Over a 47 year period Malta Drydocks (MDD) from 1963 to 2010 evolved into a conundrum that baffled successive governments, the Maltese and the Dockyard workers themselves.
Few people know that after Malta became neutral (Freedom Day is celebrated annually – 31st March) and we still have Brainwashed People saying that no more warships since the late Prime Minister of Malta Dom Mintoff was involved in the withdrawal of British troops and the Royal Navy in 1979 (Ghax Mintoff kecca l-Inglizi), the first warship to call at Malta was a Libyan Navy Corvette on 16th May 1979 berthing at Machinery Wharf, MDD.
This was the first call that opened the door for more repairs to Libyan Naval Units. The late Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi (who was a great friend of the late PM Dom Mintoff) that first came to Malta in November 1973. He was here in 1974 and made the first of a number of visits to the dockyard.
After 23 Libyan Navy Calls it was the turn to see no 24 and 25 of which they were 2 Nanuchka II Class (Project 1234E) Missile Corvettes entering Valletta on January 1985.
These were the 416 EAN MARA –
A year later on 25th March 1986 she was severely damaged by USN Sixth Fleet in the Operation El Dorado Canyon. She was repaired at Leningrad, USSR and returned to Libya around 5 years later renamed as TARIQ IBN ZIYAD.
And the 417 EAN AL GAZALA –
Both left Malta from Dock 2 after 13 days to Benghazi, Libya.
These were the only Nanuchka II Class hulls that ever visited Malta till date though us as MSPAP we saw others in Algeria, Egypt, Germany, Mediterranean Sea and Russia.