Having served on the Nimrod fleet for three years at RAF Luqa, Malta in the mid seventies I can tell you the the word in question is "dghajsa" normally pronounced "dysa" by we non Malteese.
The boats carry a carved eye on both port & starboard at the bow (for the Admiral that is the sharp end, see "Dog Days" threads).
The eyes provide protection for fisherman and are reputed to be the eye of Horus - a pre Christian Egyption god.
Hope that was of some use to you,
P.S. go one, go one, go, on, make the extra bit of effort and go to "Dog days"