Palma.—Spokesperson for the Balearic government, Nuria Riera, said yesterday that the local government respects the decision taken by the king of Spain to give up the Palma-based royal yacht Fortuna. She said that the move was “positive and responsible” considering the recession gripping the country.

The 41.5-metre yacht was donated in 2000 by a business group, which included the Balearic government, but left the king open to criticism during hard times in Spain. Each refuelling of the yacht costs more than 20'000 euros.

The group, the Tourism and Cultural Foundation of the Balearics, had said it hoped the king's presence on the island would draw holiday makers.
Like other assets including the royal palaces, the luxury yacht is owned by the state and managed by the National Heritage for the use of the 75-year-old king and his family. The National Heritage board must now approve the yacht's transfer to central government which agreed yesterday to make the most use and money out of the yacht.

It also has the option to sell it.
Vice-President, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said that the government is in the process of deciding what is going to be the most efficient and lucrative way of operating the vessel.

But, the move has sparked more controversy for the royal family.
Opposition parties here in the Balearics want the three million euros of tax payer's money invested into the project by the former PP government to be refunded to the Balearic government.