Illegal Marina Blooming in Lučice Bay on Brač Island

By 23 August 2017

There's been a lot of talk about the issue of concessions lately, but there's another type of territory usurpation we're not talking enough about. The greatest disorder and damage to public property is actually created by anchorages, areas convenient for mooring that get exploited for profit.

There are 86 anchorage locations under concession in the Croatian part of the Adriatic, but that is definitely not the final number, as there is currently a lot of illegal mooring going on. One of the best examples of this can be found in Milna on Brač island, where an illegal operation is blooming in one of the most beautiful bays on the Adriatic, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on August 23, 2017. Even though the whole thing is out in the open and the locals have reported it to competent institutions on multiple occasions, neither the County not the Ministry of Maritime Affairs have done anything to stop it so far.

President of the Municipal Council of Milna Katica Buzolić stated the Lučice bay has been devastated beyond the limits of the local port, turning from an anchorage to a major illegal marina. The Municipal Council contacted the County and the ministry, demanding to get insight into the contracts for all concessions over maritime property in Milna municipality, as they have been witness to maritime property getting exploited without or beyond concession contracts. According to Buzolić, there are more than 60 berths and an entire pier illegally operating in the bay, as it has been established they are not an integral part of the valid concession contract. It's not publicly known who the concessionaire is, and no information is available about the size of the area under concession.

The development plan of Milna municipality entails an anchorage located 100 metres away from the shore, and the boats are currently mooring only 10 metres away from the beach that's considered a part of the tourist zone. The maximum number of berths is officially set at 20, but at this moment, the bay houses four times that amount.

Zoran Buzolić, the president of the Association 'Eko-etno Milna', stated that mooring is charged illegally at 70 berths, without receipts. "At the beginning of the season, the Lemešić family illegally installed more than 40 new berths, and there are already the anchorage of Šime Kovačić's business and the anchorage of the company 'Areta'. There's also one illegal pier measuring over 30 metres in length whose owner's identity is unknown, but boats are charged for berthing on the regular", he said.

Even though there's more than two months left before the end of the nautical season, judging by the state of affairs, no reaction from competent institutions is to be expected at this time. The Split-Dalmatia County doesn't even try to cover the fact there's a chaotic situation going on in the 17 registered anchorages, as the problem lies in the absence of effective supervision over concessions. This only further opens the door for illegal amassing of profit at the expense of local residents, the municipal budget, and most importantly, maritime property.

Head of the county department for tourism and maritime affairs Stipe Čogelja said there is an urgent need to form a special inspection department or expand the capacities of the Port Authority. The official supervision is a complex procedure to organise, as each inspection needs to be carried out by representatives of three different institutions – finding a slot in their schedules so all of them can go out in the field together seems to be impossible.

Expert evaluations show that one berth at a desirable location results in a monthly profit of 20.000 kuna (a little under 3.000 euro), and the average anchorage disposes with around 50 berths. When you do the math, whoever operates the illegal marina can end up with a staggering amount of 1 million kuna per season; operating expenses don't surpass a total of 300.000 kuna, leaving the business owner with a hefty sum.

Starting in October, the Split-Dalmatia County is preparing certain new regulations in order to stop illegal berth business. They are done waiting for the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, as they haven't reacted in more than eight months. Alas, even if something gets done in the near future, Milna is still facing at least two months of lucrative illegal business in the local anchorage.


Translation of excerpts from Slobodna Dalmacija.