Tarida Tourist Tragedy
Party Boat Death.
A man died after swimming in the water near Cala Tarida at around 7.40pm on Monday whilst taking part in a commercial fiesta staged out to sea on a Catamaran Party boat. Circumstances about the death and the cause have not been released but it is believed that friends of the man alerted the crew when the man failed to return to the boat after going for a swim. Rescue divers were called in and the dead body was retrieved from the sea three hours later. The man has not yet been named but he is thought to be Polish and aged 36. The cause of death has been confirmed as drowning. A post mortem will follow which will include toxicity screening for alcohol and drugs, though there is no suggestion at present that intoxication was a causal factor in his death. This has not stopped speculation in the Spanish press with some news feeds quick to state the death being as a result of intoxication. The website ciutat.es reports the man to have taken MDMA and very drunk, and that the tourist died of shock when he jumped into the sea. The site goes on to reporting that the boat did not have the necessary permits and that it had many more passengers than it should have. This is at complete odds with local sources that state the Guardia Civil have not officially confirmed any information regarding their investigation, though early reports indicate that the boat had all its permissions in order, and the number on board was under it’s permissible limit. The Guardia will also be looking at whether the vessel had followed mandatory safety procedures whilst carrying out the excursion. The Maritime Captaincy has also confirmed the boat had all the legal requirements.
Latest reports suggest the deceased jumped into the sea with many other passengers. The catamaran’s ladder allegedly fell in the water and started to sink, the victim swam down to get it but never made it back to the surface. The 2006 catamaran named Passion Cat has a capacity of 75 people and it is rented as a party boat from the port of San Antonio.
Earlier in the week it was announced that the Balearic Government had formally handed over power to investigate and inspect party boats and their activities to each local town hall and the local police forces in each borough.
Police Investigate a Murder
The Guardia Civil are treating the death of a Polish citizen found dead in his car on May 13th in Cala d’Hort as a probable murder. The investigators do not rule out any hypothesis, but the principal one they are working on is that it was not a natural or accidental death, but a crime.
Sources close to the case reported yesterday that the team of the Judicial Police of the Guardia Civil in Ibiza is waiting for the results of the analysis of traces of blood found in the attic of the apartment in which the deceased, Wojciech Ryszard Kądziołka, lived and worked. The apartment is located in Calle Guipúzcoa in Cala de Bou, near the Pinet Beach.
The body had small cuts on his arms though at first specialized agents of the Civil Guard Judicial Police thought that there were no signs of violence. However, after the autopsy and after finding traces of blood in the attic of the deceased’s home, the investigators believe that a crime was committed.
However, because this case is an on-going investigation, the judge has ruled a gag order and no more information will be revealed.
Europe’s Drug Testing Ground.
According to the authorities, Ibiza is now firmly established as the testing ground for new illegal drugs and substances before they are then marketed in the rest of Europe. This alarming situation is growing despite the fact that there are more controls and interceptions of illegal drugs being smuggled to the island are taking place. In fact this increased police action is also causing problems as it appears that the authorities are finding it harder than ever to dispose of the drugs they confiscate. The policy is to burn them within 24 hours so that there is no further threat to public health or any chance of them getting back into circulation on the black market.
After stopping a Moroccan man and a Spanish national in the streets of the town for alleged drug offences, the police in San Antonio followed up their action with a search of the accommodation where the men were living. There they found a total of 632gms of cocaine and 45,7gms of MMDA as well as 17,000€ in cash. A third Spanish man was also detained in connection with this drug haul.
In Playa den Bossa a man was detained in possession of 199 extasis pills. He was spotted by plain clothed police putting a suspicious packet in his trousers to try and avoid a police check point
Illegal Roof Top Party.
Seventy people were ejected from a roof top terrace in San Antonio where there was an illegal party taking place featuring professional Dj’s. Located near a school, there had been several complaints from neighbours about the noise and the quantity of people attending the private party. During the police action 150 extasis, 35gms of cocaine and 44 unused laughing gas canisters were confiscated. The reports stated there was evidence of many more drugs having been consumed before the authorities arrived to stop the party!
Pirate Taxis To Loose Points.
The island’s Government is going to urge the traffic authorities to consider the driving of an illegal pirate taxis as being a road safety offence. This will mean that the driver of the illegal taxi could loose 6 points on his license as well as having the vehicle impounded and fined as happens at the moment. It was reported that so far fifteen cars have been impounded for being used as illegal taxis and fifteen more luxury vehicles have been detained for being used as VIP chauffeur driven transport without the correct permissions.
Grounded Boats To Be Removed.
In the next few days the pleasure craft washed up on the main beach in San Antonio after last winters storms will be removed. Finally the authorities have the permissions they needed so that they can act to remove this potential danger to swimmers and beach users. There were calls to regulate the way boats are moored in the bay of San Antonio so that after every storm during the winter we do not get the same situation occurring of boats being washed ashore and taking forever to get removed or salvaged.
New Planning Laws To Take Affect.
Sant Josep introduced new planning laws this week which are designed to fit more with the reality of the land use situation in the borough. Water supplies and sewage systems will also be controlled more strictly under the new planning regulations. Most importantly, seventeen areas will now have a new classification allowing construction. Previously defined as being in restricted rural planning zones, these seventeen areas will be known as Medio Rural y el Suelo Urbanizable Directamente Ordenado (SUDO). Existing construction will be legalised and landowners in these areas will now be able to build up to 15% of the total area they own and will have to allow the Town Hall use of up to 50% of the land area if so required.
There was criticism from opposition politicians that these new planning laws allow extensive natural areas such as those near to Playa den Bossa and Port des Torrent as well as Cala Carbò to be developed in the interests of a few and at the expense of the environment and the rest of the inhabitants.
Sant Carles By Pass Open.
Taking a route to the east of the village, the new Sant Carles by pass was opened for use this week. Whilst improving road safety, the new route will relieve congestion and make the main street of the village more pedestrian friendly opening up the possibility of using the town square in front of the church for socio cultural activities.
Bad Start To Cruise Season.
With 6000 less cruise passengers arriving on the island at the start of the season when compared to last year, this sector has not had as good a start to the season as expected. The authorities hope the short fall will be made up when the Big liners arrive in the height of summer. Hopefully, the international promotional campaigns of last spring will mean that the cruise liner season will last longer this year in Ibiza.
Eight More Police For San Antonio.
This week in San Antonio, eight more police officers were incorporated into the sixty four-strong squad serving the town. Known as Tourist Police it is expected that these officers will employed ensuring that the famous West End entertainment area of the town is better patrolled.
Low Investment in Health.
The Balearic authorities are one of the lowest investors in health services of all the regions in Spain. With an investment in 2010-2011 of only 1,273 million€ it worked out that there was only a 1,144€ provision in health for each resident. This is nearly 200€ less than the national average and around 500€ less that the highest spending autonomous regions such as País Vasco and Asturias.
Hit and Run In Tunnel.
A car knocked a young couple off their motorcycle as they rode through the San Rafael tunnel on the Ibiza to San Antonio road and then drove off with out offering any help. The incident happened in the early hours of the morning and left the couple lying in the road needing hospital treatment. Once treated for their injuries, the couple were released and the police are looking for the vehicle and driver who will face serious charges.
Careful With Our Money.
Studies show that residents throughout the Baleares continue to spend less on hotels, restaurants, house hold items and transport than most other areas of Spain. However, our investment in housing is steady and nearly the highest in Spain. Since 2007 our average spending per person has reduced by nearly 20% and in some items there have been nearly 50% decreases.
Honoured by the Town Hall in San Antonio, this week Alan and Gill Arrowsmith were celebrated publicly for having visited the resort every year during the last 46 years. Coming from the West Midlands, the couple first arrived on the island in 1968 staying with their young son at the Hotel Osiris. Great ambassadors for the island they have returned each year often in groups of up to eighteen family members and friends. Having tried the holiday experience at all the resorts on the island, the couples preferred hotel of choice is now Ses Savines, on the Arenal beach in the bay of San Antonio.
Councillors Pay Illegal.
A court ruling, instigated by a small opposition party, has ruled that the payment of salaries, to part-time Town Councillors in San Antonio, are not legal. These salaries can only be paid to the seven councillors who work exclusively for the town hall, and not to the rest of the team that have other daytime jobs. It is not clear if the salaries paid so far will have to be repaid or not, or if the situation can be rectified by the council so that the councillors in question can receive some form of economic compensation for their work.
Another Balcony Fall.
Falling in the early hours of the morning for unknown reasons from the third floor of her accommodation, a twenty year old British girl was badly injured and rushed to hospital in Ibiza Town
Public Transport Protest.
If the permissions are granted by the authorities then on Monday there will be a protest by public transport providers. They are protesting about the pirate taxis and other illegal or unfair intrusion into their sector which appears to have had very little response from the authorities. It is planned that up to 300 taxis, buses and other forms of public transport will drive slowly in procession during the morning of the 30th around the inner ring road of Ibiza Town and through some central streets. The authorities appealed against this industrial action and the inconvenience it will cause in the middle of summer but it appears that the transport sector is really fed up with the lack of a strong response against pirate taxis and other illegal or unfair intrusion into their sector.
112 Emergency Centre.
All the 112 public emergency services will from now on be centred and coordinated from renovated premises, which officially opened this week in the former Sa Coma military base, located on the Ibiza To San Antonio road near Amnesia Disco. What appears to be a logical and efficient move by the Balearic Government and Consell Island Government was criticised by opposition politicians for having taken so long to set up and it was suggested that the facilities warranted more funding than had been provided.
Swoop On Illegal Immigration.
A force of sixteen policemen, belonging to San Antonio local police and the National Police force based in Ibiza Town, carried out a combined special operation stopping and identifying thirty seven people in the West End entertainment area of the town last week. Twenty eight were apprehended for illegal street-selling, four were detained for drug offences and two Senegalese men were arrested for being illegally in the country. One of these had been previously detained in Cataluña and, because he had avoided expulsion from Spain at that time, he had an arrest warrant pending. Laughing gas balloons, cocaine, extasis, viagra and quantities of cash were confiscated during the operation.
It was important that the police force was mixed as the local police could centre on municipal by law infringements whilst the National Police could focus on the immigration issues of those they identified during the night time operation.
Police Protect 59 Women.
It was announced that, throughout the year, the figure of women receiving police protection against possible male violence was a steady number of around fifty nine cases. None of these women were described as being at extreme risk of attack, meaning that the level of police surveillance and protection was classed as medium. In such situations, fear is supposedly the dominant factor rather than the actual likelihood of an attack. Hence, the women are phoned regularly, have an emergency contact number, are instructed on self protection, have personal contact with the authorities and are generally made to feel that they are being looked out for.
Police in Santa Eulalia detained a man who allegedly held his partner by the neck whilst hitting her in the face. The incident happened in the evening and the woman rang the police, who found her in a very nervous state in the street by her home. Reportedly, the woman said that this is not the first time the man had been violent towards her. The woman was taken to a medical centre for treatment.
Hotel Workers Agreement.
Unions representing hotel workers throughout Ibiza and Formentera signed a deal this week which should bring industrial peace to the sector for the next four years and possibly for four more after that. Under the new agreement, wages will increase by 4,5€ over the next four years, and there were will be an improvement in working conditions and stability within the sector.
Hotel Record In May.
The official figure released this week shows that the hotel occupation on the island in May was up by 3,4%, reaching a 63,45%occupation, when compared to May last year. Formentera’s tourism increased by 19,7%, to reach a hotel occupation of 45,35%. Both record breaking figures were accounted for by an increase in all our tourist markets, choosing early season holidays on the islands. If the trend continues, we could be looking at a record breaking summer for Ibiza and Formentera.
Tagomago, It Is Up To Us.
That is what the Mayor of Santa Eulalia, Vicent Marí, said this week about the controversial plans for a beach club on the protected island of Tagomago. It seems that even if the coastal authorities follow the same lines as the Balearic Government and give the go ahead for a beach bar and other installations on the island, the Town Hall will find ways to have the last say on the matter and stop the plans from reaching fruition. The Mayor believes that it will not come to this, because now that alleged irregularities, concerning previous installations carried out on the island by the property company who owns this paradise, are in the hands of the prosecution services, the Coastal Authorities will not approve any new plans until these other matters have been resolved.
Princess and the Plea; Infanta Cristina
Jose Castro, judge in charge of the Nóos case, has decided to impute the Infanta Cristina for fiscal crimes and money laundering, and believes she should be judged together with her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, and the rest of those involved in the case of corruption.
For those of you who haven’t been following the story:
From 2004 up to March 2006, Iñaki Urdangarin, Duke of Palma, is a founding partner of the firm Nóos of Strategic Consulting and president of the Institute Nóos for Strategic Studies in Sponsorship and Patronage. In November 2004, the Nóos Institute organized the Valencia Summit, a meeting point for debate about big sport events and development opportunities. A year later, the first edition of “Illes Baleares Forum”, in which experts from academia, business and the sports world congregated, is held in Palma. For the organization of this Institute Nóos pocketed 1.2 million euros.
In February 2006, the opposition politicians start asking Jaume Mates where all that money had disappeared to. Only a month later, Iñaki Urdangarin resigns the Nóos presidency.
In 2010, Judge Castro opened the case and in 2011 started calling for declarations. From there onwards, the investigation has revealed many payments to this institution by the Balearic and Valencian Governments for projects that never came to fruition. The money was never recovered.
The Spanish Princess was part of the partnership and gave evidence before the judge earlier this year. She told the judge she signed documents without reading them, trusting her husband because she loves him.
The Crown of Spain, during the whole procedure, has stated they support the law, the judge’s decisions, and that anybody with public responsibilities should be punished if they have committed a crime.
King Felipe VI Supported.
The Nóos scandal does not appear to have had a negative impact of the new King’s reign. A survey showed that the coronation of the new King of Spain, Felipe VI, this week, was popular amongst the residents of the Baleares. 73% of the residents liked the idea of the new King taking the throne but this support did shrink amongst under 35’s and leftwing voters. Seen as in touch and dynamic, the new king made a good acceptance speech distancing his position from political ideals and setting his role as defending the Constitution of Spain so that the country, with so many regional differences, could live united in harmony.
Posidonia In Danger
Most experts would agree that it is the Sea Eel Grass (Posidonia) which gives the islands the crystal clear blue waters. This plant absorbs CO2, filters the water, stops coastal erosion and creates a fantastic habitat for marine creatures. However, studies show that, in the last fifty years, mainly due to negative human factors, the density of the reserves of Sea Eal Grass have been depleted by 50%. These vital undersea pastures have shrunk by between 13 to 38% depending on the area of the coast studied. Nearly 30% less CO2 is being absorbed and the ensuing negative effects on the ecosystem are being observed.
The Gas Men Cometh
Thanks to reader Leslie Morris who has put us on alert that the gas conmen are back again.
These rogue traders surface every year preying on the unsuspecting, particularly foreign visitors and the elderly. They tell you that an inspection of your equipment is required and then charge extortionate amounts for very small jobs that are usually not requires anyway. Leslie spotted them in the Can Germa and Cala Salada area, telling us “they had a beat up old mpv pale metallic blue but their usual official looking uniforms“.
They get all over the island so beware—and if they knock on your door think about any elderly or new resident neighbours and forewarn them.
A firm refusal will usually have them on their way, but they have been known to become quite abusive when told to leave.
“Stop Washing Chicken.”
The UK government’s food watchdog has urged consumers to stop washing chicken before they cook it to avoid contaminating their kitchen with Campylobacter – the most common type of food poisoning in the UK – which can cause death as well as serious health problems.
Research for the Food Standards Agency reveals that more than two-fifths of cooks say they routinely wash chicken as part of their food preparations. But the FSA has warned that splashed water droplets can spread Campylobacter bacteria on to human skin, work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment.
Campylobacter is responsible for most cases of food poisoning, with around 280,000 people affected in the UK each year, and four out of five cases are caused by contaminated chicken. “While most cases result in people suffering from abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and vomiting, some cases can lead to more significant health problems.” the Food Standards Agency said. “In more serious situations, it can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a serious condition of the nervous system. At its worst, it can kill. Those most at risk are children under five and older people.” The campaign is part of Food Safety Week.
Hotel Star Ratings
Thirty five hotels and other tourist accommodation facilities have applied for an increase in star rating this year but so far only two have passed the inspections by the tourist authorities on the island. It appears that in most cases, failing of the inspections was a question of paperwork stopping things going ahead. Slight modifications and re-assessment will eventually mean that the hard work and investment of the hoteliers will be rewarded with their star upgrade. Despite this current disappointment, overall Hotels in Ibiza and Formentera have performed extremely well in the star stakes with all districts reporting marked increases in the ratio of upper star rated hotels in the period 2004 to 2013. More stars appears to directly relate to the possibility of increasing prices and profits which is the driving force behind the current trend to modernise and upgrade.