‘Tweetie Pie’ ship finally leaves Barcelona’s port

Moby Dada ferry used to house Spanish police returns to Italy with “much reduced contingent” of officers to stay until after Dec 21 election

The 'Tweetie Pie' ship leaving Barcelona port (by ACN)
The 'Tweetie Pie' ship leaving Barcelona port (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

November 16, 2017 06:56 PM

There have been very few reasons to smile during the political crisis of the past few weeks, but one of them was the ship decorated with children’s cartoon characters sent to house Spanish police in Barcelona’s port.

However, on Thursday morning, Moby Dada, the ferry bearing a huge image of Tweetie Pie on its side that has been home to over a thousand Spanish police officers sent to Catalonia to prevent the referendum on October 1, left the port.

Almost an hour later, another ship, the GNV Azzurra, which had housed more officers in Tarragona’s port, arrived in Barcelona and docked in the space that the Moby Dada had left. The Tweetie Pie ship had finally left Barcelona and was on its way back to Italy.

The Moby Dada arrived in Barcelona on September 20, the same day as the Rhapsody, which has also housed Spanish police officers. The Rhapsody has permission to stay until Friday, although this deadline could be extended as on other occasions.

However, it was the Moby Dada that received the most media interest, due to its Warner Bros decorations. The ship quickly became a source of ridicule, especially when an unsuccessful attempt was made to cover up the cartoon figures with tarpaulins.

Tweetie Pie, symbol of defiance

What’s more, the figure of Tweetie Pie became a symbol of defiance in pro-independence demonstrations, while police unions criticized the use of ferries to house police officers and went on to report the conditions on the Moby Dada in particular.

The GNV Azzurra has applied for permission to remain in Barcelona until January 12. The ship left Tarragona around 8am, after a two-month stay that had been extended a number of times. Yet, the last deadline ran out on Wednesday, and the ship had to leave Tarragona.

Many of the Spanish police officers housed in the three Italian ferries have returned home, with more set to do so over the next few days. Other officers who were staying on the ships have been rehoused in hotels, with a much smaller number of police left on the ferries.

According to Spanish police sources, a “much reduced contingent” of police officers will remain in Catalonia in case they are called on to maintain public order. The same sources say that they are expected to stay until after the Catalan elections on December 21.