VALLETTA — In Malta, residents of a historic town are fighting emissions from a neighbouring shipyard. At the center of their struggle is the world's largest shipping company. 'Particulate matters' investigation looks into this and proves that more asthma cases are diagnosed in the district where the shipyard is located. 

In the tiny EU member state Malta lies the crown jewel of a seafaring nation: the Grand Harbour, a bustling port steeped in history. A shipyard located in the harbour’s historic towns is cause for concern for many of the residents who live there. The shipyard, jointly owned by Palumbo Shipyard and MSC Cruises, carries out industrial activity in an area which is just metres away from people’s homes.

Collective pleas for stricter regulations and enforcement have largely fallen on deaf ears. Information about the extent of the problem is scarce because there is no comprehensive analysis of the shipyard’s impact on people’s health and the environment. Complaints have intensified since MSC Cruises, a subsidiary of Swiss shipping giant MSC, began servicing its cruise ships in the shipyard.

In the course of our cross-border investigation, we show how pollution from cruise ships has increased, what health impacts the shipyard has on residents, and why official measurements of air pollution are insufficient. A perfect case study for what happens when authorities turn a blind eye to the shipping industry’s massive environmental impact.

Team members

Julian Delia

Julian Delia is a Maltese journalist who focuses on organised crime and corruption, politics, the environment, and migration.

Julian Delia

Christian Zeier

Christian Zeier is a reporter and investigative journalist based in Switzerland.


Christian Zeier

Joanna Demarco

Joanna Demarco is a Maltese photographer and journalist whose work focuses on human rights issues.

Joanna Demarco


Independent & investigative research team. Award-winning quality journalism, financed by members.


Zeynep Sentek

Zeynep Sentek is a Turkish journalist based in Portugal.

Zeynep Sentek

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.