City of Šibenik to Connect Islands With Mainland by Eco Ferry Transport System

By 2 September 2017

The City of Šibenik has been working on a praiseworthy project for some time now: UrbEco, aiming to connect all the islands in the Šibenik archipelago with an intermodal urban eco transport system.

Krešimir Kovač and Miroslav Petrović, representatives of the City of Šibenik in charge of EU projects, presented the UrbEco project to the residents of Zlarin island on August 30, reports Pokret otoka. Mr. Kovač started his presentation by explaining how much the City of Šibenik cares about informing island residents about this project, as it's about to positively affect the island population and the long-term settlement of Croatian islands. "We are more than aware of all the problems people living on the islands are facing, and we wish for transport to be available to you all day long throughout the year", he said.

The City of Šibenik launched the UrbEco project in 2013, researching the global sea shipping market and coming up with solutions that could be applied on the islands in the archipelago. The main goal is to secure the same conditions for further development of the islands that are currently available on the mainland. For example, it's unacceptable that people can't travel to Žirje and back in the same day, not to mention other basic services that are currently not available to people living on the islands. As they developed the project, they collaborated with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, the Port Authority, the Agency for Maritime Transport and all other interested parties.

Problems detected in the process of project development include bad transport connections with the mainland, the outdated fleet, and frequent cases of ships not sailing out due to poor weather conditions. However, the UrbEco project represents a welcome solution. The sole fact that UrbEco has been in planning since 2013, while the first new ships won't be sailing out before 2021, bears witness to the gravity of this project. The European Union has already been introduced to UrbEco and is currently waiting for the detailed project documentation required to procure the funding.

The project aims to work out the remaining technical details and set in motion the process of procurement of 4 ships and 1 ferry in the next 4 years. The ships are supposed to carry 120 passengers, while the ferry is expected to carry 200 passengers and 25 vehicles; all the vessels should be able to operate in all possible weather conditions. New lines would be introduced from early morning hours to late night hours; fuel expenses would be decreased by adopting more sustainable and ecologically acceptable systems.

In four years, people living on islands in the Šibenik archipelago might finally see an effective transport system with lines departing every hour, hour and a half at most. Island residents have every right to be sceptical, as they have heard more than enough promises of their living conditions getting improved, and they're yet to see them come to life. However, no matter how wary and disappointed they might be, it's still good to believe there are people out there who care about positive change and are ready to work towards a better future. The City of Šibenik is facing 4 challenging years of working on UrbEco, and the island residents can look forward to new shipping lines getting introduced in near future.