Arguineguín’s annual highlight event, the traditional maritime procession of the Virgin del Carmen, was unexpectedly cut short this Sunday, returning to the Port of Arguineguín, without ever having arrived in Puerto de Mogán, after the Guardia Civil warned four fishing boats that they faced fines if they set out to open sea.
According to sources these four fishing boats were carrying double the number of people allowed to be on board, and so were advised that they could not safely set sail. The Guardia Civil warned them that it was their choice, but that they would be fined if they embarked carrying too many people.
It appears that once the other fishermen realised that their colleagues, who have for many years always accompanied the statue of the virgin in their procession, were not going to be allowed to join in without facing fines, the rest of boats returned to the port in solidarity with their stubborn brothers.
The Mogán town hall had requested the support of the Capitanía Marítima Civil Guard to help ensure compliance with regulations. The lead boat carrying the figure of the Virgin del Carmen left the Port of Arguineguín at 12.00 midday only to return by 13.00.
Although a short procession did occur, the usual tradition was not fulfilled, as the revered statue did not arrive in the Port of Mogán having turned around upon reaching El Pajar, in San Bartolomé de Tirajana and then being returned to the port.
The Ayuntamiento de Mogán have said in a brief statement that the Maritime coast guard had warned some sailors that if they did not exceed the weight allowed they could leave the port without any concerns. Those who were affected said that this is the first time something like this has happened.
Mayor, Onalia Bueno, tried to mediate between the authorities and the local sailors without results, pointing out that it is not the town hall who have competence in such matters as maritime regulation and promising to meet with the seamen and the Capitanía Marítima so that nothing similar happens again, before the planned second procession of July 30.
Certainly an embarrassing and unfortunate situation, with the Guardia Civil advising to the best of their ability based on regulations, and local fishermen arguing that they have always done it this way.
One thing is clear, however, this event has become something more than just a beautiful tradition in honour of revered religious icon. It has to a large extent become a huge free for all party with overcrowded boats and a lot of alcohol involved.
There is a big difference between a fishing boat carrying tons of fish and being overcrowded with drunk revelers.
If something terrible were to actually happen and people lost their lives, who would get the blame? It is hard to say who is more right, the traditional fisherman, or the Guardia Civil trying to keep every one safe, but it seems obvious to many that the event has run a risk in recent years and it seems that risk needs to be dealt with, before someone gets really hurt.
The famous annual Maritime Procession celebrating the Fiestas for the Virgen del Carmen, between Arguineguín and Puerto de Mogán, was cut short this year after disagreements about safety between the Maritime Guardia Civil and the fishermen and sailors of Arguineguin who every year accompany the revered statue on the annual procession to neighbouring Puerto de Mogán.
Posted by TheCanary.TV on Sunday, July 16, 2017