Cabopino marina is slowly silting up as bureaucracy delays new managers

The sandy spit is growing and covering the port’s mouth.
The sandy spit is growing and covering the port’s mouth. / Josele-Lanza
  • A group of business owners wants to take over the facility but the tendering process isn’t ready yet and they can only do urgent repairs

According to calculations, some 12,000 cubic metres of sand needs to be removed from the mouth of Cabopino marina. There is currently only 70 centimetres of clearance in the water for vessels that enter this leisure port of 179 berths at the eastern end of Marbella municipality. On bad days, there is as little as 40 centimetres to spare and it is getting worse.

It’s now two years since the marina was properly dredged when it last closed over. This was a temporary measure, as the 40-year-long concession to run the port granted by the Junta de Andalucía to a Danish man was expiring. Without a clear idea of who will run the port in the future, nobody is prepared to invest the estimated 60,000 euros needed to pay for a proper dredging this time.

While the wheels of bureaucracy slowly turn, a group of local business people have got together and taken control of the old Marina de Cabopino company to keep the port moving. They only have permission to carry out basic maintenance and emergency repairs, although they aim to take over the running of the port on a long-term basis when a new concession is finally granted after being put out to tender by the Junta.

In October last year they presented their long-term plan, promising an investment of five million euros to revamp and relaunch the port. However, as yet, the tendering process, a legal requirement, has not begun.

Therefore, sand from adjacent Cabopino beach still drifts on to the spit at the port’s mouth. Marina de Cabopino has accused Marbella town hall of adding sand to that beach and so making the spit grow faster, which the council has denied. Also this year, sand wasn’t removed from the beach to top up other local beaches, the company says. And so, little by little, Cabopino is closing up again.