Disturbing Scene in Silba: Agressive Action by Local

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Screenshot Facebook
by tash,

On 31st July 2017, an Italian tourist sailing in Croatia published a shocking video to Facebook, showing a local taking aggressive action towards them in Silba.

Enrico Cossutta, an Italian tourist, was recently sailing the Adriatic on his 10-metre yacht when he encountered aggressive actions towards his boat while on anchor. Enrico posted this video to a Facebook group which is for Italian sailors wanting to know more about the Mediterranean and information on harbours and berths. The group has more than 3,000 members, and this video received more than a hundred comments and over a thousand likes (or dislikes so to speak).

Index caught up with him to get his story.

Enrico was on Silba at the time, which is an island in Northern Dalmatia, just south-east of Lošinj. He claims that a 40-year-old local wanted to charge him for mooring, even though he was in an area where paying a fee wasn’t required.

At the beginning of the video, you can hear the local cursing in Croatian, Cossutta says something along the lines of “he’s crazy… we’re going to crash into another boat…” the woman replies “not for €20” – probably the amount he wanted to charge for mooring. The woman starts yelling “call the police”, and you can hear the daughter crying in the background as the man keeps trying to pull up their anchor, crashing into their boat as he does so.

Overall, a rather disturbing scene to be a part of or witness.

In a statement to Index, the Italian tourist said: “We arrived around 6 pm, the port was full, just like all the anchorages. We sailed 200 metres further south, where there were two boats moored. 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 a 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.”

Enrico told Index he has been sailing for the last 20 years “I love Dalmatia and Dalmatians. This situation will not stop me from coming here again. This guy is well-known, he wasn’t here last year, I’ve heard his concession contract was cancelled, but this year he is back. They should ban him for life.”

Index reached out to the head of the Port Authority in Silba who claimed not to know anything, the Port Authority in Zadar directed them to the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, who also claimed to know nothing and that no one has come forward to press charges.

I just watched this video tonight and was disturbed by these actions. However, I was pleased to see in the Italian sailing group that while some jumped to curse Croatians and the region, the majority offered logical reasoning, one comment read:

“I’m proud to have sailed hundreds of miles with my boat… I love Croatia, and rotten apples are everywhere. Luckily, police and captaincy do their duty.”

On the flipside, in a Facebook group here in Croatia, some were quick to condemn the Italians, saying they were probably in the wrong and Italians are notoriously bad seamen… While again, thankfully, the majority took the view that regardless of the full story, these actions were way out of line.

My husband has been at sea for more than fifteen years, and I was at sea for five years, we saw a lot of stupidity in that time – by locals and foreigners. We watched people anchor in the wrong areas or lose control in storms out of inexperience, we also fished out whole garbage bags from the sea, knowing exactly where they came from, but unable to do anything due to lack of proof. My husband has offered assistance, advice or a firm word if needed, but never, would he deem it appropriate to take such aggressive action.

Two days ago, I witnessed someone coming too close to shore at speed with their tender while there were people swimming nearby, what did the locals do? They asked him twice to slow down, when he didn’t listen, they approached the driver to speak, when he was still unapologetic, they took a photo of his tender, his yacht and reported him to the local authorities. THIS, is how you deal with wrongdoings. There is never an excuse for such aggression or taking the law into your own hands.

To any foreign sailors looking to sail in Croatia, please know that this incident is not a norm, just as anywhere in the world, a true seaman has respect for the sea and rules. On a side note – familiarize yourself with the law and anchorages, be sure you are in the right, if anything like this happens, report it to local authority so it can’t happen again.

Watch the full video or read Index’ article here.

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