A TOTAL of 64 people have been arrested in the latest Guardia Civil coup, as a criminal gang who forged nautical documentation have been brought to justice.
Police were tipped off by a Malaga citizen, who relayed details about an individual offering tourists boat trips along different parts of the Costa del Sol and Costa Tropical, who had obtained a bogus captain’s licence in the North African enclave of Melilla.
Investigations led officers to a group of four men who were tampering with foreign nautical qualifications, particularly in the highest ‘yacht captain’ category, and forging the price and payment details, before advertising their services on various sailing websites.
Clients purchasing the doctored documents for €4,000 were thus able to commandeer boats of any length, and with the capacity for oceanic journeys, without the necessary practical experience, endangering the lives of hundreds of tourists and other passengers.
Other fake documents produced by the villains included permissions to sail tourist groups and certificates demonstrating that the crooked captains had passed certain written examinations, all of which derived from a nautical school in Melilla.
A total of 72 fudged licenses were issued during 2010 and 2011 alone, all of which were purchased by Spanish nationals living in the provinces of Pontevedra, Barcelona, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Badajoz, Avila, Alicante, Madrid, and Malaga, with 35 of those arrested being Costa del Sol residents.