Damen, Adriatic Marinas and the Montenegrin government have signed a contract to put plans in motion.
Since 2012, superyacht marina development and operating group Adriatic Marinas and superyacht builder Damen have been working with the Government of Montenegro on plans to bring about the redevelopment of the former Bijela Shipyard in Boka Bay, Montenegro. According to what is signed until 2020 the site of Bijela shipyard will be transformed into a superyacht refit and repair facility. As mentioned this initiative has been challenging, but the resulting benefits to the economy of Montenegro are potentially significant with over 300 people eventually expected to return to the marine industry.
Rene Berkvens, Damen’s CEO, commented on the agreement: “We are happy that today marks the beginning of a new lease of life for the shipyard in Bijela. Together with our partners we take a long-term view on making yacht maintenance and refit in Montenegro a success. A strong customer base at Porto Montenegro and yacht maintenance and refit skills within the Damen Group will contribute to the success of this venture. Considering the yard’s current condition, we face a challenging period. However, with the continuous full support of the Montenegrin Government, and in close cooperation with our strong partner and the local community, we aim to restore the yard’s health, increase employment, and pursue fitting commercial opportunities both locally and internationally that will contribute to rebuilding activity levels.”
from left to right: Osman Nurkovic, Minister of Transport and Maritime Affairs of Montenegro, Vladimir Stjepcevic,Director of Port Authority Kotor, David Margason, Managing Director at Porto Montenegro, and Eel Kant, Sales and Business Development Manager at Damen Refit.
Adriatic Marinas Managing Director David Margason stated: “The teams at Adriatic Marinas and Damen have been working for a very long time with the Government of Montenegro to realize this challenging and exciting project. We are delighted that this next major step has been achieved and believe that this initiative is an ideal example of how Montenegro’s fast-growing tourism and marine leisure industry can convert back into the generation of jobs in associated creative and production industries to offer a comprehensive, integrated and sustainable range of employment opportunities to future generations in the country.”
The Bijela site is a former commercial shipyard which over recent years was experiencing a decreasing workload and the prospect of establishing a superyacht facility located just across Boka Bay from Porto Montenegro.The planning of recruitment and training through the apprenticeship programme that Damen operates throughout its global network of shipyards is already underway. So too are plans for the production of new lifting and repair equipment to be brought to the facility, following the completion of the remediation works.