A week after it ran aground about 400 meters off the coast of La Manga, while searching for remains of the plane piloted by Commander Francisco Marín, who died when he crashed into the sea, the Naval Minesweeper ‘Turia’ was finally towed to the port of Cartagena, where it arrived shortly before midnight on Tuesday.

The Maritime Rescue ship ‘Mastelero’ was responsible for moving the vessel, following the installation of a system of external and internal floats by divers from both the Navy and from the specialised company Ardentia Marine, which finished at around three o’clock in the afternoon.

The ship was initially pulled off the rock formation that has been its berth for the last seven days before being towed at a reduced speed by the ‘Mastelero’, which was accompanied by the patrol boat ‘Infanta Cristina’.

The ‘Turia’ entered the Catragena Naval facilities late on Tuesday night, where it will now be inspected, prior to repairs being carried out to approximately ten metres of the damaged hull yhat caused the flooding of several compartments.

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The ship lost two buoys during the crossing, which forced the journey to Cartagena to be delayed.

The Navy made the first attempt to refloat the vessel on Monday morning, but due to the rough seas, the work was delayed to the following day.

The final decision to move the Turia was taken by technicians from the Spanish-Dutch firm in charge of the operation on Tuesday at noon, but the journey was not without setbacks. As the ship travelled around the Islas Hormigas, two of the floats disengaged. That delayed the journey while the problems were resolved after which it continue without further difficulties to the port.

It is planned that the funeral of Commander Francisco Marín, pilot and instructor of the General Air Academy (AGA), will be held tomorrow, Thursday, in the strictest privacy.

Many tributes have been paid to the pilot since the fatal accident, with his colleagues at the Academy saying that he will always been remembered. Residents of La Manga have placed a memorial in his honour at kilometre 4, in the Galua, where the incident occurred and Atlético de Madrid held a minute’s in his memory with the players wearing black armands at their last game.

Meanwhile, a group of people have launched a request on the change.org platform for Corvera airport to be renamed ‘Comandante Francisco Marín’.



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