Benalmádena residents were greeted with an unusual sight on Friday afternoon after the inclement weather caused a floating industrial platform to wash up close to Benalnatura nudist beach.
The platform, 43 metres in length and 32 metres wide, was being towed from Cartagena towards Cadiz. However, the rough seas and gale-force winds saw the steel cables used for towing to break, and control of the structure to be lost.
The Portuguese towing boat reported needing assistance at 11.36am. Despite a number of boats being scrambled by Maritime Rescue to assist, none were able to steer the platform away, instead controlling its movements until it finally washed up on rocks in the cove at 2.18pm.
There was no crew aboard the platform at the time, which is carrying machinery used for installing concrete blocks in docks.
It has also been confirmed that it is carrying minimal fuel and it poses no risk to either human life or the environment.
A real scare
Miguel Nevado, owner of the beach’s only ‘chiringuito’, admitted that for several minutes he feared the worst - that the platform was going to collide with his beach bar. “It would have been terrible,” he said.
At the same time, workers at the nearby Puerto Marina were anxious after being warned that a collision there was a possibility.
Mayor of Benalmádena, Víctor Navas, said that he hoped that the structure would be removed “as soon as possible to avoid any damage to the town’s image”.
However, the presence of a twenty-metre-tall structure in the small nudist cove naturally caused a huge commotion in the local area, with hundreds flocking to the beach to witness it first hand, despite initial uncertainty as to whether it was a threat to public safety.
Quickly, more than 20 media outlets, (some of which were international), were present at the scene and the incident captured the imagination of those on social media, with the town becoming a trending topic on Twitter and the platform the subject of several memes.
Despite a cordon on the surrounding area, onlookers continue to defy the authorities, as well as “no photos” and “nudists only” signs, to catch a closer look.
On Sunday morning, one man, equipped with a selfie stick, mounted the platform and climbed one of its towers to take a photo of himself. If identified, the man faces a fine.
This incident intensified calls for greater controls to keep onlookers at bay while solutions are found.
The platform is expected to be removed next week.