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News | Wednesday, 26 May 2010 Issue. 165

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Mgarr harbour marina to be privatised today

Gozo’s Mgarr yacht marina will as from this afternoon be privatised, but failed bidders are still complaining that they were disadvantaged by the site plans.
Harbour Management Ltd – which forms part of Melita Marine Group – will take over the Mgarr yacht marina and sign a 20-year contract for the lease of the marina area and the upgrading of all facilities in Mgarr.
Contacted by MaltaToday, Melita Marine Group director Pierre Balzan insisted on a “no comment” when asked to confirm whether his company will be given the contract to run the Mgarr yacht marina. Balzan also stressed a “no comment” when asked as to what are the plans for Mgarr harbour.
But other bidders, who insist on remaining anonymous, claim that the fuel supplier who occupied this harbour area for years, was asked to vacate the area to make way for additional pontoons.
This development, sources commented, enlarged the harbour footprint and put them at a disadvantage because their costings did not reflect the substantial value of the extra space.
“We would have upped our offer had we known that additional space was about to be created,” the source said.
Questions were also raised as to whether the new contractor will be signing for the same conditions they were originally asked to submit for, which include a passageway for the Malta-Gozo seaplane and moorings for superyachts.
Melita director Pierre Balzan declined to comment on any questions put by MaltaToday.
Observers have noted that superyacht moorings outside the breakwater may be “close to impossible” to offer given the treacherous winds prevailing in the area.
Contacted yesterday, a spokesman for Mimcol – government’s investments arm – declined to comment on any details related to the contract to be signed today.
Earlier this year, a Finance Ministry statement had explained that the chosen bidder for the Mgarr marina will be bound with a number of conditions, including the upgrading of marina facilities and infrastructure within 24 months, and to develop and manage the entrusted facilities.
Government had accepted the recommendation of the Privatisation Unit’s evaluation committee for Harbour Management Ltd., to be selected as the preferred bidder for the Mgarr Gozo Marina.
Melita Marine Group is a superyacht service provider and marina operator throughout the Mediterranean. Pierre Balzan is general shareholder and chairman in each company of the group.
The Melita Marine group of companies offers a wide range of marine services and has offices all around the Mediterranean coast, namely Italy, Sicily, France, Tunisia, England and Croatia, and developing in Spain, Sardinia, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Gibraltar.
Melita Marine was also a bidder for the superyachts facility at the former Malta Drydocks.



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