The Armed Forces of Malta information service.


Information published by the Armed Forces of Malta Press Releases:

Press-Media & Public Information Office
Armed Forces of Malta
Luqa Barracks
Luqa VLT-2000
Malta Tel.: +356-22494020
Fax.:+356-21241001 (office hrs) & +356-21809860 (all hrs)



Report Date   Info   Category

24 June 2010


Successful interception by HNLMS Johan de Witt

(A press release issued by the Dutch Ministry of Defence on 23 June 2010, at 15.45 hours)

On 18 June, HNLMS Johan de Witt intercepted a skiff with  six suspected pirates on board in the Gulf of Aden.

The skiff was detected as it was moving towards HNLMS Johan de Witt at great speed by a German Orion patrol  maritime aircraft which, as the Johan de Witt, is part of the EU’s counter-piracy mission EU NAVFOR Atalanta. As the alarm was sounded on board the ship,   and an Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) security team rapidly prepared itself for action.

As soon as those aboard the skiff realised that they were dealing with a military vessel, they changed course in the direction of the coast. The Dutch Warship Johan de Witt then fired a number of warning shots, after which the boat stopped and the suspected pirates surrendered. The AFM security team quickly secured the skiff and transferred those on board onto the navy ship. 


"It all went really fast", says Dutch Commander Ton Tas, First Officer of HNLMS Johan de Witt. “We could see clearly from the ship that they were dumping items into the sea. The patrol aircraft even took photographs of that.”  After the suspected pirates were registered, medically examined and interviewed, they were taken ashore and the Dutch navy ship continued on its patrol. 

Maltese Security Team

The team who secured the boat consisted of personnel from the Armed Forces of Malta. This southern European state has stationed 12 military personnel on board the Dutch navy ship. The Maltese soldiers form what is called a ‘Vessel Protection Detachment’. The team’s primary task is providing protection to ships carrying emergency relief goods or to other vulnerable ships that are escorted by HNLMS Johan de Witt. 

  AFM Intervention: Tuna/Greepeace Incident


Report Date   Info   Category

17 June 2010


Injured Maltese fishermen airlifted to hospital by rescue helicopter

Two Maltese fishermen are being airlifted later tonight by a Malta-based Italian Air Force rescue-helicopter, crewed by a joint Italo-Maltese flight crew, after sustaining injuries when they were working onboard a Maltese-operated vessel towing a tuna-pen.

Mr. Reuben Silvio, a diver working onboard the vessel "Rosaria Tuna" and
which is operated by firm 'Fish and Fish', was injured when environmentalists from the vessel "Sea Shepherd" attempted to hook up and damage the tuna-pen under tow.

The incident occurred at around 14.30hrs (CET) when the vessels were located some 35 nautical miles (NM) from Libyan shores, and around 150 NM from Malta. This was reported to the Armed Forces of Malta's Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC Malta) at Luqa Barracks, which in turn also notified their Libyan RCC counterparts in Tripoli.

Given the Maltese diver's condition as time elapsed, the tuna-pen towing
operation's lead vessel, the 'Cesare Rustico' was instructed by the AFM
to proceed on a course towards Malta so as to facilitate a medical-evacuation by helicopter to Mater Dei Hospital. By 22.30hrs, the 'Cesare Rustico' had arrived at about 90 NM from Malta.

Once communication was established with the 'Cesare Rustico' by RCC Malta, it came to light that another diver, Mr. Joe Barry, had been injured. Both divers were reported as in a stable condition.

An Italian Military Mission AB-212 rescue-helicopter took off from the AFM Air Wing base at Luqa Airport at 21.50 hrs. circa, and its estimated time of arrival back to Mater Dei Hospital is expected after 23.30hrs.

  AFM Intervention: Tuna/Greepeace Incident


Report Date   Info   Category

13 June 2010



This afternoon a variety of AFM resources were engaged in operations to ensure the security and protection of Maltese-registered fishing vessels engaged in legal fish transport operations approximately 22NM south of Malta. 

Following a report received from fisherman, AFM patrol craft P52 intervened to prevent the Greenpeace vessels MV Artic Sunrise and MV Rainbow Warrior causing damage to a fish cage being towed by the local vessel Ta’ Mattew, which cage contained legally-caught Blue Fin Tuna being transported to Maltese ranching operations. 

The Greenpeace activists engaged in a variety of actions designed to cause damage to the cage which included attempts to cut the net from small craft as well as attempts to ram the cage with the MV Artic Sunrise. Despite the potential of their actions to cause wilful damage to property and harm to persons, AFM assets responded with minimum force which included physical blocking of the Greenpeace craft and the use of fire-hoses to interfere with the activists’ actions 


  1. Captioned picture, credit to Ivan Saliba/AFM Air Wing
  2. (Below) Statement by MRRA/Govt. of Malta


MRRA’s/Govt. Of Malta statement 

B’referenza għal-attakki tal-greenpeace fuq gaġġeġ tat-tonn t’operaturi Maltin. 

Il-Gvern jirreferi għall-inċidenti li seħħew illum fejn attivisti tal-green peace attakkaw bil-forza attivitajiet legali  li kienu qed jitwettqu minn operaturi tal-akwakultura Maltin. 

Il-Gvern itenni li dawn huma operazjonijiet li qed isiru b’mod legali skond ir-regolamenti tal-ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Antlantic Tunas) u tal-Unjoni Ewropea. Barra minn hekk dawn l-operazzjonijiet qed jiġu osservati u spezjonati mill- ispetturi tal-istess ICCAT u tal-Unjoni Ewropea. Il-ħut li hemm fil-gaġġeġ tal-operaturi Maltin huwa hut maqbud f’operazzjoni legali u li jifforma parti mil-kwoti stabbiliti mill-ICCAT. 

Il-Gvern jiċċara li l-azzjoni tal-Forzi Armati ta’ Malta, hija waħda ntiża biex twaqqaf dawn l-attakki tal-attivisti, kif ukoll biex tiddefendi l-interessi leġittimi tal-Operaturi Maltin.



  AFM Activity: Greenpeace Activity