Scrapping Willow

Willow in Benalmadena Marina Photo: Wikimedia CC / Tiia Monto 

Benalmadena Town Hall has put out to tender the scrapping of the Mississippi paddle steamer ‘Willow’, which has remained semi-sunken in the Marina for almost 5 years after a storm damaged the structure and it was declared unrecoverable. The project has a budget of €90,000 euros and will take 4 months.

The paddle steamer Willow was built at the beginning of the 20th century, when the United States Lighthouse Service commissioned the construction of a paddle steamer for signalling duties on the Mississippi River.

The Willow was decommissioned on 1 March 1945 due to the high cost of repairs and was sold to an entrepreneur to be used as a hotel and floating restaurant. In 1970 the Willow was bought to be refitted as a floating lobster factory in Honduras. After the project failed and was never carried out, the ship was sold in 1972 to the British company Themes International.

The company that owned the ship went bankrupt in 1995 when it travelled to Benalmadena where it operated as a floating bar and restaurant until March 2019, when it was partially sunk following a storm, which caused the ship to be declared as “unrecoverable”, according to the Council.

Since then, the boat has remained semi-sunken in the marina of Benalmadena and has been the subject of various legal disputes between the owner of the Willow, the Port and Benalmadena Town Hall. The owner had originally claimed compensation of €13 million from the Town Hall and the court, rejecting this, initially awarded the claimant €400, 000. However, in 2023 this was reduced to just €4,000 with owner ordered to pay legal costs.

It seems that finally the boat will now be removed.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.