Reader’s Response to Yacht Article

LHR Guardia Civil Maritime ServiceHi Martin,

This is complete and utter nonsense. On June 27th we had a private charter for 30 wedding-party guests from 18.00-22.00h.

We are licenced to carry 12 guests, and the other two boats we sub-chartered are licenced for 10 each, so that is a total of 32. We had 30, so we were actually 2 short of our joint, licenced capacity, and not “overcrowded” as they claim.

All three (not two, as the Guardia claim, if they can’t even count to 3 what chance for the rest of us??) were pulled into the refuelling pontoon as we returned from our 4-hour trip at 21.55 (ie, before 10pm).

Yes, the guests were drinking, and yes, they were dancing on deck. But as far as we’re aware, there is no law against holidaymakers having fun, it was before 10pm, and on 3 private yachts.

As far as we know, the Guardia were not acting on any complaints from the public (unlikely given the time and location, ie out at sea!!)

The sargeant in charge of the Guardia Civil boat from Motril accused us all of “having a licence to operate charter trips and not un “JALEO” (to make a racket!).” I heard him shout that, as I was waiting at our berth to welcome the yachts back in.

They then proceeded to ask each skipper for the boat’s documents, which they provided.

At no time did they mention that they suspected the CREW had been drinking, as they have now accused us of in their press release.

Surely if they suspected the crew had been drinking they should have been breathalized? (Standard practice with motorists and airline pilots!)

We categorically deny that ANY crew members had been drinking. At no point did they do a head count to check whether the boats were overloaded (they weren’t!)

All 3 charter companies are 100% fully legal, Spanish companies, authorised for charter work out of Marina del Este. Ours has been operating for 9 years without incident.

The Guardia kept everybody waiting for 40 minutes before allowing the guests to disembark.

I am afraid that this is part of a wider 2018 Summer Guardia Civil strategy to harass us. We have had more than one inspection (from the same Guardia boat crew) two weeks running now. On the first inspection they seemed very disappointed to find absolutely everything in order. Ditto the other two yachts operating in the same way as us from Marina del Este, who are also experiencing regular checks “for documents” and harassement this summer.

What they really should be doing is checking the (other) unlicenced, boat-charter operators in the marina, of which there are several, and not continually targetting the fully compliant and licenced, charter operators.

As to being denounced and fined, NO MENTION of this was made by the Guardia on the night, would they care to enlighten us further?

I shall be going to see the head of the Guardia Civil Maritime Division in Motril on Monday morning, to raise all the above points.

Mike Shaw Roberts
Owner – Optimist of London II – Luxury Catamaran Charters

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