The Minister for Housing Samantha Sacramento MP recently unveiled commemorative plaques at each block at Mons Calpe Mews housing estate.

This new residential development, which has provided affordable co-ownership homes, was named after MV Mons Calpe, a purpose built vessel manufactured in 1954 by MH Bland for the transportation of cars, goods and passengers to and from Tangier. Upon the closure of the frontier between Gibraltar and Spain in 1969, MV Mons Calpe became Gibraltar’s umbilical cord, transporting many essential goods such as oxygen for the hospital and fresh fruit and vegetable to locals from Morocco. To this day, many Gibraltarians are grateful to MV Mons Calpe for the life line it provided during those difficult times.

Each building that forms part of the estate have been named after the other vessels that worked in the port of Gibraltar. Mons Abyla, Express, Seagull and Basha formed part of the MH Bland fleet, while Seamaster was owned by Tarik Ship Agents and Viking by Wilhelmsen Ships Services.

MH Bland were keen to have this important part of our Gibraltarian history recognized and recorded and as such and together with Tarik Ship Agents and Wilhelmsen Ships Services, have donated these commemorative plaques. The plaques, which have been placed at the entrance to each building, depict the silhouette of the historic vessels that historically serviced the port in Gibraltar and provide a brief history in order to commemorate the vessel.

Minister Sacramento thanked Mandy Gaggero of MH Bland for this initiative as well as Wilhelmsen Ships Service and Tarik Ship Agents & Bunkering Services for kindly donating these plaques.

Minister Sacramento MP said: “This residential development, which is a flagship manifesto commitment of our Government, has been named after an iconic vessel which was very much a part of Gibraltar’s history during the time of the closed frontier. MV Mons Calpe is very much part of our Gibraltarian heritage and those of a particular generation will have very fond memories of this era. Many residents in this estate may be too young to have lived through this part of Gibraltar’s history and these plaques will serve to remind everyone of this important period in our history and heritage.”

Mandy Gaggero thanked Minister Sacramento for her support and encouragement and expressed delight at having been able to contribute to this fitting tribute to MV Mons Calpe. Mandy also took the opportunity of thanking Robert Jefferies, Charles Wilding, Paul Picardo, Louis Pereira and Diego Yome for their service during these years. Also in attendance was John G Gaggero who directed operations and management of the Bland Line.