SETUR MARINAS CUT THEIR CUSTOMERS ADRIFT ON THE SEA OF ANONYMITY
Setur Marinas is a large company which owns a string of marinas around the beautiful coast of Turkey. Many yachtsmen and women from various nations over-winter in a Setur marina, indeed some base themselves in a Setur marina year round, a not inexpensive commitment. Until a few days ago Setur Marinas offered their customers WiFi internet connection within the mooring fee, in common it must be said with many other Mediterranean marinas. It certainly influenced my choice when it came to choosing a marina to over winter in this season (2008/2009).
The internet not only allows me to keep abreast of news and politics in my own language and research the novel I’m working on, but it also enables me to stay in touch with family, friends, my bank and the agents who rent out my house so I can live. Of course there are internet cafe’s, or one can use a bar ,or restaurant with an internet service, but there’s always a cost in effect and it’s not like having the service available in your home whenever you need it.
A few days ago all the internet WiFi points in the marina were simply switched off. No one politely came around ahead of time and said, ‘sorry, but we need to shut down for maintenance’ or the like, ‘so if you need to send anything urgent, perhaps you should do it now’. No the internet simply shut down and left us out of contact. Nobody came around after the event either and so the rumour mill swung into action, it was even suggested a visit from President Obama was on the cards after the G20 summit and it was all to do with security!
Eventually, what I now believe to be the truth came to light. The general manager of all Setur Marinas had been told by a lawyer that if anyone illegally downloaded music, or other copyright material the marina could be liable. Of course there is no history of such an event, even if this is the whole truth, however, he then sent a message to the managers of each marina ordering them to close down internet access, which is why I and all the other foreigners living aboard their boats here and in other Setur marinas have been cast adrift on the sea of anonymity.
I haven’t studied the small print of my contract but certainly from a moral standpoint, having offered internet access before I came here, they are in breach of contract. Whether that would stand up under Turkish law I do not know and I don’t have the time or money to find out. Maybe someone else does. A protest petition is in preparation.
I’m told that a whole raft of new regulations have also been introduced recently by the marina management concerning the use by boat owners of outside contractors and other things, I wasn’t at that meeting, but I do know the lift out prices advertised before mooring here suddenly went up, even for some people who’d already booked a lift out. So, what I would say is this. If you’re thinking of using a Setur marina, now or in the near future, think carefully about it and check what you‘re signing up to, especially if affordable communication with the outside world is important to you. Otherwise anonymity beckons. Please pass this information on to any yachtsmen and women, boat owners and live-aboards you may know. I’ll be posting it on-line courtesy of a nearby restaurant.