The United States has given Malta, on loan, a pair of high-speed motorboats to be used locally for anti-smuggling patrol.
The United States has given Malta, on loan, a pair of high-speed motorboats to be used locally for anti-smuggling patrol. The U.S. navy is now giving free training to their Maltese crews drawn from the Maltese army.
The boats were actually handed over last November, and from then on there was rivalry between the Customs Authority and the Maltese police for the right to operate them.
The issue was finally settled by Maltese Prime Minister Borg Olivier. He decided that in this case, sailing was a job for the army.
SYNOPSIS: Last November the United States gave the Maltese Government on loan a pair of high-speed boats for anti-smuggling patrol, to mark the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations Organisation. Now the U.S. Navy is giving the Maltese crews free training on how to operate them -- and strangely enough they come from the Maltese army.
When the boats were brought home, the island's customs officers looked forward eagerly to being asked to supply the crews. So too did the police, who turned the matter into something of a dispute by staking a claim. The police thought they were already doing a very good job along the shore-line, catching illegal immigrants.
The matter called for a decision at high level, and an astute one was made by Prime Minister Borg Olivier, who decided the sailing in this case was a job for the army. So 25 soldiers of the Malta Land Force have started an intensive training course to make sailors of themselves, in the competent hands of instructors from the U.S. navy.
They will take over the boats from the Americans at the end of the month.