The Nemocean team. | Nemocean

We live in an ever-changing global society and the opportunities in life as well as death are continually expanding and now, inspired by a practice which has been followed by seafarers for generations in Germany, a new company in Mallorca, branded Nemocean, is offering the ultimate opportunity to celebrate a person’s life with a funeral in the Mediterranean Sea off Mallorca.

The co-founder of Nemocean, Tobias Hofmann, who served in the navy, has a lifelong connection with the sea and has lived in Mallorca for over four years. He explains that the funeral market is changing dramatically and that demand for alternative funeral services is growing.

“There are many factors. In Germany, for example, funerals have been held at sea in the Baltic or in the North Sea for generations, but here in Mallorca, not only do so many people have a long affiliation and love for the sea, the Mediterranean offers a location second to none for that very special moment.
“We understand that saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, which is why we’re here to support families during this difficult time.

Breathtaking beauty
“Our intention is to create a warm and comforting atmosphere as we sail off the coast of Mallorca, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Mediterranean Sea and nature.
Our aim is to transform what is typically a sombre and mournful event into a gentle and uplifting farewell celebration, one that will honour a loved one’s memory with grace and dignity. We hope that this experience will bring some comfort and solace as families navigate this difficult journey.

“In 2022, the law changed in Spain allowing funerals at sea under restrictions, and we are a very professional team who work very closely with the port authority with regard to permits and the legal side of things.
“Prior to that, sea funerals were being carried out by families but they were illegal and not regulated, for that reason the new law was introduced last year.

“Plus, although we’ve only been operating since the end of last year, we also have the cooperation and support of different regional church communities. This means that should a family wish to have a spiritual person such as a priest, pastor or vicar present, we can arrange for that, although we’re finding that in many cases families prefer to organise their own ceremony.

“That said, we’re on hand to provide the charter vessels, catering, live music, flower arrangements, whatever services families require, and we source as much as possible locally.
“We also provide audiovisual services to document the ceremony.
“Demographics have changed so much that families are quite often living apart all over the world. For those members who are unable to make it to Mallorca, they will have a professional film of the event plus photographs of a truly memorable occasion to remember their lost one by.

New York
“It is the case that we’re focused on a more international market. The last funeral was for a South African family, many of whom have lived in Mallorca for years. The next is for a family from New York. There is a great deal of interest growing in the United States as well as in the UK and Germany.
“Yes, many of the people who approach us do have connections to Mallorca while others don’t, but they are attracted to the idea of a wonderfully moving and unique send-off for a loved one,” Tobias said.

Protection of the environment
“There are obviously strict rules, regulations, and prerequisites we must comply with. For example, the urns, which we provide, must be biodegradable, either made of sand or salt, and be certified.
“We also have to sail at least three miles out from the shore. We are not allowed into any protected natural marine areas and nothing can be mixed with the ashes. We have dedicated maritime areas, for example, plus we have to respect the Posidonia sea grass.
“But as I said, the team works very closely with the ports authority to make sure everything goes to plan.

“We prioritise sustainability, partnering with local businesses and employees to support the community.
“We raise awareness of environmental and maritime issues and donate to relevant projects for the protection and improvement of the environment,” Tobias explained.

We are devoted to creating a one-of-a-kind event that brings a family’s vision to life.
“Our custom ceremonies, which can include sailing or motor yachts, live music, funeral speakers, or priests, are tailored to whatever preferences.
“Our team handles all pre- and post-event preparations and offers full support in English, German, Spanish and French, ensuring the best possible service during this emotional time. For the most recent funeral, while we were only allowed to drop petals into the sea during the ceremony, the entire vessel was decorated in flowers. It was extremely impressive and very moving, and the family was extremely pleased with the celebration of life.

Cherish and share
“For the next, the family wants a morning funeral with breakfast on board. All these options are available, and we can make it happen.
“And we operate all year round, weather permitting.
“From June to September the charter companies are obviously very busy, but out of season, obtaining a vessel, whatever model or size the family requires, is less challenging, slightly cheaper and the charter firms welcome this.

“Why a funeral at sea? Well, it’s a very special occasion and one people want to remember. We’ve seen a change in habits. For various reasons, people no longer want a tomb or traditional land-based place of rest or ceremony.
“There’s the matter and cost of upkeep, lack of space in cemeteries, while in a cemetery families are unable to host a memorable ceremony in the intimacy of being on board a boat off the glorious coast of Mallorca.

“The sea funeral provides unforgettable memories of that final farewell. These are sad occasions but at least we can offer a respectful, delicate and pleasant experience tailormade for the families, which they will cherish and can share. From a more spiritual perspective the sea may be seen as the ultimate birthplace of life on Earth and as a symbol of eternity,” Tobias explained.

It also breaks down certain barriers. For example, in Germany urns are not allowed to be taken home. They have to be held by a funeral company, although that is neither the case in the UK nor Spain. The biodegradable urns we provide and use locally mean that this is not an issue, plus we’re not a funeral company. What we do is partnering with a growing number of funeral companies in Germany and here in Mallorca, and we take care of all the logistics required by the family and the organisation of the funeral.

Repeat celebrations
“Every family is given the coordinates, the location, of where the funeral took place so they can return to the site in the future if they wish to hold memorials for those who may not have been able to have been present at the original ceremony or small repeat celebrations of the deceased’s life.
“At the end of the day, what better way to celebrate someone’s life than in the Mediterranean off the coast of Mallorca? And we’re highly flexible to ensure that we can accommodate all of the family’s requirements for this very special day,” Tobias said.
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