Malta became a State for all facts and purposes on the 21st September 1964, the day in which it acquired its independence. It was time to change from an island fortress (military) economy to a market economy. Malta continued to take advantage of its maritime assets and has been ever since renowned for its well-equipped ports, skillful seamen and has made excellent use of its position to enhance international trade. The Merchant Ensign was adopted on 12th November 1965. The design of the Malta Flag is similar to the flag flown by the Knights of the Order of St. John in Malta up to 1798 to which a white border has been added.
Malta is a member of the EU, Euro zone and a party to the Schengen agreement. It has adopted the Euro as its official currency. Malta enjoys economic, political and social stability and benefits from excellent international relations. Malta also has an efficient communications infrastructure and people speak English fluently.
Malta has three large natural harbors: the Grand Harbor, Marsamxett Harbor and Marsaxlokk Harbor. The latter being where Malta has its main cargo terminal – The Malta Freeport. Malta with its deep and sheltered natural harbors and well equipped ports offers a haven for international shipping.
The Malta Freeport has helped Malta to become a major transshipment logistic center in the Mediterranean region. This is also advantageous to ship owners as they benefit from undergoing repairs, delivery of ship supplies as well as carry out any crew change requirements, during their cargo operations.
Malta is also widely sought for bunkering of vessels, both ashore and offshore.
Offshore Bunkering operations are allocated in various areas around Malta. On arrival, vessels are allocated a relevant area by the Ports and Yachting Directorate. There are five different areas for bunkering in Malta and these are allocated depending on weather conditions.