Astilleros Cabanellas has been in Puerto Pollensa since 1959. At the end of last month, the Balearic government’s ports authority, Ports IB, agreed to end a concession that has existed all this time and one for which the shipyard’s owners, the Cabanellas family, apparently pay only 347 euros a year plus taxes.
The ports authority is applying legislation dating back to 1988 by which it can terminate concessions once thirty years have elapsed. In 2018, the government advised the family, now in its third generation of ownership, that it would have to cease activities at the end of that year.
This was challenged, the family having sought a 25-year extension. One of the conditions for this extension was the establishment of a museum for the work of master shipwrights. The extension, including the museum project, is once more being sought. Investment being proposed amounts to 590,000 euros.
The nautical businesses association gave Cabanellas its support in 2018 and urged Ports IB to accept the proposal. “It would be beneficial for everyone and would allow us to keep alive a trade that is part of our history,“ said the then president of the association, Jaume Vaquer.
Various appeals were made against the 2018 decision, and a suspension of the process was requested when the head of the family, Antoni Cabanellas Seguí, died. His son, Antoni Cabanellas Pujadas, has since expressed surprise that the Ports IB general plan for ports “deliberately omits the current existence of the Astilleros Cabanellas concession”. Instead, the plan refers to the future establishment of a dry marina “at a former shipyard concession”.
The government’s director general of ports, Xavier Ramis, insists that the law doesn’t allow an extension. He explains that there will still be a repair and maintenance service for traditional boats and that, although there is reference in the plan to a dry marina, the ports authority’s intention is for there to be a concession for a larger dry marina and dock space, including the repair of traditional boats. The Cabanellas family will be able to bid for this “under equal conditions”.
Cabanellas has been a feature of Puerto Pollensa for decades. It may be that it continues to be. The family says that it is willing to go to court in order to fight for the extension that was first proposed in 2018. As far as the ports authority is concerned, though, the concession is at an end.