l Dear Sir, The text information about the stranded ferry that the Bulletin printed February 17-19 told us that the ferry had run aground and was stranded off the rocks of the islet Sa Torreta close to Formentera.

The Maritime Rescue Services brought the 21 passengers and 4 crew members to safety whilst the captain and first officer stayed on board to assess the damage. The Maritime Rescue centre in Palma coordinated the entire operation which included a helicopter and a specialist diving company. The helicopter proved unnecessary, (so there were probably no serious casualties, my comment). The Balearic president praised this totally successful operation and told that “The regional government were inconstant touch with Central Government representative on Mallorca…” and “… I and my government were available….. to help ….in handling the ferry crises”. The stranded ferry is now being decontaminated and emptied of oil and batteries. Balearia, the shipping company has to tell the authorities how they intend to refloat the vessel and the company has lost no time in consulting specialists on the fastest way to free the stranded vessel.

The pictures in the Bulletin clearly tell a somewhat different story: The ferry did not run aground and was stranded off the rocks. The ferry was with full speed laid up dry (for the winter?) on the islet Sa Torreta. No divers or special equipment was needed for the rescue operation and the fortunate passengers could probably take a stroll whilst waiting for new transportation.

I don't think refloating the vessel is the shipping company's major concern but rather to find expert operators with floating equipment capable of lifting and transporting the unfortunate vessel, as I doubt it would travel to well on its own keel. This was a major case of bad navigation and sloppy unprofessional handling that could have ended up in a total catastrophe had the islet been a few meters higher.

Where is the captain that so bravely stayed on board? Has no one talked to him and asked all the obvious questions? Has he not got a name? Captains get more attention in Italy.

Yours sincerely, Wictor Forss


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