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STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
BALEARIC Maritime Rescue has enlarged its fleet with a new safety tug and a helicopter which will increase operational efficiency at sea.
The extra equipment has been provided as part of Central Government's 2006-2009 National Rescue Plan with funding of 1'023'000 euros. Balearic delegate, Ramon Socias and Merchant Marine director Felipe Martinez yesterday presented the tug, the Marta Mata and the British-made Agusta Westland helicopter, both of which will be operating in Balearic waters. Socias said that it is thanks to the National Rescue Plan that the Balearics can now make use of a variety of emergency vessels. Prior to the new tug and helicopter, the region was provided with the Clara Campoamor, a vessel specially designed to fight contamination at sea and in 2004 three rapid intervention vessels were made available to Majorca, Ibiza and Minorca.

Martinez said that the Marta Mata, a tug which has been fitted with the most sophisticated navigation and communication equipment available to merchant marine vessels anywhere, also has an infrared night-time vision feature installed. She is one of four tugs commissioned by the Spanish Maritime Salvage Agency, designed to carry out rescue, towing and fire-fighting operations on the Spanish coastline.