accident can find shelter. “And that is why this agreement is important – today we have an authority that is working hard to continue pushing forward the maritime sector in our country, and that is making a financial contribution with social aims to the same industry and its workers,” stressed Minister Borg. He concluded by thanking the Port Chaplain, Transport Malta as well as the General Workers Union and ITF, which represents seafarers in their work, with regard to this new cooperation.
Transport Malta Chairman Joseph Bugeja said that this agreement will continue strengthening the relationship of the Authority with the Centre while also fostering the principle of the social contribution that the Authority believes in.
While thanking the Minister and the Chairman for their help, Port Chaplain Mons Fr Joseph Borg explained how helpful this Centre is for seafarers, such as in the case of Hephaestus that had come ashore in Qawra, with seafarers of this same ship being welcomed in the Centre and given shelter to sleep and eat, among other services. The Chaplain thanked all those present for their financial help because now the Centre will be able to offer more services to the seafarers seeking shelter there.