Sea Malta

Sea Malta Company Limited (1973-2006) was the Maltese national shipping company.

LogoIt was established on 10 November 1973 by the Government, who had the majority of the shares in the new company. The aim of this company was to provide maritime services company as well as to the need of the nation in general, and to assist the Maltese industry. Sea Malta started operating from the Europa Centre in Floriana.

The first ships to operate as part of Sea Malta were three old ships previously owned by the Maltese National Lines, the Marsa, Gudja and Mdina.

In 1974, Sea Malta bought its first vessels, named Rabat and Zejtun. The latter, although one of the most famous ships owned by the company, was quite unfortunate as in 1976 a bow replacement was needed after a collision with another ship near Capo Passero in Sicily whilst in 1978 while moored at Tunis, it heeled and had to be brought to Malta Drydocks for repairs.

The company continued to evolve and even invested in oil bunkering, insurance and shipping agency services.

On 17th February 1974, the Tudor Prince during a voyage from London to Limassol, hit the rocks at the entrance to Valetta Grand Harbour and sank in shallow water. Raised on 4th December she remained in Malta for four months while repairs were completed and then sold to Sea Malta Ltd. who renamed her Bormla. In the same year (1975) the ship Dwejra was bought. However Dwejra was resold in December 1975.

The three old ships Marsa, Gudja and Mdina were laid up in 1976 and in the same year, the company purchased the ship Qormi in order to provide better service to Europe. Another ship was bought in 1976 and named Dwejra II.

In 1979 Sea Malta also participated directly in the establishment of the national towing company, Tug Malta.

In 1980 the Rabat was sold. In 1990 this ship met disaster as it sank near the English Channel with the loss of all her crew.

In 1981, the Head offices of Sea Malta were transferred to Marsa. Sea Malta operated from these offices until its closure in 2006.

Sea Malta Marsa

In 1985 the ship Zebbug was purchased following the selling of Bormla in 1984. The Zebbug replaced the Qormi on the Reggio route.

In 1987 Sea Malta bought another ship synonymous with the company, the Pinto.

Several other ships were acquired for a short period by Sea Malta including the Mosta (1986-1988) and the Kusi (1985-1987).

By the mid-nineties, however, Sea Malta had only two ships, Zebbug and Pinto as the company sold off the Dwejra II and the Qormi in 1987.

In 1996 the company purchased the largest ship until then the Senglea only to be re-sold after just a year.

In 1998 Sea Malta ships changed their livery from navy blue to light blue

The Pinto was sold in 1998 and a year later its replacement was bought. This proved to be the last and largest ship ever owned by the company, the Maltese Falcon.

For the last six years (2000-2006) the company only operated the Zebbug on the Malta – Catania – Reggio route and the Maltese Falcon between Malta – Tunis – Genoa – Marseille.

In 2003 the Government confirmed that Sea Malta was making losses though the Company was never subsidized by the state.

security2004In July 2004, Sea Malta met the requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (SPS) code – a mandatory regime imposed as an after-effect of the September 11 tragic events in New York. The process involved the thorough assessment of the two ships owned by Sea Malta, where sensitive security points, emergency escapes and restricted areas have been identified and clearly marked. The exercise was then followed by the drawing up of two ships’ security plans, which detailed exactly what crew members are expected to do under different security threat situations.

Sea Malta officially received the International Ship Security Certificate from Bureau Veritas. BV is a French vessel classification society which is also recognised as a security organisation. (In the photofrom left: Patrick Attard, Sea Malta security officer, Joseph Briffa, AGM ship management division, Nicholas Baldacchino CEO, Bureau Veritas, Marlene Mizzi, Sea Malta chairman, and Joseph Bugeja, Sea Malta general manager.)

In 2005 privatization negotiations failed and the Government declared the company bankrupt. Sea Malta was liquidated.

The company’s two largest assets, its ships, were sold in 2006. MV Maltese Falcon was sold in June 2006 for €4 million and the MV Żebbuġ was sold in October 2006 for €1.42 million.

According to the update report, surplus funds held by the liquidators amounted to €8.1 million after court fees and other moneys owed to the liquidators were deducted.

The government had embarked on the privatisation of Sea Malta in 2005 but the talks with the Italian company Grimaldi, which was interested in the bid, faltered after sea-based employees objected to the conditions on offer.

Sailors continued objecting to the conditions offered by Grimaldi even after the government had signed a preliminary agreement with the Italian company. At that stage the process was abandoned and the government declared Sea Malta bankrupt.

At the time the national sea company had accumulated losses that amounted to €10.9 million.

Eventually, the routes operated by Sea Malta, deemed to be a public service obligation, were offered to the subsidiary company set up by Grimaldi, Malta Motorways of the Sea.

The new foreign-owned company received €350,000 a year in line with the PSO agreement.

The ship Zebbug was sold to Fergun Lines and renamed Fehim Bey, still operating to Malta. The Maltese Falcon was purchased by Grimaldi Lines, keeping the same name and sailing until 2009 when it was scrapped in India.

Vessels operated by Sea Malta


1974 – 1976




Vessel Identification



IMO: 5383366
Last known flag: ITALY
Former name(s):
– Avolos (Until 1974 Jan)
– Volo (Until 1969 Jan)

Technical Data:

Vessel type: General Cargo
Gross tonnage: 1,798 tons
Summer DWT: 2,186 tons
Build year: 1946
Builder: Swan Hunter Shipbuilders WallsendNorth Tyneside, U.k.


1974 – 1976


Vessel Identification

Last Name: Katya Z

IMO – 7324819

Callsign: J8B2710

Former name(s):
– Bulk Trader (Until 2003 Jan)

– Marsa (Until 1993 Jun)

Technical Data:

Vessel type: Cargo

Gross tonnage: 6,049 tons

Summer DWT: 8,001 tons

Build year: 1973

Builder*: Meyer Neptun Rostock

Rostock, Germany


1974 – 1976




Vessel Identification

Name: Gudja

IMO: 5023289

Last known flag: ITALY

Former name(s):
– Argo (period Unknown)

Technical Data:

Vessel type: GeneralCargoGross tonnage: 1,594 tonsSummer DWT: 2,994 tons

Build year: 1950

Builder*: Bremer Vulkan

Bremen, Germany


1974 – 1980



Vessel Identification

Last Name: Theofano

IMO: 7010107

Callsign: SYGJ

Former name(s):
– Victoria (Until 1989 May)

– Rabat (Until 1980)

– Ino A (Until 1974)

– Boston Express (Until 1971)

Technical Data:

Vessel type: Cement Carrier

Gross tonnage: 2,818 tons

Summer DWT: 4,470 tons

Build year: 1970

Builder*: Jansen Schiffswerft Leer, Germany


1974 – 1980




Vessel Identification

Last Name: Zafer

IMO: 6723915

Last Flag: Turkey

Callsign: 5B7088

Former name(s):
– Athina Sky I (Until 2002)

– Lady Linda I (Until 2001 Sep)

– Marianna Ii (Until 2001 Jul)

– Anna (Until 1998 Aug)

– Cenk Ii (Until 1997)

– Genk Ii (Until 1997)

– Dursun Reis (Until 1993 Jul)

– Lisa B (Until 1990 Jul)

– Zejtun (Until 1982)

Technical Data:

Vessel type: Ro-roCargo

Gross tonnage: 2,243 tons

Summer DWT: 1,377 tons

Build year: 1967

Builder*: Jj Sietas Schiffswerft Hamburg, Germany


1974 – 1984


Tudor prince


Tudor Prince was raised on 4th December 1974. In 1975 it was bought by Sea Malta and renamed Bormla

Vessel Identification

Last Name: Sandra G

IMO: 6920109

Callsign: P3NF3

Last known flag: CYPRUS

Former name(s):
– Serena (Until 1989 Dec)

– Tudor Prince (Until 1975)

Technical Data:

Vessel type: Ro-roCargo

Gross tonnage: 2,243 tons

Summer DWT: 1,377 tons

Build year: 1967

Builder*: Jj Sietas Schiffswerft Hamburg, Germany

Tudor Prince was built in 1969 by Gebrudder Van Diepen at Waterhuizen with a tonnage of 1400grt, a length of 263ft 1in, a beam of 39ft 4in and a service speed of 12 knots. Sister of the Saxon Prince she was completed as the Lise Nielsen in September 1969 for D/D A/S Progress of Copenhagen with M. Nielsen as manager. She was chartered to Prince Line as the Tudor Prince in January 1974. On 17th February 1974, during a voyage from London to Limassol, she hit the rocks at the entrance to Valetta harbour and sank in shallow water.

Raised on 4th December she remained in Malta for four months while repairs were completed and then sold to Sea Malta Ltd. who renamed her Bormla. In 1984 she was sold to the Norwegian Trans Shipping Ltd of Nassau who and changed her name to Cariwood Lilian and in 1986 to Arne O. Steen Shipping of the Cayman Islands who renamed her Steen Falcon. Two years later she became the Serena when acquired by the Stadion Marine Co. of Valetta and Sandra G when purchased by the Olivine Shipping Co. of Cyprus in 1989. On 17th July 1991, during a voyage to Puerto de Santa Maria she caught fire in the engine room and was towed to Cadiz. Declared a total loss she left on 8th August under tow and bound for Portugal where she was scrapped in February 1992.


1976 – 1987


Vessel Identification

Name: Caledonia

IMO: 7321063

Flag: Ukraine

MMSI: 272979000

Callsign: UZIA

Former name(s):
– President Yeiwene (Until 1997)

– Casablanca (Until 1993)

– Presidente Yeiwene (Until 1992 Jun)

– Yeye (Until 1992)

– Panagia Faneromeni (Until 1991 Nov)

– Qormi (Until 1989 Mar)

– Poole Antelope (Until 1976)

Technical Data:

Vessel type: Ro-ro/passenger Ship

Gross tonnage: 3,079 tons

Summer DWT: 438 tons

Class society: Bureau Veritas

Build year: 1973

Builder*: Ateliers & Chantiers De Normandie Le Grand-quevilly, France

Owner: Ukrferry Shipping Odessa, Ukraine


1976 – 1987


Vessel Identification

Last Name: Sea Prince

IMO: 6921373

Callsign: 3FYI

Last known flag: PANAMA

Former name(s):
– Rusalka (Until 2008 Aug)

– Sea Prince (Until 2007 May)

– Leonidas (Until 2007 Mar)

– Lucky Iii (Until 2006 Aug 29)

– Chahira (Until 2006 Jul)

– Leonidas (Until 2003 Jul)

– Lucky Iii (Until 2002 Mar)

– Star I (Until 2002)

– Nasnas (Until 2001 Oct)

– Theodora (Until 2001 Sep)

– Vassilis Vii (Until 1998)

– Dwejra II (Until 1987)

– Asd Iris (Until 1976)

Technical Data:

Vessel type: General Cargo

Gross tonnage: 2,426 tons

Summer DWT: 3,750 tons

Length: 80 m

Beam: 13 m

Draught: 4.1 m

Class society: National Shipping Adjusters

Build year: 1969

Builder*: Scheepswerf De Biesbosch Dordrecht, Netherlands


1976 – 1988




IMO: 7211969
Last known flag:
Names Carried:
•Sailormark (until Jan 1976)
•Roro Anglia (until Jan 1988)
•Roro Apollonia Winner (??)
•Mykonos Ii (until Sept 2004)
•Saramat (until Dec 2006)
•Mykonos Ii (until Nov 2008)
•Saramat (name when sold for scrap)

Technical Data:

Vessel type: General Cargo
Gross tonnage: 1,555 tons
Summer DWT: 1,116 tons
Build year: 1972 as Sailormark
Builder:Dimensions : Length: 96 mBeam: 15 mDraught: 3.6 mMachinery : Twin Screws , Diesel EnginesSpeed : 17 knots Ankerlokken Glommen , Fredrikstad, Norway

Fate Arrived for demolition in Aliaga, Turkey by Ege Celik CS on January 27, 2012


1985 – 2006



Vessel Identification

Name: Fehim Bey

IMO: 7026613

Flag: Moldova

MMSI: 214181405

Callsign: 5B7133

Former name(s):
– Zebbug (Until 2006 Dec)

– Pointer (Until 1985 Jan)

– Isartal (Until 1973)

Technical Data:

Vessel type: Ro-roCargo

Gross tonnage: 3,633 tons

Summer DWT: 1,088 tons

Length: 98 mBeam: 16 m

Draught: 4.3 m

Class society: Bureau Veritas

Build year: 1970

Builder*: Kroger Werft Rendsburg, Germany

Owner: Fergun Shipping Mersin, Turkey


1985 – 1987



1986 – 1988


Vessel Identification

Last Name: Liza M

IMO: 7500750

Callsign: 9LD2165

Last known flag: SIERRA LEONE

Former name(s):
– Mfc Liza (Until 2007 Dec)

– Komet (Until 2000 Jan)

– Steinkirchen (Until 1992 Aug)

– Dfl Hamburg (Until 1990 Oct)

– Steinkirchen (Until 1988)

– Regine (Until 1986)

Technical Data:

Vessel type: General Cargo

Gross tonnage: 3,006 tons

Summer DWT: 3,882 tons

Build year: 1976

Builder*: Jj Sietas Schiffswerft Hamburg, Germany


1987 – 1998



1996 – 1997



1999 – 2006

Maltese Falcon

Maltese Falcon1

Maltese Falcon3


Vessel Identification

Last Name: Maltese Falcon

IMO: 7705714

Callsign: 9HEU6

Last known flag: MALTA

Former name(s):
– Medferry Express (Until 1999 Apr)

– Stena Trailer (Until 1993)

– Trailer (Until 1991 Sep)

– Stena Trailer (Until 1991)

– Chester (Until 1987)

– Balder Carrier (Until 1985)

Technical Data:

Vessel type: Ro-ro Cargo

Gross tonnage: 15,406 tons

Summer DWT: 10,145 tons

Class society: Registro Italiano Navale

Build year: 1978

Builder*: Kawasaki Heavy Industries Kobe, Japan

Photo credits

6 thoughts on “Sea Malta”

  1. Sir/Madam

    I would like to draw your attention to a mistake in the list of vessels operated by the Company. i am an ex-Sea Malta shipmaster. I joined the company in 1975 with the first intake of cadets and came ashore in 1995. I served on all the vessels mentioned except for one; the MARSA IMO 7324819

    This vessel was never owned or operated by the Company. This vessel together with her sister ship WARDA was owned by a Norwegian Company under the Maltese flag. The crew management was under SMS of Valletta and both vessels had Maltese crews on board. These vessels called ocasionaly at Valletta on voyages from the USA & N Europe to the Med.

    Please feel free to contact me for any further information.

    best regards
    Capt R Gabriele

    1. Ritchie, I have to correct you here, Marsa was owned by Sea Malta and was my first sailing whilst you went on the Rabat. Her last Captain was Tabone and she was decommissioned and sold for scrap around 1985-86.

      Ramon Mizzi

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