Junta urgently takes back control of Marbella's La Bajadilla port

A council employee emptying bins in the port this week.
A council employee emptying bins in the port this week. / J-Lanza
  • Regional government steps in for Sheikh Al-Thani after complaints about marina's poor condition, even though an appeal court decision on its future is still pending

The Junta de Andalucía's port authority has stepped in and taken over the running of Marbella's La Bajadilla port.

The marina, to the east of the old town, has been at the centre of a dispute between the company holding the operating licence, Nas Marbella, and local authorities.

Nas Marbella is headed by Sheikh Al-Thani, who also owns Malaga football club and won the contract to run and expand the port in 2011. However since then the planned rebuilding hasn't materialised and there have been increasing complaints about the poor upkeep and lack of management. The rent for the port also hasn't been paid in full to the Junta de Andalucía since 2015.

Last year the Junta secured a court order to cancel the Nas Marbella contract, but this decision is awaiting a judge's final ruling after it was appealed. In the meantime, the Junta has decided it cannot wait any longer and has informed the court that it has "had to step in" to guarantee the basic maintenance and operation of La Bajadilla.

The move was supported by mayor of Marbella, José Bernal, due to "the lack of services being offered". Marbella council is keen to see the port expanded to encourage economic growth in the town. Once the appeal decision is made, the Junta plans to put the contract for development out to tender again.

La Bajadilla port currently has 270 berths and is home to Marbella's fishing fleet.