by Joan Collins
THE Mayor of Soller, Carlos Simarro, has submitted a formal request to the Minister of Defence, Jose Bono, asking the Ministry to give a Navy submarine to the town of Soller so they can put it in the new dock which is being constructed at the moment in the port of Soller. The Ministry of Defence has not yet replied to the above request but the Mayor of Soller thinks that “there is a great chance that our request will be granted, taking into account the history of the Naval Base at the port of Soller as a strategic submarine base, and also the existence in the port of the Submarine School. These have given life to the town and particularly to the port district since the 1970s. A great number of people worked there”. The basis of this project is that the submarine will be installed in the new dock which is being completed to remind people of the port's links with the Navy. It is planned that the requested submarine will be installed in the dock to be converted into a living museum, which will be achieved by a joint project with the Museu del Mar (Maritime Museum) of Santa Catalina. The initial project consists of partly submerging the submarine to simulate the way it operates, and this would be done within the framework of the other work which is going on in Port Soller. Simarro explained that “being partially submerged minimises the visual impact as there is only a metre of hull visible, with the exception of the conning tower.” According to the Mayor, their request has a precedent for those hoping that the request will be granted. This precedent comes from the town of Torrevieja, who last year were given a submarine of the same series and for the same purpose as Soller town council want. Since then the submarine S61 granted to Torrevieja has had more than 150'000 visitors since its inauguration, becoming a tourist attraction of the first order for this community. He said that Torrevieja had become the first town in Spain to be given a submarine by the Navy so that it could be converted into a museum.
The requested vessel, the Delfin S60 measuring 58 metres in length and nearly 7 metres wide, was withdrawn from service when the Navy started the renovation of their submarine fleet in 2002.


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