The reopening of the Portuguese-Spanish river passage between Algarve and the Autonomous Region of Andalusia joins the road connection re-established on 1 July, between Castro Marim and Ayamonte, through the International Bridge of Guadiana, which was also closed in March, except for merchandise transports and cross border workers.

The mayor of Vila Real de Santo António in a communiqué stated that trips are being made following a “Spring schedule, with the trips being made by a Portuguese and a Spanish boat.”

Francisco Santos, manager of the Company of Transports from Rio Guadiana told Lusa that the service was re-established on 10 July, but “just with Spanish boats, because the Portuguese ones were waiting for the renewal of the navigation certificate by the General-Directorate of Natural Resources, Security and Maritime Services.

The same source says that, between 1 to 10 July, despite the Portugal and Spain borders opening, the Spanish boats were not working because the “port was under repairs”.

The official explained that it was necessary for the Portuguese boat to “have an inspection by a certified company” by DGRM and wait for the “displacement of a team of divers, which does not exist in the Algarve, to check the hull conditions”, which led to the delay in the resumption of service by the Portuguese side.

The same source acknowledged that “it was difficult” to overcome this closing period, in which employees were on lay-off from April until the resumption of service, and hopes that normality can be resumed as soon as possible, safely.

“As there is still little movement, we will now operate only with one vessel operating each week. One week the service is guaranteed by the Spanish vessel, the other by the Portuguese. If there is a change, we can quickly review the situation”, he said, referring to the possibility of both operating simultaneously.