06/06/2012 Lanzarote (BG) - The Fishermen’s Association of Puetro del Carmen, along with the Recreational Fishing club, has demanded the retention of the Emerlan rescue boat service. The future of the boat is in doubt after the Gobierno de Canarias (Government of the Canary Islands) announced they are to cut the annual grant allocated to the organization.
Francisco Rodriguez, el patrón Mayor of the Fisherman’s Association of Puerto del Carmen, and Rafael Lemes, President of the Recreational Fishing Club travelled to the pier of Puerto del Carmen on Monday, to support Emerlan volunteers in their protests and demand the rescue boat service be continued.
Rodriguez highlighted the importance of the service stating “It is nearby, efficient and very fast” and “The wait for the other rescue boat, Salvamar, from Arrecife is too long and so, we must defend this service because it covers only the southern part of the island”
Indeed, both Rodriguez and Lemes were quick to point out only last week the Emerlan boat rescued a man from the sea, near the base of the cliffs in Puerto del Carmen, and possibly saved his life. “Thanks to the unique features of the Emerlan boat rescuers were able to reach the man within a number of minutes. If he had to wait for a boat from Arrecife the man might not have been so lucky” Lemes warned.
Rodriguez also pointed out that the Emerlan vessel is the “only vessel” that can reach a victim close to the shoreline or in rocky areas near cliffs, “ ’Salvamar’ cannot get to the rocks or the beach while ‘Emerlan’ can” he claimed. Lemes went on to add that, “we cannot forget Lanzarote is a tourist island where the beaches need to have this service and the rapid response time of rescue workers”.
Emerlan spokesman Jony Pérez told, that in previous years the Gobierno de Canarias granted a subsidy of €30,000 a year to maintain the vessel and the four volunteers who work with it. The grant then decreased to €18,000 and is now set to be cut completely. Pérez claimed “It will not be subsidized by the Government because of the cuts, this year we have been told there is zero money and without money it is physically impossible to keep the boat”.
Pérez went on to add that the organization have “played all their cards” andhave spoken with all the relevant bodies in an effort to reverse the decision to cut the grant. However, he believes that there will be no solution and that, ultimately, the rescue boat service will disappear. “It’s a shame, because it provides a very useful service, it’s the last thing they should cut, we are very concerned because it covers the entire southern part of Lanzarote”.