Shipbuilding in Croatia: From war giants to modern sailing ships

Shipbuilding in Croatia

From war giants to modern sailing ships

More than 6000 square meters of white sails were proudly spread recently on a 162 m long sailing ship, as they sailed across the Split water area, providing the world a stellar display of Croatian shipbuilding tradition.


As the largest sailing ship in the world, fitted with state-of-the-art navigational instruments, this ice class vessel represents the pinnacle of global shipbuilding and enables tourists to safely sail on the icy seas of the Arctic and Antarctica.

There is another “icebreaker” from the Croatian slipways that has caught the eye of the global public. It is a luxury cruise ship designed for polar expeditions, whose interior design as well as the quantity and quality of features far surpass anything currently offered on multi-day cruise ships. Not specific enough? Then imagine flying over the Arctic in one of the two available helicopters, submarine diving, adventure kayaking and paddling in inflatable dinghies and then returning to the cosy ship equipped with spa salons and swimming pools and choosing from a variety of first-class worldwide cuisines, add a few other surprises and you will realise that the ships leaving the slipways of Pula are operating on a completely different level.

Shipbuilding in Croatia ranks among the best in the world

It is impossible to name all the feats of Croatian shipbuilding of this and the last century, ranging from the construction of merchant ships, warships, multi-purpose and specialised vessels to building the largest tanker in the Adriatic – the impressive 335 m long Kanchenjunga, or repurposing the minelayer Galeb as a school ship.

As Tito’s ship, it achieved global iconic status and today attracts curious visitors from all over the world while moored in Rijeka, where it will soon be restored as a museum ship.

Another similar icon of shipbuilding in Croatia is a magnet for global explorers, but only the boldest ones, since it is submerged on the seabed at a depth of 66 m. The ship in question is the battleship Szent István. It was built in the Rijeka shipyard in 1914 as the fourth Tegethoff-class dreadnought, the pride of the Austro-Hungarian Navy and one of the largest battleships of its time.

Szent István

During an attack at early dawn on 10 June 1918, the ship was struck by two Italian torpedoes, and has been lying on the seabed off the islet of Premuda as the ultimate diving attraction ever since.


With these “living” giants of Croatian shipbuilding sailing the world’s oceans, it should come as no surprise that Croatian shipyards have won 27 Ship of the Year Awards over the last 50 years since it was established.


It is an acknowledgment of shipbuilding expertise that only few can rival.