The mayor of Augusta complains about the ineffectiveness of the port authority in the Ponte-Virtù debacle
The mayor of the Sicilian port city of Augusta, Giuseppe Di Mare, has questioned the role of the port authority of the ADSP region, after halting the departure of the new Maltese ferry service Ponte following a competing offer from the competitor Virtù Ferries.
The Ponte ferry service connecting Valletta to Augusta, near Catania, was stopped at the eleventh hour on an offer from Virtù, which connects Pozzallo to Valletta, to also get a departure slot from the port.
But the mayor of Augusta Di Mare and councilor Tania Patania complained that the ADSP port authority was preventing Augusta from having its own maritime connection with Maltese tourism.
“It is legitimate that we wonder about the role of the ADSP and its capacity to evaluate such private initiatives which benefit us collectively … this cavalier behavior really risks the economic revival of eastern Sicily and Augusta.”
Advisers called on ADSP to use a more objective and standardized concession system that allows ferry services to bring more tourism to Augusta.
Ponte Ferries said this week it was forced to delay the launch of its fast ferry service to Sicily due to a legal challenge by Virtù Ferries, which objected to the company’s use of the port of Augusta and tries to obtain its own concession from the port authorities. of Augusta and Catania.
Ponte Ferries said the opponent filed an “eleventh hour” challenge over the use of the docking area at Augusta that Ponte requested last November.
But the request was rejected by Virtù Ferries. “Ponte Ferries once again had to delay their ferry service, which undoubtedly caused a lot of anguish for their customers. This time, they seek to shirk their responsibility by seeking to blame Virtù Ferries, alleging that we have launched a last minute legal challenge. Virtù Ferries has not issued any such challenge, or even any other, ”the company said in a statement.
Virtù said he had requested mooring facilities at the port of Augusta and the respective requests had not yet been approved.
“Due to the time required and unlike our competitors, we have refrained from selling tickets for this route, and we will not sell until our permit has been approved. On the other hand, our competitors have been selling since June 23 tickets to the public knowing that they weren’t able to guarantee the service they were selling, ”Virtù said.