Passengers left stranded as Greek Gozo Channel crew leave to watch football

Hundreds of Gozitans hoping to return home on time after spending a long day at work in Malta on Thursday experienced an unexpected delay when one of the Gozo Channel’s vessels plying the 20-minute crossing between the islands was left at its berth and taken off the regular schedule.

The reason for the delay was, however, not related to a mechanical fault on the Greek MV Nikolaos, which is being rented for €13,000 a day by Gozo Channel.

Instead, the ‘problem’ preventing the ship from setting sail was that all its crew members were busy watching their national football team play against Malta at the Ta’ Qali national stadium at 6pm. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.

The Shift is informed that the MV Nikolaos carried out her last trip from Mġarr and arrived at Ċirkewwa at 3.18pm, where she was safely berthed. After that, the crew all left on a bus that was waiting to transport them to Ta’ Qali.

The vessel was left at the berth for the rest of the day and resumed operations the following day at 7.56am.

Since it was short one operational vessel, Gozo Channel was unable to satisfy the late afternoon rush hour’s peak demand, and several passengers had to wait long before returning home.

Gozo Channel did not reply to questions on why the MV Nikolaos in not in operation during those hours. But company officials anonymously confirmed the reason was the football match that the MV Nikolaos’ crew, who are predominantly Greek, wanted to watch at all costs.

“We could not believe our ears when we were told to do some extra trips because of a football match,” one crew member from the MV Malita, which had to replace the MV Nikolaos, told The Shift.

“At first, we thought a lot of Gozitans wanted to cross over to Malta to go to Ta’ Qali. Little did we know that it was the vessel’s crew that wanted to stop working since it was them who had an appointment at Ta’ Qali.”

Stranded passengers who spoke to The Shift said that when they asked for a reason behind the delay, they were not given one.

“At the same time, we noticed that while we were waiting for a ship, the MV Nikolaos was standing still at its berth, with all its lights off and no crew on board. Little did we know that the crew had a football match to watch,” one angry passenger said.

Another passenger recounted how he even contacted the Gozo Ministry to see what was happening, but no one was there to answer the phone at customer care.

“We have completely lost the plot on this island,” he commented. “This is how us Gozitans are being treated by a government-run company that is supposedly serving us.”

Gozo Channel has been leasing the 35-year-old Greek vessel for the past three years at a reported cost of €13,000 a day, but the company insists on refusing to provide details on the direct order even though the bill is being footed by the taxpayer.

Just a few weeks ago, The Shift reported that the vessel, which usually has a 700-passenger capacity, was ordered by Transport Malta to carry a maximum of 350 passengers at any given time because of the vessel’s old age and associated safety concerns.

In the meantime, Gozo Channel is losing millions of euro a year, with the government increasing its subsidies exponentially to keep it afloat.

                           
                           
                               
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Edgar gatt
18 days ago

We have become a country where everyone does whatever he feels like, knowing that they get away scot free. The main reason that the small fry know that their superiors are so corrupt that they cannot talk. In this particular case, the crew are morally convinced that this contract is a corrupt one

makjavel
makjavel
18 days ago

The Minister of Transport plays truant.
The Greek Crew plays truant.
Whose next????

Armando gianella
Armando gianella
18 days ago

Send the pile of sub standard scrap back to be made into Coke cans

N Scerri
N Scerri
18 days ago

Pass it through Keith Schembri s recycling machine😀

Anthony Chetcuti
Anthony Chetcuti
18 days ago

The crew works a certain amount of hours a day, and so Gozo Channel has to provide additional trips by the other three ships if so required, to deal with the demand.

Alfred Tonna
Alfred Tonna
17 days ago

That “the crew works a certain amount of hours a day”, is a known factor, every other worker does so but, in this case, did the Gozo Ferry Company knew beforehand that the Greek crew were to ‘abandon’ ship and go to Ta’ Qali? Everything was arranged, including the transport (for this I give the benefit of the doubt, maybe the ‘sailors’ themselves organised it).

But than, if the Company knew, why didn’t they despatch another vessel simultaneously with that floating heap (another euro gulping fireplace, like Air Malta) of scrap so that the schedule would be kept intact and the passengers not left stranded and made to wait for a longer period of time than necessary?

From the article it transpires that the action was more of an arbitrary nature. That left the management at ‘sixes and sevens’ with the right hand not know what the left is doing.

It would be interesting to see what actions, if any, are to be taken.

N Scerri
N Scerri
18 days ago

Tiftakruha lil Justyne sejra tiffanfra l Grecja mal vapur?

Victor Vella
Victor Vella
18 days ago

A country run by monkeys, at our financial and well being expense.

FRANK VELLA
FRANK VELLA
18 days ago

Frank vella

carlos
17 days ago

U l-poplu gwejjef ihallas ghas-serq. Gawdi gahan.

Salvu G
Salvu G
17 days ago

Gozo has become a nasty, dirty island where corruption is blessed from St Francis Square and those who are not corrupt sidelined. I have to agree with the youths mentality to leave the island for good cause there is no future for them them in Gozo. No meritocracy. The important thing is that you are a Bediqqinu supporter or that you afford to pay. How disgusting!

Last edited 17 days ago by Salvu G
Carmelo Borg
17 days ago

Proslt Bundy PAJJIZ TAL MICKY MOUSE.

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