Majorca fights for full noise control over party boats and all its coastline

The Balearic island looks to overcome a legal vacuum that allows most cruise ships and party boats blasting earsplitting music off its coastline to get away it.

Majorca fights for full noise control over party boats and all its coastline
Photo: AFP

Més per Mallorca, a left-leaning political coalition on the island, wants clearly established decibel limits for rowdy party boats, cruise ships and any other source of excessive noise along Majorca's coastline. 

Authorities on Majorca and neighbouring Ibiza have already tried to clamp down on the trend of thumping loudspeakers at sea disturbing residents and tourists alike.

In fact, Spain’s Civil Guard, the port authority and agents belonging to the Majorca environmentalist agency Ibanat all have the authority to denounce and fine rowdy offenders.

But the current legislation means they’re only allowed to hand out penalties to vessels (including cruise ships) that are anchored off the coast of protected areas or in waters that fall under the jurisdiction of Majorca’s port authority.

That gives ample room for organisers of these alcohol-fuelled boat tours to set sail and continue blasting ear-splitting party music off the largely urbanized coast of Majorca.

Photo: Click Mallorca/Flickr

It leaves Majorca residents in a “helpless situation”, deputy Joana Aina Campomar told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.

“We are a community with many kilometres of coastline, 910 to be precise. We must be able to protect it.”

The ban Campomar’s political coalition proposes includes a decibel threshold for the whole of Majorca’s coastline and even controls over the type of music played on boats. That means all anchored vessels playing loud music would be scrutinized. 

“Sometimes the noise disturbances come from parties taking place on private boats or residences along the coastline and police can only access the site by boat,” she said.

MÉS per Mallorca wants councils throughout the whole island to join together to draw up a 'protocol' to control noise levels on all boats.

Photo: Daniel Spiess/Flickr

Noise pollution is a serious problem for the island’s roughly 900,000 residents, especially when Majorca receives two million tourists during the summer period.

A 2017 study presented at the Balearic parliament found that 93 percent of residents of the capital Palma were exposed to excessive noise pollution levels.

On Tuesday, a group of Palma residents from the neighborhoods of Porto Pi, La Bonanova and El Terreno came together to create a platform to try to find solutions to the noise caused by noisy parties on nearby cruises ships (rather than the smaller party boats), as well as boat engines and lorries loading cargo on and off ships.

The group told Cadena Ser that the noise pollution levels are so high that one neighbour is suffering from acoustic trauma.


Mallorca closes bars in crack down on hard-drinking tourists

Regional authorities on Spain's Balearic island of Mallorca on Wednesday ordered the immediate closure of bars on three streets popular with hard drinking tourists to limit the potential for coronavirus outbreaks.

Mallorca closes bars in crack down on hard-drinking tourists

Concerned many tourists are not respecting social distancing guidelines, authorities elected to close the venues on the Platja de Palma strip in the capital Palma and Magaluf, a favoured haunt with young booze-fuelled Britons.

One of Europe's hardest-hit nations with almost 30,000 deaths, Spain last month exited one of the globe's toughest virus lockdowns.

But as the summer season starts to take off authorities on the island feared matters could get out of hand unless they took tough action.

Earlier this week, Germany's health minister had expressed concern after hundreds of German tourists were seen partying on the island without masks or keeping a safe distance, fuelling fears of another coronavirus wave.

Local media on the Spanish island voiced outrage after video footage showed mainly German holidaymakers carousing outside bars and terraces on Friday evening, leading the German-language Mallorca Zeitung to note “it was as if no one had ever heard of the corona pandemic”.

The regional government last week had already announced hefty fines for those caught organising illegal parties or flouting rules on social distancing and face masks.

“We do not want uncivil tourists on our islands,” said regional tourism minister Iago Negueruela.

Negueruela warned that if the tourists simply took their boorish behaviour elsewhere then the crackdown would simply be widened.

Authorities in the Balearic Islands off Spain's eastern coast say they need to protect public health even as summer tourism, on which some 200,000 local jobs depend, begins to ramp up.