Monday, 6 February 2023

Great Success of Iskra Shipyard Croatia: Unsinkable Emergency Boat

February 6, 2023 - Great Success for Iskra Shipyard 1, where the handover tests confirmed a great success - they managed to build a flawless boat for emergency medical assistance.

As Poslovni writes, the first Croatian boat from the series contracted as early as 2021, produced as part of the Search and Rescue (SAR) project for emergency medical interventions at sea and on islands, passed extremely complex tests at the request of the Ministry of Health as the customer.

Intended for Dubrovnik

Built from aluminum alloys in ideal conditions, it reaches a maximum speed of almost 35 miles per hour. With a hull length of 15 meters, the boat can sail as the only means of transport in conditions where even helicopters cannot fly. It is practically unsinkable.

This is its main characteristic - when it capsizes, it stands up again, and not a drop of water enters the cabin, so it is equipped with modern medical equipment and forms the first and most important 'link' in the establishment of emergency maritime medical services in the Republic of Croatia. According to the latest information, it is intended for Dubrovnik.

The achievement brings multiple benefits for the builder Iskra Shipyard 1 in Šibenik, including references for new business on the international market. And the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Croatia, as the client, can count on, in addition to the delivery of the first boat announced by the end of the month, the orderly delivery of five more SAR boats of the same quality by the end of the year, confirms the Administration.

Thus, the people of Šibenik are building sophisticated boats at full steam as part of the project of establishing an emergency maritime medical service, which is co-financed by the EU. The work of building and equipping six emergency boats is worth around HRK 76.4 million, and it was jointly won by Iskra Shipyard 1 and Tehnomont from Pula as the best bidder.

The shipbuilder from Pula later withdrew under the pressure of the contract book, and the period from tendering to contracting stretched to about a year.

The Šibenik shipyard in the ownership portfolio of the Slovenian Iskra Shipyard is experiencing a revival on several grounds. Along with characteristic workboats for the Scandinavian market, it is constantly improving its business with new investments. Now it is confirming its competitiveness with the SAR project as an 'entrance' to the market of high-speed ships for civil and military purposes.

Iskra Shipyard's majority owner Dušan Šešok, as well as the directors - Aleš Ekar, who was in the cabin in the cockpit during the testing of the boat's resistance to a 180-degree side roll, and Roko Vuletić point to the new perspective that opens up.

"It was a very sophisticated ship for us and a big task that our engineers and employees did well, so a new page is being opened for our shipyard. Now we have a world reference with which we will go to tenders for such ships in the entire Mediterranean", Sešok, the majority owner of Iskra, told Poslovni dnevnik.

Tender for patrol boats

The premise for this is that the first boat platform produced applies to different projects because it is practically the same regardless of whether it is a harbor master ship, a medical ship, or for ecological research.

This is already shown in the current tender for seven high-speed patrol boats under the Ministry of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure jurisdiction since, according to Šešok, the offer of the Iskra Shipyard in Šibenik proved to be the most favourable.

A decision on the selection is expected soon, and the people of Šibenik will be interested in the tender announced in Slovenia for such a sophisticated ship as part of the activities of the marine biological station there.

The design for the boat was made by the Croatian branch of the American company Metal Shark, which is the world leader in the design of this type of vessel. They will be able to accommodate three crew members and nine people, and apart from emergencies, these boats will also be used for search and rescue at sea.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Brodosplit Launches ‘Ultramarine’, Signaling Switch to Specialized Vessels

May 16, 2020 — Brodosplit launched the polar expedition ship “Ultramarine”, a €106 million symbol of Croatian shipbuilding’s switch to sophisticated specialized vessels. The new niche within the industry is becoming the country’s largest export, according to government officials.

“All those who think Croatia does not need shipbuilding, this is the real counter to their argument,” Economics Minister Darko Horvat said at the launch.

The “Ultramarine” was the third ship funded by a state guarantee, a new means of keeping Croatia’s shipping industry afloat after the collapse of the Uljanik shipyard in Pula.

American company Quark Expeditions contracted the Split-based shipyard to build the vessel in 2018, with work starting last year.

“Brodosplit proves that shipbuilding in Croatia can be profitable,” Minister Horvat said. “On this ship, the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development has earned interest, the local community and the state budget has benefited, as well as other public services.”

Andrea Mutak, member of the Angels Association which cares for children with physical disabilities and developmental difficulties, served as the ship’s godmother.

The “Ultramarine”, 128 meters long and 21,5 meters wide, can hold up to 200 travelers and 140 crew members. Work is on schedule so far. Brodosplit expects the vessel completede and delivered by the end of the year.

The luxury cruise ship follows the Scenic Eclipse, another polar cruiser which the Uljanik shipyard completed last year.

Croatia’s Bank for Reconstruction and Development provided the loan for the “Ultramarine” in 2018, with the Croatian government providing state funds as collateral.

The financing model is a variant of the state-backed assistance that kept Croatia’s shipyards operating until new European Rules limiting government backing left the industry on the verge of bankruptcy. 

Now, the government finances individual projects instead of shipyards.

Brodosplit benefited from the model as it danced with insolvency. The shipyard received €150 million in guarantees, used to finance two vessels and paid back in full.

Quark Expeditions will add the “Ultramarine” to its fleet of specially equipped boats and icebreakers, which travel to remote locations not accessible by ordinary cruise ships.

The luxury vessel’s first voyage follows the footsteps of the Endurance crew’s Antarctic expedition, Ernest Shackleton’s tragic final trip.

Brodosplit remains one of the few shipyards left standing from the Adriatic’s once-dominant shipbuilding industry. It operates at a fraction of its intended capacity, while many of its former competitors along the Dalmatian coast slow down or shutter. Eighty percent of its work is now for foreign firms.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Brodosplit Delivers Polar Cruiser, Dutch Conclude Contract for New Vessel

As Novac/Drazen Grubisic writes on the 18th of May, 2019, Split's Brodosplit shipyard will build another new ship for its end buyer, Oceanwide Expeditions. The vessel will be designed specifically for polar areas with a delivery obligation set at October 2021. This information was recently confirmed to the Cruise Industry News portal in a short conversation with Wijnand van Gessel, the owner of the aforementioned Dutch company.

"We've had a good experience with the shipyard in Split, working with them as a partner," stressed Van Gessel for Slobodna Dalmacija.

The new ship will be Hondius's sister, which will be taken over next week by the company, and it will have the name Janssonius, named after a famous Dutch cartographer from the seventeeth century, Johannes Janssonius.

"Hondius is of a very good quality and was built at a decent price. The shipyard stuck to its delivery times, which is the most important thing in this industry," Van Gessel stated, announcing that Hondius will leave Split next week and go to the Netherlands until the cruise begins in June.

Hondius has a maximum capacity of 196 guests, or 174 in a double room, which is considered by the Dutch to be an optimal number. Among the special features are larger cabins, some with balconies, and a large observation lounge with large windows.

In Brodosplit, the vessel was known as Newbuild (Novogradnja) 484 and was presented as a symbol of Brodosplit's restructuring and a step up in both organisational and technological aspects. It was built with new software, tools and technology, especially so in regard to part of the equipment, as almost 80-85 percent of the ship had already been equipped during its construction, resulting in better quality, shorter deadlines and lower construction costs.

The ship was built according to a new financing model, for its own fleet and for long-term lease.

This new polar cruise ship is the first ship in the world to be built in the LR PC6 class, which will meet the latest Lloyd Registry requirements for Polar Class 6 vessels. It is 107.6 metres long, 17.6 metres wide and its main engine boasts a total output of 4260 kW. It will be able to accommodate nearly 200 passengers accommodated in 85 cabins, which will be taken care of by 70 crew members.

The ship's guests will soon be offered a high hotel standard, as well as various cabin categories, from two-room to four-bedroom, as well as spacious suites, where they will be provided with multiple secured systems to provide a safe and comfortable stay.

The design and all technical solutions are all the work of Brodosplit's talented designers.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

Click here for the original article by Drazen Grubisic for Novac/Jutarnji

Friday, 29 March 2019

Silence Reigns as Bankruptcy Knocks on Uljanik's Frail Door

At the start of the enfeebled Uljanik's bigger problems, the Croatian Government's view was either restructuring or bankruptcy, and now there's no time to devise any sort of new solution.

As Marija Brnic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 28th of March, 2019, the government rejected the offer of strategic partner Brodosplit for Uljanik's restructuring, and thus, although the prime minister tried to avoid actually saying it, a process that would have a domino effect on all the companies operating within the Pula-based group system was launched.

The fact that there is no longer a strategic partner for Uljanik, which was the main argument for the postponement of the opening of bankruptcy proceedings in the previous proceedings on the 3 Maj shipyard and Uljanik's other companies, is changing the situation and it is now clear that no matter how much room the government initially left for some possible new solutions, the judge in Pazin doesn't have much of a choice today and will determine that the conditions for declaring bankruptcy for the Uljanik shipyard are now fulfilled. Such a decision automatically withdraws what the Rijeka court stated and opens bankruptcy proceedings for the 3 Maj shipyard.

All the speculations that there could be another possibility for Uljanik, for which Prime Minister Andrej Plenković left space in his statement, are empty stories, not only because of the fact that right at the very beginning of Uljanik's growing woes, the government's position was that the only possible scenarios for Uljanik's rescue were restructuring or bankruptcy, but also because of the fact that now, there is definitely no more time available to come up with a new solution for the burdened shipyard. When it comes to the question of the possibility of the continuation of shipbuilding in Pula and Rijeka as a whole, the key question remains the same - how many ships could buyers actually be found for, and then arrive other questions regarding financing through bankruptcy.

Two ships that are now in their final stages of construction in Pula were de facto detained over the past few days by the company's emotionally exhausted employees, and Uljanik's workers aren't finishing the job, because "other" workers, not from that shipyard, are working on Scenic's polar cruiser, while Jan de Nul is awaiting the government's decision to pay the requested difference of 22 million euros and to take over and finish it in Trieste, Italy.

From Pula, the request was for the completion of construction to be carried out in Uljanik, but the government didn't even discuss that yesterday, so it remains unknown as to whether the Ministry of Finance has worked to meet the necessary conditions, and if so, when it intends to pay any price differences and deal with the issue of the contracted vessels.

Although it's quite impossible to describe the situation surrounding Uljanik and Croatian shipbuilding as a whole as anything remotely positive, its rather lucky, analysts agree, that all of this happened and seems to have finally reached its peak in a year in which a surplus was recorded, but that doesn't minimise the issues Uljanik faces, nor does it even begin to confront the shipyard's overworked and well and truly underpaid employees.

The interesting thing which always happens in Croatia is the intertwining of business and politics. Just like with the messy Agrokor situation that has dominated the Croatian media for the past couple of years, there is always a political element, and if there isn't really one, someone will make you believe there is. The Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) has accused the Croatian Government of purposely trying to cause issues by using the Uljanik saga to its benefit, even claiming that the ''government's lack of action and indecisiveness'' is an attempt to destabilise Istria.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated business and politics pages for much more.


Click here for the original article by Marija Brnic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Uljanik Completing Most Expensive Vessel Ever Constructed in Croatia

Uljanik's woes continue as workers endure difficult times and strategic partners for the enfeebled Pula shipyard's appear to be moving cautiously and slowly. Despite that, the burdened Croatian shipyard is currently involved in completing the construction of the most expensive vessel constructed in any shipyard in the Republic of Croatia.

As Ban  writes on the 18th of January, 2019, Australian Glen Moroney's Scenic Eclipse polar cruiser of the Scenic Group is currently in its final phases at Uljanik.

The outside molding of this luxurious polar vessel, which was worked on by as many as 400 to 700 people was completed, out of which about ten percent of Uljanik's employees were directly engaged. The rest of the ship has been being built by some of Uljanik's co-operatives and people from the Scenic Group itself. When finally finished, it will be part of a fleet of twenty luxury cruisers of which the aforementioned company is proud.

In addition, the vessel should be receiving its very first guests as early as this year, albeit with a great deal of delays given the fact that it was supposed to embark on its first trip at the end of August 2018. Work on the boat is now continuing without interruption, and on his first voyage, the cruiser will travel around the Mediterranean, with its first port of call being Barcelona. Booking for that trip has gone ahead, and because of the unwelcome delay the prices are somewhat less than they were originally. For all those who booked the first trip when the vessel was meant to be completed last summer, the company refunded customers their cancellation fees.

''This cruiser is one of the most complex vessels in its segment being built today on a global level and we're proud of it. We experienced significant difficulties where there was a shift in deadlines, however, Uljanik possesses the knowledge to create such a vessel in record time in relation to the circumstances. On several occasions, the owner himself emphasised that, in relation to the circumstances, the execution time was something beyond his expectations. The ship is now in its final phase,'' stated Uljanik's managing director Emil Bulić.

Otherwise, the Scenic Group commissioned another such vessel from Uljanik, and Uljanik has offered assurances that the shipowner has no intent of terminating this contract which was concluded a year ago. On the other hand, Australia's Moroney is one of the investors who is interested in Uljanik himself.

Give our business page a follow to stay up to date with Uljanik's unfolding situation and much more.


Click here for the original article by Barbara Ban for

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Uljanik's Frustrated Employees Will Start Working on Monday

Croatia's shipyards are struggling, and for a long time the state has had its hands firmly tied when it comes to offering them potential ways out of their issues. Uljanik's workers have previously gone as far as to take to the streets in protest against the way in which they're being treated, often going dangerously long periods without being paid. 

Issues at the very top of the management board have resulted in long wage delays for dedicated employees who have been made so desperate they have gone on strike, but it seems as of tomorrow, things will return to normal, at least for now...

As Morski writes on the 18th of November, 2018, in spite of the payment of minimum wages, negotiations between the Croatian Government and Uljanik's unions apparently did manage to bring fruit, as was announced on Monday, and the strike in which Uljanik's employees have continuously held since October the 22nd should come to an end.

''We've been paid the minimum for now, and we were promised that we'd not have to wait so long in October. We simply decided that it was time to stop the strike, because that's what the shipowners expect from us. We will be the ones ending ourselves if we don't continue to work. We'll take a fifteen day break from strike activities, but we won't disband the strike board,'' said Đino Šverko, a member of Uljanik's strike board, for N1.

He also said that Uljanik's employers had nothing against Uljanik and May 3 being separated.

''We have to start thinking about work. The strike is going on and on, if it lasts until the end of the month, we'll end up closing everything ourselves, we can't see a way out. We're starting work, we'll carry out our tasks and then everything remains in the hands of the the Croatian Government,'' Deni Širol told N1.


For more information on the state of the domestic economy, Croatian companies, business and the possible fate of Uljanik, make sure to follow our dedicated business page.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Uljanik Searches for Investors as Potential Bankruptcy Looms

Will Uljanik be saved? Minister Horvat is in negotiations with four potential investors to replace Danko Končar as a partner.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

One of Four Potential Uljanik Investors Steps Down

Minister Darko Horvat revealed that Smart Holding, Fincantieri, Royal IHC and Damen were all interested in the heavily burdened Uljanik, but one of them has already stepped down and away from the whole idea.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Viktor Lenac Shipyard Gets New Owner

A new majority owner for Rijeka's Viktor Lenac shipyard.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Marić on State Helping Shipbuilding: ''Everything Comes to an End''

Marić insists that the government is trying to do all it can, but that owing to EU rules, even HBOR's hands are tied.

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