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.
Following the recent completion of technical surveys, the signing of the Concession Agreement for the yard took place last week on 30 November, 2018. It has been agreed that, following the completion of the remediation works in early 2020, the site will be transformed over the proceeding 12 months into a superyacht refit and repair facility.
Damen’s CEO Rene Berkvens explains that the vision for the project is to establish a yacht refit and maintenance market in Montenegro for the long-term. "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," he explains.
"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.”
While the project has been a long time in the making, the government of Montenegro has been convinced by the potential resulting benefits that the redevelopment will bring to the local economy. Bijela, Herzeg Novi is the historic homeland of the maritime sector in Montenegro, and it is anticipated that over 300 people will eventually return to working in the marine industry there.
“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,” adds Adriatic Marinas' Managing Director David Margason.
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.
In the meantime, it is hoped that interim arrangements can be agreed with the Government of Montenegro, and its remediation contractor Valgo, to allow a preliminary yachting service to be operated in the western portion of the Bijela site. This could be in operation as early as winter 2019/20.
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