A seven-year-old girl has lost her life at Potami beach in Himara after a man driving a boat lost control and ploughed into her, killing her instantly.
Arjan Tase, a police commissioner, was driving a RIB-type boat that he had borrowed from a family member. A around 14:00, he lost control of the vessel while doing a spin, despite having a boating license. He hit the child who died at the scene from her injuries.
He was arrested and taken into custody for questioning.
Police chief Gledis Nano then dismissed the entire chain of command of the Local Directorate for Border and Migration in Vlora, as they are responsible for preventing incidents with vessels in the coastal area. Nano dismissed a total of 15 people and set up a special group including specialists in migration, public security, and professional standards to work to prevent incidents with vessels.
In a statement, the police said that Nano would “not to tolerate any police officer, leader or enforcer, who does not rigorously and honestly implement functional duties, in the interest of protecting the lives of citizens.”
It has been reported that vessels and pleasure boats have been allowed to move in the coastal areas without necessary documentation with the full knowledge of authorities. In addition, citizens have denounced cases where such boats are being used without the right documents and without staying the required 300 metres from the beach.
This is the third time this summer that people have been injured by boats on the Albanian coast. In July, a couple were hit by a RIB when relaxing on the beach in Jale, with both requiring hospitalisation. Two days later, a seven-year-old child was hit by another RIB and required emergency care in the hospital.
But these incidents follow a well-established pattern over the last few years. In 2016, a Russian citizen was found shredded by the propellers of a boat motor. In 2020, a 17-year-old girl died after falling off a jet ski.
This summer season, police said they were carrying out checks on vessels, and 25 were fined for carrying out dangerous manoeuvres in prohibited areas.
The tragedy comes after 11 people died while swimming in Albanian waters this summer. The most recent was 18-year-old Anri Kahsniku, who died while saving two other people.
Most of the country has no lifeguards and a minimal number of supervisors. This has been an issue for several years. In 2014, the National Coastal Agency trained 41 sports students as certified lifeguards, but they were never deployed.
As per a Council of Minister’s decision, every entity that has permission to use a beach area must provide a lifeguard and watchtower, which is not enforced.