Malta Ports

Malta is located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea just south of Sicily.  The Maltese archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino.  Their total population is approximately 400,000.  The largest island of the group is Malta from which the archipelago takes its name and which accounts for just over 90.5% of the population.  Valletta, the capital, is the cultural, administrative and commercial centre of the archipelago.
Malta is well served with harbours, the main international ports being:

  • The Valletta Grand Harbour
  • The Port of Marsaxlokk. 
  • The Port of Marsamxett

The second largest island is Gozo which can be reached from Malta by ferry from the ports of Cirkewwa and Marsamxett or by seaplane from the port of Valletta.  Gozo has one port – Mgarr.

Maritime activity centres around the 2 main Malteses ports, Valletta and Marsaxlokk, although a number of other ports occasionally host ships on international voyages, usually passenger vessels.  Both are capable of providing a comprehensive package of maritime services including towage, salvage, pilotage, victualling and provisions of all kinds of stores and supplies.

Ports and Yachting Directorate

The Ports & Yachting Directorate has a regulatory role in monitoring the maritime activities which take place within the internal and territorial waters of Malta and also manages port facilities which are under the control of the Authority, including yachting and mooring facilities.  The privatisation that took place in recent years whereby most of the port and yacht related services, including cargo operations, passenger operations and technical nautical services are now carried out by the private sector, has led to a shift in the role of the Directorate.  Today, it is responsible for ensuring that private operators comply with the various contractual obligations brought about by privatisation.

The Ports and Yachting Directorate is responsible for:

  • The promotion of port services and maritime activities;
  • Preservation of good order in internal and territorial waters, including safety of navigation;
  • Registration of small ships;
  • Prevention and control of pollution, including the control of ship-generated wastes;
  • The provision of a safe and efficient maritime transport system;
  • Ensure the provision of technical nautical services, fire fighting facilities, supplies and other ship requirements;
  • Licensing of marine commercial craft;
  • The management of port facilities;
  • Regulation of yachting and maritime leisure facilities;
  • The compilation of maritime statistics;
  • The organisation of mooring areas; and;
  • The organisation of popular bays and swimmers' zones.



When vessels call at Maltese ports, pilotage is compulsory for vessels of 500 GT and over, except in cases where ships are legally exempt from pilotage. With respect to pilotage services, the Ports and Yachting Directorate is responsible for ensuring that the Malta Maritime Pilots Co-operative Society Limited adheres to its contractual obligations as established by the Maritime Pilotage Regulations 2003 and the Agreement entered into between the Authority and the Co-operative. Pilots board vessels at the Pilot Stations located outside Valletta and Marsaxlokk. In bad weather, boarding may be restricted to the harbour entrance. Pilotage is available on a 24-hour basis.


Tug Malta is the only licensed company that can carry out harbour towage operations within and between the harbours of the Maltese Islands.


The  Authority licenses mooring men who work on a twenty-four hour shift basis. Mooring men are regulated by the Pilotage and Mooring Regulations 1975. Mooring men are expected to provide mooring services to ships in ports during berthing and unberthing operations.


Within the Grand Harbour, bunkers may be un/loaded ex-pipeline at Flagstone Wharf, the Deep Water Quay, and Ras Hanzir Dolphins. At the Port of Marsaxlokk bunkers may be un/loaded from San Lucian Terminals.

Offshore Bunkering: Bunkering operations are allocated in various areas around Malta. Vessels will be allocated a relevant area by the Ports and Yachting Directorate on arrival. Five different areas around the island are available and area is allocated depending on weather conditions.