Studies promised to the Planning Authority more than two years ago on the LNG floating storage unit to be based in Marsaxlokk Bay have yet to be published, the Times of Malta is informed.

Sources close to the private consortium building the new gas-fired power station told this newspaper no information had been made available yet on a maritime risk assessment in connection with having a big vessel berthed permanently in the area.

The Prime Minister will be flying to Singapore where the Armada LNG Mediterrana, the vessel that will serve as permanent storage for the power station, is undergoing a conversion job, now nearing its completion.

During a meeting of then Malta environment and planning authority in March 2014, which had approved the development permit of the new gas-fired power project in Delimara, Enemalta's environmental impact assessment consultant, Paul Gauci, had said that while initial maritime traffic studies were based on already available information, a full maritime impact assessment had still to be carried out.

However, sources close to the project noted yesterday there were no signs of any such studies, which would allay concerns about the manoeuvrability of other ships in view of the fact that they would be close to the permanent LNG facility.

"A maritime risk assessment is needed at least from a safety point of view. What will happen if there is a bad storm? Who is going to make sure that precautions are taken? Does Malta have the necessary expertise to handle such technology?" the sources wondered.

Dr Muscat is expected to leave for Keppel Shipyard, in Singapore, tomorrow. The Office of the Prime Minister was asked for details on the delegation accompanying him but the questions remained unanswered at the time of writing.

The government was also asked whether the Maltese media had been invited to travel with the Prime Minister but no information was forthcoming.

The Times of Malta is informed that Minister without Portfolio Konrad Mizzi, who despite losing his health and energy portfolios in a reshuffle earlier this year, is still responsible for the project, and the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Keith Schembri, will form part of the delegation.

Although Dr Muscat described the visit to the shipyard as "a big media event" none of the independent media is known to have been invited to attend. It only the State broadcaster that will join the trip to Singapore.

The new gas fired power station - a major electoral promise of the Labour Party during the last electoral campaign - had originally to be ready by March 2015.

However, the project was delayed by more than a year with Dr Mizzi mentioning June 2016 as the date when the new plant will be producing energy.

Asked two weeks ago to give a new timeline of when the promised power station would be ready, Dr Muscat did not reply. He would only say that "soon there will be a big media even in which a new timeline will be given".

The Prime Minister is expected back from Singapore on Thursday.

Source: Times Of Malta