Canary Islands News Roundup April 2017

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Armas Ferry crashes into pier at Las Palmas

The Naviera Armas ferry, “Volcán de Tamasite”, crashed spectacularly into a pier in Las Palmas on the 21st of April following an electrical fault shortly after departing for Tenerife. The crew attempted to turn the vessel around, and even dropped an anchor, but were unable to avoid the collision. Refuelling diesel lines on the pier were ruptured by the crash causing a spill of over 100,000 litres. Fortunately there were no serious injuries to those aboard and the ferry was able to return to port under its own power.

Tourist Boom Continues

The Canary Islands’ booming tourist numbers continue to gather steam with AENA (the Spanish Airport Authority) announcing that 3.7 million passengers travelled through Canarian Airports in March – an increase of 4.2% over the same period in 2016. The numbers are even more astonishing when you consider that Easter (a peak season for tourists) fell in March of 2016!

Jewellery Thieves Caught

Five Jewellery Thieves were arrested at Tenerife North and Gran Canaria Airports following a spate of pickpocketing in Puerto Rico in Gran Canaria. The foreign gang, which consisted of three men and two women, would travel from province to province pick-pocketing jewellery. The women would distract elderly victims with an Abrazo cariñoso (affectionate embrace), and steal their watches and jewellery. The recovered items have been returned to their owners.

Tellurium Find

Fears were stoked earlier this month by the revelation of a Tellurium find (a type of metal) at the Tropic Seamount, located some 500km to the south of the Canary Islands. The prospect of deep-sea drilling for oil by Repsol or underwater mining is deeply unpopular amongst Canary Islanders, who fear the possibility of an environmental disaster similar to the one caused by the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. However, fears may by greatly exaggerated, and this article questions whether there would ever be any economic value in the find, and pokes quite a few holes into the BBC’s reporting of the story.

Immigrants Rescued

28 immigrants in an open boat were rescued by Salvamento Maritimo some 63 miles south of Gran Canaria on the 19th of April. The immigrants, of North African origin, had left Dakhla in the Western Sahara on the 17th and were found following an aerial search by the Spanish Authorities.

Norwegian to launch Transatlantic Flights from Gran Canaria

Fast-growing airline, Norwegian, plans to begin transatlantic flights from Gran Canaria to Boa Vista, Fortaleza, Natal and Recife in Brazil as well as Isla de Margarita, Barbados, Martinica, Guadalupe, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Florida, Boston and New York. The new 737-MAX aircraft currently being delivered to Norwegian bring transatlantic flights into the range of Narrow-bodied Medium-range Jets and the the routes would complement Norwegians Cruise business and expansion into the South American market.

Court overturns parts of Tourist Letting Law

The Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Canarias (TSJC) has overturned several parts of the legislation governing Holiday Letting in the Canary Islands. The court rejected the rules preventing holiday letting in tourist zones stating that the only explanation for that regulation was to favour established hotels and that it endangered free market competition. The court also rejected the prohibition of Bed and Breakfast. The ruling questioned the principle of separation of Tourist and Residential zones currently being pursued by Canary Islands’ Government, stating that not only is this purely aspirational, but also very far from reality.
The ruling is still subject to appeal.

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