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17 December 2010


US Secretary of the Navy visits AFM Maritime Squadron


Valletta (Malta), 17th Dec., 2010:              The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) of the United States of America, Mr. Ray Mabus, visited yesterday the Armed Forces of Malta.   The visit took place at the Maritime Squadron’s Hay Wharf Base, where he was met by Commander AFM, Brigadier Martin G. Xuereb.   Branch Chiefs from Headquarters AFM and Commanding Officer Maritime Squadron, Acting Lieutenant Colonel Wallace Camilleri, were also in attendance.

SECNAV is the head of the Department of the Navy, a component organization as a military department of the US Department of Defense.   Mr Mabus had in the early 1970s also served in the U.S. Navy, aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock.

A Quarter Guard was accorded to Mr. Mabus on his arrival, after which he inspected the guard with CAFM.   Accompanied by the US Embassy’s Defence Attaché, Commander Jane Moraski, SECNAV had discussions with Brigadier Xuereb at the Squadron’s Officers Mess.

Various outline presentations were made by HQ AFM staff officers.   Topics covered included local AFM and FRONTEX Maritime Operations and their respective cooperation with the US Navy, in particular with regards to maritime domain awareness, as well as the AFM’s participation in crisis management operations overseas, given Malta’s recent participation in maritime operations overseas in the Gulf of Aden.

Also covered was the procurement of equipment and related support from the United States, namely that related to maritime assets and possible future projects in this regard.   This tied in with those training opportunities in the maritime sector provided by the US Navy from which the AFM has benefited over the years, and possible similar cooperation in the future.

Mr Ray Mabus was then given a tour of the Maritime Squadron’s base facilities, which included a briefing on the employment of the various classes of AFM patrol boats operated by the Squadron.   He was able to go onboard P-51, which is a US co-financed Protector-class patrol vessel, similar to those utilised by the US Coast Guard.

Image – by Justin Gatt/AFM Press Office

  US Naval Secretary Visit


Report Date   Info   Category

08 December 2010



Earlier this afternoon, five kayakers were rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta, after they found themselves in difficulty off the South Western coast of the Island. The kayakers had planned to carry out a canoe trip from Wied iz-Zurrieq towards the Freeport area.

The party of kayakers onboard three inflatable kayaks was made up of Matthew Pace, Christian Muscat, Andrea Scorcia, Andrea Gauci and Marianne Attard.

At around 13.25hrs, one of the kayakers in distress made contact via the 112 emergency–freephone service with the AFM’s Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC Malta) at Luqa Barracks, indicating that their party of five kayakers, required assistance as one of their air inflatable kayaks had sunk off the Ghar Hassan coastline’s area. Weather conditions in the area were indicated as being with moderate to rough seas, blowing a south-westerly wind varying from force 3 to 5 locally.

As RCC Malta maintained constant contact with the five kayakers, an AFM Air Wing Alouette rescue-helicopter was immediately scrambled into the air, whilst a Maritime Squadron Vittoria-class rescue-launch, the “Melita-1”, was dispatched at speed from its base at Haywharf in Pieta`.

Once overflying the area where the kayakers were reported, the AFM helicopter found them all clinging onto the two remaining serviceable kayaks. One kayaker, Matthew Pace, was winch-hoisted onboard the helicopter, as the “Melita-1” launch arrived on the scene to rescue the remainder of the kayakers. The sole kayaker airlifted earlier by the helicopter was landed back onto the rescue-launch, which then proceeded back with the rescued group to Haywharf Base.

Pictures: (credit to Crew “Melita-1”/AFM Maritime Squadron)

  Rescue at Sea