From company history ...
- Firm:: Atlantska plovidba Plc
- Year of Foundation:: 1955.g.
From company history ...
„Dubrovnik, 19.VII – The Dubrovnik company for overseas shipping Atlantska Plovidba acquired its first steamship. It was called „Banija“ with the capacity of 9.832 DWT delivered several days ago in Rijeka. Upon recommendation of the State Executive Council its other vessels „Livno“,“ Korenica“, „Korčula“, „Kragujevac“ and“Plitvice“ were taken from the Jugolinija pool and allocated to Atlantska Plovidba in January the following year. Thus, January 1956 marked a new begining for Atlantska Plovidba and, at the same time, reinstated the maritime industry and further economic orientation and prosperity which will prove to be very significant for the city of Dubrovnik as well. Following delivery, „Banija“, under command of her present captain Vinko Račić, took on coal at Raša and departed for the Greek port of Elensis. Having loaded bauxite she continued for North Europe.
However modest it seemed at the time, this news written half a century ago by the newspaper's reporter and the first chronicler of Atlantska Plovidba, Boro Kamić , on the now yellow pages of „Slobodna Dalmacija“, still bears great historical value. It was the first „voice“ of the resurrection of Dubrovnik's maritime industry and the end of a ten year struggle during which Dubrovnik had disappeared from the world's maps as one of the great and famous maritime cities. Never before, from the 9th century and the first records of its maritime power, had this city been without its ships for an entire decade.“
„…Only those who found themselves on the City walls on December 19th, 1955 could witness how all the citizens of Dubrovnik felt when the ship's mighty siren greeted them after so many years of deafening silence.“
The ship was called „Banija“ but the citizens of Dubrovnik knew that she was the good old „Saint Blaise“- the steamer with the name of the city's Patron Saint which new government leaders had labelled „nominum prohibitorum“ in 1946- the name banned to stand on the ship's bow. Banija, delivered quietly in Rijeka on December 14th, was the only vessel in 1955 with the recognizable Dubrovnik yellow funnel and the new, ever-present, red star. In January 1956 „Korčula“, „Livno“,“Plitivce“ and „Korenica“ joined the fleet, „Kragujevac“ in March and in February 1957 the steamer „Beograd“ as well. It took more than a year for all the seven vessels to fly the Dubrovnik flag after the decentralisation of the merchant navy.
Those were diverse vessels but the experienced eyes of seamen and those on land could easily recognize the British construction. Besides „Banija“, „Livno“ was also „only“ 27 years old, „Beograd“, „Korenica“ and „Kragujevac“ were in their thirties, „Korčula“ in her early forties and the oldest by far were „Plitvice“, the ancient Dubrovnik lady „Dubravka“ and „Maria Immaculata“ as the oldest with half a century on her shoulders. Of the seven, only three belonged to Dubrovnik - besides „Plitvice“ and „Banija“, „Beograd“ flew the flag of the Dubrovnik Steamship Company A.D. under the name Federiko Glavić.
What could be done with those ships? A lot and much more if taken under your wing as the citizens of Dubrovnik did. Since these seven old-timers are imbedded in the foundations of Atlantska Plovidba who shall, half a century later, reach the stars- for itself, its seafearers and Dubrovnik as no maritime company, on the Adriatic or elsewhere, is so interweaved with its city. Turned to the sea for centuries, Dubrovnik lived, grew and blossomed off it and only ten years of oppresive deprivation of its ships and seagoing were enough to bring it to its knees.
Knowing this, it is easier to comprehend why the citizens of Dubrovnik embraced warmly Atlantska Plovidba half a century ago. Its ships, regardless of their condition, pulled them out of their anxiety and slow economic death and brought hope that Dubrovnik could be as it once was! These lines could seem pathetic but it is the truth. Even maritime experts agree that as great as Atlantska's role was in developing modern shipping in the Adriatic, even greater was the importance of its ships in saving and developing the Dubrovnik's economy.
THE REBIRTH OF ATLANTSKA PLOVIDBA
„…Although ardent for decentralisation, the city of Dubrovnik founded Atlantska Plovidba called Maritime and Traffic Company for Overseas Shipping only on May 27th 1955 following the Decision 9536/55 adopted at the Peoples Counsil of Dubrovnik. The first general manager of the company without any vessel was Captain Špiro Savin. The company was allocated an office in Široka ulica and the Peoples Counsil set aside one million dinars from the city's budget for operating costs. When choosing the name of the company tradition was respected, thus the rebirth of the Atlantska Plovidba which was founded in 1922 by the renowned Dubrovnik shipowner Ivo Račić and which ceased to exist in 1929 after the Split Yugoslav-American Maritime company and Atlantska merged into a new company – the Yugoslav Lloyd.
Much later, as the last new company after decentralisation, the Jugoslavenska Tankerska Plovidba was founded on 26th November 1955 in Zadar. Jugolinija was prepared for this outcome so they chose 20 ships to be given to the newly founded maritime companies. Thus they chose the oldest and already redundant and unprofitable steamships. With the exception of two older tankers, forming the Jugotanker company, all the other vessels were nationalised company ships dated from the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. On December 3rd, the State Executive Counsil, alias the Yugoslav Government decided on allotting seven steamships to Atlantska Plovidba and the final apportioning was confirmed at the Jugolinija's marathon Workers' Council session on the 9th and 10th December. Several days later the ships were delivered to the new companies. All, including Atlantska Plovidba, were ready and prepared to start working.
The citizens of Dubrovnik were secretly hoping that the steamer „Dubrovnik“, the largest and most modern cargo vessel from the pre-war Yugoslav fleet pool would fly their city's flag but it was allocated to the Slovenian shipping company Splošna Plovba. It is interesting to note that „Dubrovnik“, besides the Dubrovnik steamship „Durmitor“ alloted to the Jugooceanija company in Kotor, was the only ocean-going vessel whose name was not changed by the government. The surviving Dubrovnik ocean-going staemships „Princ Andrej“ (now „Bihać“) was allotted to Slovenia, while „Durmitor“, steamships „Bosanka“ and „Nikola Pašić“ were taken over by Kotor and became „Prenj“ and „Kozara“. The ninth ship, „Dubac“, having survived the war, was alloted to Jugolinija as „Šolta“. However, it was heavily damaged so it lay sunken in the Bay of Klimno on island Krk until 1954 when it was extracted and transferred to scrap yard in Sveti Kajo.
Although the steam ship „Banija“ was allotted to Atlantska Plovidba on December 14th 1955, the company began functioning on January 18th 1956 following its first Workers' Council meeting held at the Seafarers Club „Miho Pracat“ having met all the conditions for the company to start working.
By the end of January crew members mainly from the Dubrovnik region took over the steamships „Korčula“, former „Senga“, owned at the time by Atlantska Plovidba from Sušak, „Livno“, former „Lucijan“, the property of Jadran Brodarsko d.s.o.j. at the time and ancient „Plitvice“. In February, the steamship „Korenica“, former „Jurko Topić“, flew the Dubrovnik flag and in March the second steamship „Ivan Topić“, now „Kragujevac“ did the same. This was the actual beginning of Atlantska Plovidba since its most valued ship „Beograd“ remained in the service of Jugolinija for the whole year until February 1957 when she came under her new insignia.“
VISIONS BECOME REALITY
Atlantska Plovidba's founders established three major guidelines to be followed in future: update technically the existing ships within their possibilities to increase profit, build new ships in domestic shipyards and purchase used ships abroad in order to expand and renew the fleet and to scrap or sell the old and unprofitable ones. This vision of development was forseen long before Atlantska Plovidba had any ships at all and the knowledge and experience of Dubrovnik's seamen hadn't been in vain: it was the course that led the company to its present peaks.
It did not take long for the company experts to conclude that their older ships „Banija“ and „Beograd“ could be advantageously exploited by switching from coal to fuel, while the other five steamers would keep on sailing until replacements were secured. The decision to build new ships in Adriatic shipyards was an abrupt one. Only three months after the actual beginning of operation of the Atlantska Plovidba, on April 14th 1956, a newbuilding was ordered in Split and on October 3rd two additional newbuilding contracts were signed. At the same time the company initiated regulation amendments on import of secondhand vessels through the Maritime Shipowners Association. This action was a huge success since the State Executive Council adopted the conditions on import of vessels for Yugoslav maritime companies at the end of 1956.
Thus, at the beginning of 1957 everything was set for the flying start of Atlantska Plovidba. In 1956 the optimism envelopped Dubrovnik with a new aura. Although Atlantska and its current fleet were only a shadow of the Dubrovnik's past maritime glory, the actions of its founders were very impressive, having acomplished so much in such a little time. Already in 1956 Atlantska Plovidba grossed 35 percent of the total municipal income, while the rest of the industry held 20 percent and tourism barely 9 percent of the income. Thanks to shipping, since 1952 the Dubrovnik's income was increased three times per capita by the end of 1956! The world maritime market contributed to the optimism and overall enthusiasm as the freight rates were at its peaks and even the old ships were making a significant profit. However the forebodings of difficult times hung over the new shipowner who could survive only with the new fleet. That was the time of strict economic planing and investments were approved through the General Investment Fund by bid. Atlantska Plovidba hastily submitted its request for a loan based on so-called „Tenth Bid“.
SIX KEY YEARS
At the end of 1961, after only 6 years of being in business, Atlantska Plovidba achieved all three fundamental goals set at the beginning. The success was even greater considering the deep maritime recession that hit the global market after 1957. The freight rates were much lower and it wasn't easy to find the cargo but, according to the chronicles, not one of the Atlantska Plovidba's ships was laid up for lack of business. The old steamships, which built the foundations of the company went into well deserved retirement: in April 1959 „Korčula“ ended up in a scrapyard in Hong Kong and the following year „Korenica“ and „Kragujevac“ sailed on their last journey to the scrapyards in Japan whereas „Livno“ and „Plitvice“ ended their days in Adriatic in 1961. The first ship was sold to the company Progress and was broken up for scrap with only a few other small ships in a small scrapyard belonging to the Slobodna Plovidba in Krapanj while „Plitivce“ was transformed into a tug on Sveti Kajo where it would be scrapped two years later.
Atlantska's policy to rely on newbuildings from domestic shipyards was confirmed by twin constructions in Split – „Ruđer Bošković“ and „Gundulić“. Although commissioned shortly after „Petka“, those ships were bigger and more modern, 153,58meters long and of 13.709 tons and were part of the sucessful shipbuilding plan which included three ships named after the Split writers „Marko Marulić“, „Natko Nodilo“ and „Luka Botić“ . „Ruđer Bošković“ was ceremoniously delivered to Atlantska Plovidba on December 19th 1959 and shortly after „Gundulić“ set sail on February 5th 1960.
In 1961 Atlantska Plovidba joined the worldwide liner service with these ships together with Splošna Plovba's four and Jugooceanija's one vessel. Even so, „Gundulić“ and „Ruđer Bošković“ will be remembered as the two newbuildings retained in the company's pool for a very short time. In 1967 „Gundulić“ was sold to Slobodna Plovidba from Šibenik and in 1972 „Bošković“ as well. As a point of interest, Slobodna Plovidba purchased the steamer „Konavli“ from Atlantska Plovidba before that and „Baranja“ and „Kruševo“ in the latter years as well.
Atlantska, together with the first three newbuildings, ordered „Držić“ from the Split shipyard and it was essentially different from all the others in the Adriatic. It was delivered in January 1961 and it was the first vessel at the time with a stern engine room and a command bridge amidship, a rare combination of a tramper and a bulk carrier. 161,5 meters long, 20 meters in breadth with the 16.169 DWT, a strong Sulzer 5710 kw engine and a 16 kn speed it will be, for a long time, the largest ship in Atlantska Plovidba's fleet .
The tale of the first six years of Atlantska Plovidba wouldn't be complete without mentioning the significant role of the company in inciting and developing maritime school in Dubrovnik. One of the company's priorities since the beginning was to create its own high quality ship personnel. Year in and year out more and more seafarers were granted scholarships. With the generous finantial support of Atlantska Plovidba, the Maritime College opened its doors in September 1959 in Dubrovnik. The company also supported significantly and finantially the foundation of the Maritime University which was a huge step forward in schooling of the seafarers in Croatian south.
Besides its new acquisition "Držić", Atlantska Plovidba expanded its fleet pool with two new ships: Liberty type steamship "Mljet" and a smaller wooden passenger ship "Dalmatinac" in 1961. Those were a bit unusual but significant business decisions. "Mljet" was delivered in Hamburg in October 1961 and the steamship "Cavtat" was taken over in March 1962 in Rotterdam. These were only a minor portion of the famous Liberty type vessels, the most famous ships in history. Chronicles indicate that 2711 cargo vessels of 10.750 deaweight tons were built in four years in 18 shipyards all over the United States of America and, on November 12th 1942 in Richmond, California, steamship "Robert E. Peary" was launched after only 4 days 15 hours and 29 minutes following keel laying - this strikes us as surreal even today.
Purchasing a Liberty ship had not been planned, however, Atlantska had made a good bargain participating in the popular so-called action "Old for New". Namely, the Split and Pula shipyards were building a large number of vessels for Greek buyers, mostly for shipowner Livanos, while they paid for the new buildings with old ships. These old ships were then resold to domestic maritime companies specially founded for such transactions. Atlantska Plovidba bought two Livanos vessels through Brodosplit brokerage, however, retained them for a very short time: "Mljet"- three years and "Cavtat"- a little over one year. This could be taken as a short, interesting episode in Atlantska's history. The arrival of smaller ship "Dalmatinac" was an overture to the ensuing 1962 bringing change to Atlantska Plovidba's business policy. The ship, barely 22,4 meters long, was built 1953 in Punta on the Island ofKrk for the Coaster Company "Split" which, in a very short time, changed several owners; its last the Privredno and školjarsko poduzece "Jedinstvo" (the Shell and Commerce Company „Jedinstvo") in Ston. The ship, from 1959 on, maintained a route between Ston and Dubrovnik with great difficulty when it occurred to a regional official this business could be entrusted to Atlantska Plovidba. And thus, on September 5th, 1961, "Dalmatinac" became the first wooden member of Atlantska - not for very long though.
Major changes which ensued the following year were all but wished for! To recall, the Pomorsko transportno poduzece "Dubrovnik" (Maritime Transport Company "Dubrovnik") was founded on May 1st 1951 in Dubrovnik whereby, in the next decade, replaced five ancient sailing ships taken over from the Coaster Company "Split" with several larger vessels. This state of affairs was quite modest and insufficient for successful business management. And again, someone came up with the idea that shipowners in distress should unite with Atlantska Plovidba. After all, the company had already purchased a smaller cargo vessel "Uvala" in Norway in 1960 of 610 tons and yielded it to the Maritime Transport Company.
ODD BUNCH OF COASTERS
Ships delivered to Atlantska Plovidba in June 1962 were quite an odd bunch: six cargo vessels of 1735 tons deadweight, among which the smallest a 17 meter sailing ship "Dubac" and the largest and the only steel ship, an ancient steamer, "Pčela", built in 1918. There were also the large wooden cargo ships "Lopud" and "Susak" of 400 tons deadwight; a somewhat smaller "Lovrijenac" and an even smaller one "Bosanka". As a "reinforcement", a wooden cargo ship "Voljak" was purchased from Mediteranska Plovidba of 320 tons deadweight.
The story of the Coaster line would not be complete without knowing when Atlantska Plovidba took over the Maritime Transport Company "Dubrovnik, the shipyard in Mokosica, located in the Rijeka Dubrovacka, came under its wing. This was the last tie with Dubrovnik's rich shipbuilding tradition, in prior years maintained in the Gruž Harbour and then in Gruž. The Mokosica Shipyard was founded in 1933 by the craftsman Cvijeto Dunatović of Sustjepan and which was, after many years of ups and downs, taken over by the Maritime Transport Company in August 1960. Two years later, Atlantska Plovidba invested in reconstructing and equipping this shipyard only to relet it to Atlas at a somewhat later date. The biggest job the shipyard handled was the reconstruction of "Pčela", which lasted over one year. If 1962 can be pinpointed as the year Atlantska Plovidba grew by expanding its coaster business, the following year was even more significant. In February 1963, the management resolved to take over the Adriatic- Great Britain's west coast (Adriatic-WCUK) Line, maintained by Mediteranska Plovidba in Korčula since 1961. The ships gradually began arriving at the ports of Rijeka, Šibenik, Salerno (or Naples in the canned cargo season) as well as Liverpool, Glasgow, Swansea or Newport; while on their return they arrived to Lisbon, Venice and Trieste. The ports of Split, Marina di Carrara, Manchester, Seville and Kopar were optional.
SHIPWRECK OF „CAVTAT“
"Korčula" set sail in March, "Cavtat" in November 1968 and both ships soon became the cornerstone of the Adriatic-WCUK Line. The following year, a fairly new ship joined this liner pool - "Kruševo", built 1967 in Spain and purchased from a Moroccan shipowner. Glorious as the Trogir twins were in their initial voyages; "Cavtat", unfortunately, was Atlantska Plovidba's first vessel to appear in the black chronicles.
However this state of affairs being unpleasant and disturbing, not one shipowner can boast of fifty years of tradition and fleet of ships such as Atlantska Plovidba: "Cavtat" was the only Dubrovnik vessel to meet its fate in the deep blue sea!
Before and after "Cavtat", there were incidents of groundings, fires and heavy engine damage; not one left a deeper mark in the history of Atlantska Plovidba. An exception would be the case of "Miho Pracat" which mustn't be forgotten, both due to the death of two seamen and because of exemplary solidarity and dedication on the part of American doctors who attempted to save their lives and for which they were duly commended with the Vjesnik „Blue Ribbon“ award.
SEAMEN AS RESCUERS
Equally so, one can not but tell of the numerous circumstances when Atlantska Plovidba's seafarers' spirit, wholeheartedness and dedication was put to the test. One can not forget that June in 1985 when the "Ruder Bosković“ crew rescued eight shipwrecked crew members from the sunken yacht "Cactus", 300 miles off the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean; or in June 1991 when "Kupari" improvised a raft to save ten exhausted Albanian refugees. Or, on the other hand, in May 1999, when "Sveti Vlaho" rescued seven castaways floating 24 hours on a piece of styrofoam off the Taiwan shores. One must also remember the drama in the Caribbean Sea, in September 22nd 1984, when a captain of Atlantska Plovidba's ship, only two days after taking command of "Mljet", courageously lost his life attempting to save the life of his deck trainee, from the ship's hold loaded with petrolcoke.
Let us close this page in the history of Atlantska Plovidba and return to the company's deep blue routes of success.
A DECADE TO REMEMBER
Not much was happening at beginning of the sixties, besides the already mentioned purchase of smaller vessels for the Coaster and Adriatic-WCUK lines, and this period could be characterised as a calm before an expansion boom. After m/v "Držić" was delivered in January 1961, Atlantska Plovidba expanded with only three newbuildings ordered from Split Shipyard. At the next General Investment Fund Bid, Atlantska secured the credit lines, although under somewhat unfavourable conditions, for two new "Držić" sisterships; thus "Kragujevac" was delivered in Split in November 1963 and "Plitvice" on February 29th, 1964 in Split. Much like "Držić", the two new bulk/tramper acquisitions spent their life span under Atlantska Plovidba and were sold as scrap, in August 1985, to a company in Karachi.
The company's policy on founding its future in newbuildings, especially on order in domestic shipyards, soon proved to be unattainable. The necessity of insuring a "stable currency" induced a Yugoslav economic policy in promoting, stimulating and granting copious credit facilities for the purpose of attracting foreign shipowners to construct newbuildings in domestic shipyards. This policy proved a great disappointment for national shipowners. Within the country's Partial Program on Newbuildings, exerting much financial contribution on the part of the shipowner, two new ships were ordered in Split and, in those days, very modern bulk cargo ships; while the "Korčula" and "Cavtat" twins were ordered from Trogir Shipyard.
The two bulk carriers, "Banija" and "Bosanka", were 186,9 long, 22,9 of breadth
and of 28.472 deadweight tons, maintaining a speed of 15,5 knots induced
by FIAT engines of 7728 kW. "Banija" was delivered at the end of November 1966 and "Bosanka" in March 1967. As recorded in the Croatian Maritime Annals, "Banija" was the largest merchant ship in Atlantska Plovidba' s and the country's history. In June 1967, Jugotanker took over this lead by ordering its newbuilding "Sisak" at Split Shipyard. This first newbuilding for bulk cargoes justified all expectations and was exploited for over two decades before taken over by new owners.
By the end of 1965, the fleet pool was joined by two secondhand trampers, while the significant purchase of secondhand vessels followed only in the mid eighties. During this period, only coaster and line ships were purchased, but no trampers. When Atlantska purchased "Hercegovina" and "Miho Pracat" in 1965 this became a, so to speak, final farewell to classical British built cargo ships, not only for Atlantska Plovidba but also for our maritime industry on the whole. "Hercegovina", formerly "Silverpoint", of 11.700 tons deadweight, was eight years old; while "Miho Pracat", formerly "Durham Trader", of 13.700 tons deadweight, barely six. Both built in Sunderland, very sturdy and reliable, and were retained in the fleet pool until this type of ship became extinct. At its 10th aniversary, Atlantska Plovidba certainly had much to boast of- 20 tramper ships, totalling 200.049 tons deadweight and an average age of 16 years. In addition, six coaster ships totalling 2000 tons.
HEAVY LIFTERS TAKE OFF ON THE MARITIME MARKET
The delivery of "Hercegovina" marked a dry period in fleet acquisitions and Atlantska waited a full five years before a new building would take sail under her flag. In any case, one could not say this was a stagnation, but only a necessary break after exceptional investment and tonnage increase accomplishments. The fleet was rejuvenated to such measures that the company was obliged to sell off, between 1973 to 1982, only two older vessels - coaster ship "Duba" and "Titov Veles" on the Adriatic-WCUK Line. In the age of technological progress, these classic cargo ships disappeared en route to west Europe thus managing only some cargo transport in the Mediterranean. When, in 1979, "INA-Petrokemija" began transporting equipment to their large fertilizer plant in Kutina, Atlantska Plovidba found her place in this demanding business. The company purchased a seven year old ship named "Super Scan", of 3510 tons deadweight, equipped with a 125 ton derrick, partially designed for heavy lift transport, from Danish shipowner Bjaesbjerg. Renamed "Kutina", she was the pioneer for the future Atlant Heavy Lift service. Atlantska purchased "Thor Scan" renamed "Jahorina" the following year and from the same shipowner. Built in 1969 as a container vessel for the Dublin-Liverpool line, she was modified for heavy lift transport and equipped with two 350 ton derricks. Results encouraging, Atlantska Plovidba purchased two additional ships from Bjaesbjerg. In April 1982, the company took over "Molunat", former "Titan Scan" built in 1970, and "Ston" in January 1983. Atlantska also purchased "Slano" from the Danish shipowner, equipped for unit cargo transport and the last to sail the Adriatic-WCUK line. A medium sized vessel, accommodating 102 TEU containers, built in Spain 1971, was chartered in June 1983 under the name of "Scan Glen" and in June 1985 joined Atlantska Plovidba's fleet. However, this vessel survived on the market only two years and, when sold off in 1987, the line faded out. Yet another chapter in Atlantska's history book was closed.
TWO GLORIOUS YEARS
After several summers without acquiring new ships, Atlantska Plovidba soon amended this in 1983 and 1984 which, in their fifty year history, is considered unattainable. In 1983, the company purchased three completely new Panamax ships for bulk and container cargo and one new classic bulk carrier, while in 1984 their fourth ship, a conbulker. With these purchases, the company's tonnage excelled to a 315 thousand tons in only two years! It was neither a coincidence nor a surprise. While taking a breath after financal booms during the seventies, the company was preparing new investment plans on the maritime market.
Their first opportunity arose in the summer of 1980 when "3.maj" Shipyard in Rijeka marketed a new type of ship – a conbulker, of 71.200 tons deadweight, 1466 container cargo capacity, 234,4 meters in length, 32,3 meters in breadth, 3.maj-Sulzer engines of 10.004 kW and 15 knots speed. This type of ship accentuated market economy and competitiveness. Atlantska Plovidba ordered two vessels, while the other two had been on order for Cast Containerships Ltd, an esteemed British company in London to sail under the Bahamas flag.
"Cast Caribou" was launched in September 1981 and finished in February 1982, while "Cast Polarbear" was delivered in July 1982. However, both vessels were laid up in Rijeka shipyard as the renowned Cast, one of the container ship pioneers in the Atlantic, claimed bankruptcy. This became a burden on "3.maj" which, for months, had tried resolving this unfortunate state of affairs when deus ex machina (an expected solution) appeared on the horizon - Atlantska Plovidba, an expert in acquiring ships from fallen shipowners. The sisterships were, in 1983, formally sold to the Liberian company, Woodstock Maritime Corporation, and then taken over by Atlantska; once again activating its centuries old trade and maritime expertize.
In fact, direct purchase of these two ships was an impossible task circumstanced by prevailing foreign trade regulations and limitations. Thus, with the government's approval, Atlantska Plovidba founded its first off-shore company in Liberia, the Atlantic Conbulk Maritime Corporation, bearing much significance, businesswise, in the years to come. So, in October 1983, both ships joined the company fleet pool under the Liberian flag, but retained their names upon charterers' request. As these vessels had already concluded a ten year time charter contract, this proved to be an excellent business venture. In December 1983, Rijeka shipyard delivered Atlantska Plovidba their first newbuilding "Peljesac" as well, while her sistership "Konavle" in November 1984. Somewhere in between these two Rijeka acquisitions "Mljet" slipped through, a newbuilding of 29.700 tons deadweight built at Split shipyard. Her construction encountered many difficulties and, from launch date in July 1982 to delivery in December 1983, took an incredible period of 17 months to be completed. Even so, this did not diminish the extraordinary success for which 1983 and 1984 shall be remembered. When recalling the "Pelješac" and "Mljet" launching ceremonies, one brings to mind that each vessel had three godmothers - three young girls from the Pelješac peninsula and three from the Island of Mljet.
In the following year, the tramper fleet grew by taking "Favorita" into bare-boat charter, and later purchase. A vessel of 44.537 tons deadweight, built in Spain and only a little over a year old. Atlantska's peak, and the end of a successful business co-operation with "3.maj" Shipyard, ensued in October 1986 with the delivery of "Petka". Together with the sisterships, "Malinska" and "Omisalj", delivered to Jugolinija several months later, "Petka" was the top of the world maritime technological achievement. As previously mentioned, Atlantska Plovidba received its specialised heavy lift vessel "Gruž" in 1986 and that year may be characterised as technologically the most important one in the history of the company. In 1989, however, the company purchased a six year old Spanish bulk carrier "Ereaga" of 61.318 tons deadweight and, for the purpose of such purchase, was renamed "Big George". For eight years, this ship sailed under the name of "Dubrovnik", later to be remembered as the first ship named the "City of Dubrovnik". However, Jadrolinija purchased a new ferry boat for a trans-Adriatic line in Rijeka in 1977 and Atlantska Plovidba gladly ceded the world known and popular name of Dubrovnik.
Shortly after "Dubrovnik", precisely in 1990, a six year old ship joined the fleet, the first since 1946, to bear the name of Dubrovnik's patron - Saint Blaise. This honour was bestowed on Greek conbulker "Thalassini Doxa", a typical Japanese build, of 39.443 tons deadweight and equipped to facilitate thousand containers.
Then came the war!
The Dubrovnik area, as well as the City, came under the brutal attack of the Jugoslav Army and Serbo-Montenegrean so-called „volunteers“ who shelled and burnt everything in their way, while the world watched the photos of Dubrovnik in flames. The most horrifying attack began on 6th December 1991 - St. Nicholas Day. During that time, there were no company ships in Dubrovnik, however, in those early days of war "Orasac" was heavily damaged. This occurred on September 18th in Šibenik while the ship was at Rogač berth. The enemy attack began at 5:50 in the morning when the entire Šibenik area came under the artillery and machinegun fire. The ship was hit by an incendiary mortar, the engine room went in flames as well as the superstructure. Only on February 22nd 1992 was the heavily damaged ship towed to Vranjic where it was repaired.
Doing business from Dubrovnik during war time was impossible while, at the same time, forebodings on valuable company property (the fleet) being ceded to Jugoslavia by various international legal and political tactics. Thus, in November 1991, the ships were registered under the flag of Malta except for the four coasters. Numerous new shipowner companies were registered in Valletta, all owned by Atlantska Plovidba.
And so Atlantska continued business "as usual" during those horrendous days exerting at the same time great effort in assisting the City and its citizens. Atlantska's goal was to register its fleet in the national register of ships, under the flag of independent and sovereign Republic of Croatia. Unfortunately, the circumstances of war, sceptical mortagees and charterers were not prone to change just then and so several further years passed until Atlantska was granted approval to return the fleet under national flag. The Croatian flag was first raised in 1994 on "Cvijeta Zuzorić", followed by the next seven in 1996 and soon after the rest of the fleet. Since then and until now, Atlantska Plovidba is the only shipowner whose complete fleet is registered under the Croatian flag.
"THE STORM" - A NEW BEGINNING
During the Homeland War the fleet grew with only one but valuable acquisition, the bulk carrier "Imperial". Formerly the Norwegian "Santa Margarita", built in Japan of 68.676 tons deadweight, delivered in November 1994 and six years old, was a fresh addition to Atlantska Plovidba's weary fleet pool. However, during the excruciating days of war, it was important to safeguard the fleet and create conditions for rejuvenation in peace time. At the end of 1995, in the final days of war, the company owned 18 tramper vessels of an impressive 732.170 tons deadweight, but with an average age of 13,4 years plus four coasters, totalling 3850 tons deadweight.
With the end of war came the beginning of Atlantska Plovidba's expansion, lasting to present day. Symbolically, this period was marked by the ship "Oluja" („Storm") as the first post-war addition to Atlantska's fleet pool. This was the first vessel ordered from the shipyard in Split, more than 20 years after "Mljet". The modern handymax bulk carrier, of 41.600 tons deadweight, is one in a series of sisterships built for domestic and foreign shipowners. The Shipbuilding Contract was signed on 26th October 1994 and the building started in August 1995, the same day when the "Storm" operation for liberation of Croatian territory was launched.
A similar vessel, also symbolically named "Sveti Nikola" („St. Nicholas"), was delivered to Atlantska Plovidba in June 1997 by the Uljanik Shipyard in Pula. The construction of this ship was the result of a unique business venture in Croatian maritime history between Atlantska Plovidba and Uljanik Plovidba. Two bulk carriers were ordered of 44.314 tons deadweight, whereby one was 75% owned by Uljanik and 25% by Atlantska. For the second vessel the ownership percentage was just opposite. Thus, after delivery in Pula, the first ship named "Uljanik" reached Dubrovnik in June 26th 1996 and was greeted ceremoniously. Of course, the "Sveti Nikola I" was met with even more jubilation upon arrival in Gruž, June 12th 1997. Following her delivery two days prior in Pula, the shipowners exchanged ownership shares and so each owned its own vessel.
After the delivery of "Oluja", in November 1996, foreboding clouds loomed over the world maritime market and when "Sveti Nikola I" set sail the storm was at its peak. This period, lasting till the end of 1999, shall be remembered as one of the roughest in the history of Atlantska Plovidba, starting from the hughe losses to the salary reductions. Larger scale plans had to be postponed till better days. At the end of 1997, however, the company purchased, with much faith, effort and finnancial input, one year old bulk carrier "Orsula" of 34.168 tons deadweight, built in China for the Canadian  FedNav and specially constructed for navigation in the St. Lawrence Seaway. The next, quite unexpected, acquistion set sail in February 1998 under the name of "Koločep". Only five months earlier, this vessel was built in Split, like her sistership „Oluja". Under the name of "Arctic Mariner", this ship was delivered to the Cyprian company NB Shipping in Limassol, actually a branch company of the Russian company Murmansk Shipping. Hit heavily by the maritime market crisis, the Russians were unable to further finance the vessel, thus Atlantska Plovidba, applying their successful formula, rejuvenated the company fleet and so the "Arctic Mariner" was practically purchased overnight on Christmas Eve 1997 from the creditors. The finantial burden had a great impact on the company so the management decided to sell "Hercegovina" in order to meet bank obligations. Even though "Koločep" was a "hand-me-down" purchase, it was an acquisition from a domestic shipyard. At that moment, and especially on delivery of "Oluja" and "Sveti Nikola", no one was aware these would be the last newbuildings that Atlantska would purchase from the Adriatic shipyards. The company plans were somewhat different than what they turned out to be. A Letter of Intent was signed on 28th July 1999 with the Split Shipyard for two new Panamax newbuildings valued at 43 million US dollars. Unfortunately, this contract was never put into effect. Anxious to rejuvenate the fleet as soon as possible, Atlantska ordered a new Panamax building from "Uljanik" Shipyard and at the beginning of January 2001, the first instalment in the amount of 1,8 million dollars was remitted. The vessel was due to be delivered in 2003. However, as the shipyard systematically kept postponing the launching and delivery deadlines, Atlantska was forced to terminate the agreement.
Thus, in expectation of the Pula acquisition never to be, Atlantska Plovidba decided to purchase a secondhand ship, at the beginning of 2001, and the choice went to a seven year-old Panamax named "Romandie" owned by the leading Suiss company Suisse-Atlantique. The vessel of 75.460 deadweight tons was built at a renowned Danish Shipyard Burmeister & Wain Skibsvaerft in Copenhagen, type "Mark V", which was considered one of the best panamax type vessels in the world. Even the Italian Fincantieri purchased the building licence from the Danes.
Delivered in July 2001, this renamed acquisition "Petka" soon justified its superlative characteristics. For this reason, Atlantska never had any doubts whether to purchase another secondhand Panamax ship. At the end of 2003 they chose her one year younger sistership "Silvretta" built in Copenhagen in 1995. She was delivered by the Swiss company in February 2004 and renamed "City of Dubrovnik". The first vessel carrying this name was sold a year earlier to finance larger and newer ships. "Petka" was sold in 2000 for the same reason and soon after the technologically obsolete heavy lifters "Plitvice " and "Slano".
KOREA'S WORLD FIRSTLINGS
Atlantska Plovidba's long term expansion and growth reached its peak in the year of its golden anniversary. In November 2004, the company signed a contract with the Swiss company Massoel Gestion S.A. in Fribourg for the purchase of two dry bulk cargo vessels of 54.300 tons deadweight, valued at 50 million dollars. The ships "Unterwalden" and "Luzern" were built at Jiangnan Shipyard in China as ordered and according to plans submitted by the Norwegians. These vessels were, in the end, delivered to the Swiss - the first in June 1996 and second in April 1997. Atlantska Plovidba's "Unterwalden" crew members took over the ship on New Year 2005 in China, while "Luzern" set sail under the red and blue flag in the last days of March at the port of Al Shuwaikh in Kuwait. The charterers requested the ships remain under Swiss names a while longer and, following the lapsed agreed period, were renamed to traditional Dubrovnik names - "Gundulić" and "Getaldić".
With these two new acquisitions, Atlantska Plovidba reached the historical dimensions never accomplished before. In March 31st 2005, the company fleet counted: 18 tramper ships totalling 845.858 tons and three small cargo carriers of 3420 tons deadweight. This impressive fleet pool boasted an average of 14,2 years, most certainly within world average index. However, not even a month after the delivery of "Luzern", Atlantska sold its only acquisition purchased during the Homeland War - "Imperial".
Atlantska's most significant step in tramper fleet modernisation was taken in March 22nd 2004 by signing newbuilding contracts for two modern Panamax ships of 74.500 deadweight tons, valued at 64 million dollars. The contract was signed with Korean company STX Shipbuilding Corporation and its shipyard Chinhae. The two new Dubrovnik acquistions, Chinhae 1211 and Chinhae 1212, are among the first not only double bottom but double hull bulk carriers in the world. 225 meters in length and 32,2 meters in breadth, these vessels will take their place at the top of the maritime list when delivered in September and November 2007. Pending market trends, plans stand ready to replace the four "3.maj" Panamax ships. In addition, the first contract on building coaster ships was signed in October 15th 2004. Four vessels of 1650 tons deadweight each, 67 meters in length and 12,6 meters in breadth, a 1400 kW engine and designed for loading 104 containers, shall be built at the Kraljevica Shipyard Plc. Deliveries are scheduled from the beginning of May 2006 to May 2008. Keel laying of the first newbuilding 537 was ceremoniously marked on April 15th 2005.
ATLANTSKA BECOMES PUBLIC LIMITED COMPANY
In the nineties Atlantska Plovidba ended the process of privatisation and at the begining of the 2000 was listed on the Zagreb Stock Exchange as the public limited company. 25th July was the first day of Atlantska Plovidba shares trade which was continued to the present day under the label ATPL.