Local Police in Torrevieja have taken steps to clear swimmers away from the Poniente lighthouse at the end of the ‘salt pier’ to stop young people jumping into the sea. On Friday last, officers cleared the area of around 30 youngsters who were at the dock at the end of the pier, enjoying the high jump into the sea. This area is supposed to be closed to the public and swimming here is not allowed due to the dangerous conditions. However, it is often used by thrillseekers who use the high platforms to jump into the sea below. Members of the public have managed illicit access to the jumping point since 2015 when works on the promenade began but were never finished.
Officials are concerned for the safety of swimmers, given that the people jumping into the sea from a great height and that they do so very near the entrance to the port – an area used by both commercial and recreational vessels. The pier itself forms part of an industrial are used for the transport of salt and water to and from Torrevieja’s desalination plant.
The promenade was supposed to have been constructed by Acuamed as ‘compensation’ to the town of Torrevieja for having to host the desalination plant. Works began in 2014 but were since stopped after arguments between the construction company and Acuamed. Only the final touches such as lighting, furniture and some other elements are needed to finish works, but the area has been fenced off since 2015.
The fences were erected at the start of the paseo between Playa Acequión and Los Náufragos. It is very common to see the lightweight fences lying on the ground as they are moved, not only by youngsters who want to jump into the water to swim, but also by residents and dog walkers who want to use the 700m pier as a promenade – despite the lack of safety railings and lack of separation between what would be the new pier and the potentially dangerous salt conveyor belt.
Torrevieja police officers have warned in a report to headquarters that access to the pier is open and uncontrolled. Torrevieja’s Councilor for Security, Federico Alarcón confirmed that the officers restored the fence and secured it with ties. Councillor Alarcón also confirmed that the town hall will contact the company in question to insist it adopts the necessary security measures to ensure that pedestrians and swimmers do not re-access the area.
In previous years during summer, Local Police have carried out patrols as part of their maritime surveillance in order to prevent people jumping off the so called ‘salt pier’. According to provincial newspaper Información, Acuamed has ignored the requests by the town hall to ensure safety measures (beyond flimsy provisional fencing) until works are resumed.