Two Islands Cut Off from Mainland for Two Days, Residents Protest

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by Nikolina Demark,

Residents of Zlarin and Prvić islands near Šibenik were left without a ferry connection to the mainland for almost two days, without any explanation offered from the competent authorities

Remember the recent accident when Jadrolinija’s passenger ship Tijat collided with a cargo ship, causing the latter to sink? Turns out, the occasion had also seen some unexpected collateral damage, provoking a heated reaction from the population of islands Zlarin and Prvić who were left stranded as the Tijat line was temporarily suspended.

As the concession holder for the shipping line 505 (Zlarin – Prvić – Vodice), Jadrolinija is contractually obliged to introduce a replacement ship in such cases. However, the island residents weren’t provided a back-up option after the accident, neither on that same night nor the entire following day, getting completely cut off from the mainland. It was only two days later that Tijat started operating on its standard route once again, with the first departure set later than usual, at 9.30 in the morning, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on March 2, 2018.

Captain Goran Kursar from Prvić Šepurina was quick to react, sending a letter to State Secretary at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Maja Mrakovčić Kostelac, and to the Coastal Shipping Agency which supervises local shipping lines. The latter also received an inquiry from the president of the Local Council of Zlarin, Toni Biberica, who was interested to know why exactly Jadrolinija failed to deliver:

“I demanded an explanation as to why there was no replacement ship, but also asked why a notice hasn’t been sent to the island. People who are working in the city, students, retirees, all of them had their basic human rights taken away that morning. They were waiting at the waterfront without any information on what’s going on and how they should get to the city. Fortunately, a local came by and took them all to the mainland on his boat. Information is crucial as it allows people to organise, but this way – everyone was waiting, and no one was able to give them any kind of answer! That’s unacceptable”, said Biberica.

Neither him nor Kursar were satisfied with the answer they got from the State Secretary and the Agency, as both parties claimed they had provided a replacement in 24 hours. The State Secretary’s report said the replacement ship sent was Krilo-Jet which usually operates on a route to Žirje island, but was unable to dock at Prvić Šepurina owing to adverse weather conditions.

“According to the [concession] contract, Krilo-Jet isn’t a replacement for Tijat”, said Kursar. “Considering I’m a ship captain, I was embarrassed to watch Krilo-Jet approach, then turn around and leave, not even attempting to dock at Šepurina”, the captain said, adding the town has never before been cut off for a day and a half – not even during the worst of storms.

 

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