MARITIME shipping in the region was in disarray yesterday morning after storms and gales had lashed through the Balearics squalling as high as 130 kilometres per hour in the Alfabia mountain range on Majorca. The Balearic Meteorological Centre registered 4'350 lightning strikes at various points right round the Islands.

The centre's director, Agustín Jansa confirmed that the worst of the weather had struck Majorca and then gone on to affect Minorca and Ibiza but to a lesser extent.

A number of sailings between the Balearics and the mainland, as well as local inter-island services had to be diverted to unscheduled ports due to heavy seas and fierce gales. The weather also played havoc with some ferry and cargo ship timetables which suffered unannounced changes and delays.

Although all ports remained open, the ferry “Federico Garcia Lorca” belonging to the Balearia shipping line left at 8am bound for Ibiza but was forced to return due to unsafe sailing conditions.

The “Ramon Llull” belonging to the same company, and the “Nura Nova” licensed by Iscomar, both left Alcudia intending to sail to Ciutadella on Minorca, but they had to be diverted to Mahon due to gale force conditions and mountainous seas. Both ships finally arrived yesterday at 10.30am and 2pm respectively.

Turning to the mainland, the “Bahia de Malaga” which runs between Denia and Sant Antoni in Ibiza, and the “Isla de Botafoc” which covers the route from Barcelona to Sant Antoni and back, were both diverted to the port of Ibiza town due to adverse weather conditions. Both vessels are owned by shipping company Balearia.