An oil rig that has blighted Grand Harbour views for years left for Croatia on Tuesday after the shipyard involved was told by the transport minister to shift its operations.
The Atwood Beacon, one of the oil rigs in Palumbo Shipyard, was towed out, months after residents and activists kicked up dust about the idle oil rigs sitting there for years. One oil rig now remains at the shipyard. It should be removed by the end of April.
Intervening in the issue, the ombudsman confirmed Palumbo had no right to be berthing oil rigs in the shipyard but only vessels and said transport Malta had ordered the oil rigs to be vacated.
Transport Minister Ian Borg confirmed this in January and also announced that an agreement struck with Palumbo will also see the removal of half-sunk vessels in Marsa Creek, with the authorities now imposing a two-month limit on vessels being repaired in the Grand Harbour, and extensions applicable in exceptions.
Anger over the oil rigs stationed idly in the shipyard first came to the fore in 2017 when then Valletta 2018 Foundation chairman Jason Micallef pointed to the massive structures, which he said ruined the aesthetic of the Grand Harbour.
A Palumbo Malta Shipyards spokesperson had informed Times of Malta a two-year contract to revamp the jack-up oil rig would expire in 2018, however, in 2020 the rig in question was still there.