Croatia Full of Life: Attack a Foreign Sailor, Pay a €20 Fine One Year Later
A concessionaire from Silba island accused of harassing an Italian family after they refused to pay a fee for mooring was found guilty – and served a hefty fine of some 20 euro
In July 2017, an Italian tourist named Enrico Cossutta was sailing the Adriatic on his yacht, accompanied by his wife and daughter. As he was about to moor on the coast of Silba island, he was attacked by a 40-year-old local, a concessionaire of an anchorage near the local port. The man first attempted to charge him for mooring, even though the area where Cossutta wanted to anchor in wasn’t subject to mooring fees. When the tourists refused to pay, the local got aggressive, verbally assaulting the newcomers, cursing and trying to pull up their anchor.
Cossutta caught the entire encounter on video, later publishing the footage of the incident in a Facebook group for Italian sailors in search of information on harbours and berths on the Adriatic. You can hear the local cussing in Croatian and harassing the tourists in the video below:
As we reported back in August, Cossutta gave the following statement to Index: “We arrived around 6 pm, the port was full, just like all the anchorages. We sailed 200 metres further south; two other boats were moored nearby. This man, after he collected money at the anchorage, came to talk to us around 7.45 pm. He demanded we pay half of what’s usually charged for mooring if we wanted to stay, but I refused to pay because I was certain this area was free to anchor in. You can see his reaction to this in the video.
The morning after, I showed the video to another captain in Silba, he asked me if there were any damages to my boat and apologised. He confirmed I was in a free area and suggest I report everything to the police, so I went to the police station in Silba and showed them the video. They apologised as well and convinced me they would go and talk to this man.”
He was advised to report the incident to the local authorities, and it only took nine months for the case to get resolved. As Morski reported on April 6, 2018, the local in question plead guilty for verbal assault at the Criminal Court in Zadar and was subsequently ordered to pay a fine… of 187,50 kuna. If he decides to make the payment in the following 30 days, he’ll be allowed to only pay two thirds of the fine – some 123 kuna, an amount lower than the one he initially tried to charge the Italian sailor.
The culprit made his case in court, claiming he only reacted in such a manner because he had been provoked by the foreign visitors. On the day of the incident, he said, he was collecting mooring fees at the anchorage on Silba. He had supposedly allowed the Italians to anchor in the bay, but soon realised they weren’t planning to pay for mooring at what he claimed was an area under concession.
And then the plot thickens: a storm was approaching at the time of their encounter, and he noticed the tourists had moored in a way that might have caused damage to the neighbouring anchored boats. He only approached their yacht to warn them of potential danger, but they provoked him in return – it’s them who should objectively be blamed for the act he was charged with, he said, adding he’s not an aggressive person and only reacted in such a way because he was forced to. He informed the police and the Port Authority of the entire course of events, but they supposedly failed to intervene in time.
We reached out to Mr Cossutta back in August for a comment of this unfortunate situation and his impressions of Croatia. He didn’t have a single negative thing to say about the country or the locals in general, only advising people to take care of the sea and to be respectful of other sailors. Quite gracious on his part, considering he and his family were left with some bitter memories of their holiday in Croatia.
What might have started as a misunderstanding based on a language barrier – and probably the concession holder looking to score some extra cash for the day – quickly got out of hand. Based on events seen in the video, we’ll leave it to you to decide whether some 20 euro make for a decent enough punishment for the kind of behaviour on display. We’ll just use this occasion to again advise you – make sure to keep track of local regulations wherever you’re headed to, don’t react if you’re not sure whether you’re in the right, and contact the local authorities if you end up having an unpleasant exchange like the one above.