Saturday 22 June 2024

Transport Malta Conducts BARRACUDA 2024 Exercise with the Armed Forces of Malta and Italian Guardia Costiera

• Collaboration between Malta and Italy in the BARRACUDA 2024 exercise signifies a significant
milestone in bilateral efforts toward marine pollution preparedness and response.
• The necessity of joint exercises like BARRACUDA 2024 underscores the reality that effective
management of major pollution incidents requires cooperation among coastal states.
Transport Malta, in collaboration with the Armed Forces of Malta and the Italian Guardia Costiera, conducted a pollution response exercise within the BARRACUDA 2024 framework. This collaborative effort marks a significant milestone as it signifies the first bilateral exercise between Malta and Italy focusing on marine pollution preparedness and response.

Malta’s strategic location in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, intersecting major shipping lanes linking the east and west, underscores both its strength and vulnerability to maritime incidents. Recognizing the imperative to safeguard its vital tourism industry, ports, and desalination plants, Malta has diligently worked over the past decade to bolster its capabilities in responding to pollution incidents, including robust legislative measures and investment in training and equipment.

Despite these efforts, the reality remains that no single country can effectively manage a major pollution incident alone. Hence, Malta’s decision to partake in the BARRACUDA 2024 Exercise was a natural one, given Italy’s proximity and shared interests in maritime safety. Such joint exercises not only facilitate mutual learning but also strengthen cooperation between coastal states. Transport Malta anticipates that this exercise marks just the beginning of a series of collaborative initiatives in the realm of marine pollution response. The Authority hopes that these efforts will culminate in a formal bilateral agreement between Malta and Italy, akin to existing agreements in the Mediterranean Sea.

Transport Malta extends heartfelt gratitude to all participating government agencies, vessel crews, operators, REMPEC, the European Maritime Safety Agency, Transport Malta personnel, and especially the Armed Forces of Malta and the Italian Coast Guard for their unwavering support and commitment to maritime safety.