History of Split shipbuilding industry

Shipyard industry Split is located in Split, the regional center of the eastern Adriatic coast and the second largest city in Croatia, whose history dates back to the Roman emperor Diocletian. Significant development of shipbuilding in this area began by establishing several smaller repair shipyards and their merging in 1932.

In the early 20th century, City of Split had seven shipyards. Nearby, Vranjic and Solin had their own shipyard each, which can be counted as capacities of Split shipbuilding. There wasn´t anything that those shipyards couldn´t do: from small repairs and maintenance, construction trawling fishing, sailing boats and motor yachts, passenger vessels, war, and patrol boats. It was the time between two world wars, in which Split grew from impoverished city in the edge of Habsburg Empire to the main port of Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Shipyards were located in all parts of the city: Matejuška in the west, Lučac in the south, Lora and Supaval bay on the north and east. Wherever the spectator looked, there were masts or sail. 

Historical sources revile us the earliest shipyard in the modern era, the shipyard "Košćina“, established in 1831 in district Lučac. Shipyard in the possession of the respectable family Košćina was operating on that location up to 1875. Then, because of digging the railroad ditch through Lučac and Manuš, it was dislocated on the west side of harbor Matejuška, under rocks of Tomić family, where today is ex-hotel "Ambassador".

In 1893, in the city port beneath the Katalinić hill, Dinko Ivanko built a small shack of the future shipyard "Ivanko". After five years of small repairs, he produced the first ship named "Famous Vis''. The "Ivanko" was an essential part of the route for steamships whenever they needed some kind of reparation. Later, the shipyard was recapitalized by new shareholders and changed the name to ''Shipyard D. Ivanko and Companions''. The First World War reduced the activities of the shipyard, so investment failed. On March 17, 1918 with the help of few Split businessmen, a new company for construction, repair, purchase, and sale of ships, called the ''South Split shipyard'' was established. Mr. Dinko Ivanko became a technical manager.

In 1922 the Maritime industry and technical enterprise "Brothers Matijević" was established, later renamed the "Marjan". A little dry dock under the cement factories "Betizza" was boasted with dock purchased in Trieste. In addition to its own electrical switchboard, shipyard of entrepreneurial brothers had a foundry, electrical and blacksmith workshops, while workshop for autogenous welding was the incredible wonder of technology for contemporary Split.

Shipyard ''Pakmor'' owned by engineer Paul Kosiček was prestigious such as the current yards for yacht-building. Fast power and high elegance sports boats were the trademarks of the shipyard in the western part of city harbor. It is interesting that little "Pakmor" also made the bodyshell for Ford truck. Founded in 1923, it was closed in 1960.

Aviation Champion Vatroslav Bulimbašić in 1930 at the Lora bay established shipyard for building the barge, sailing ships and boats. The silent witness of those time is the slipway which still exists in the naval port of Lora. In Lora bay shipbuilder Peter Jeričević from island Korčula also had a shipyard, closed in 1954 due to the construction of a navy port.

At the end of the thirties of last Century, during the construction of two submarines in the French shipyard ''Siege Social et Ateliers Chanties de la Loire'' from Nantes, the first contacts were established related to the engagement of the French capital in strengthening the shipbuilding industry. The first result of those discussions was a new company named ''Yugoslav Society for the manufacture and repair of ships" with headquarters in Belgrade established in March 1931. In late March 1931th, the new society purchased the maritime-industrial and technical company ''Marjan'', accurately - drydock, foundry and mechanical workshop, while on August 18, 1931th it also purchased shipyard ''South''and his real-estate in Glavičine in Supaval bay.

In the first year of operations, a newly established company conducted repairs to the 53 steamships, 2 sailing ships and 3 boats with a total of 35,751 tons. At the beginning of 1932, the company started the expansion of business areas and raising the production facilities. Started the construction of two slipways of 60 and 80 m, and several workshops. The General Assembly of shareholders of the ''Yugoslav Society for the manufacture and repair of ships" decided to rename the company, so on 11th August 1932th, it became Shipyard ''Split'' A.D., and dislocation of company headquarters from Belgrade to Split. On October 8, 1932, opening of shipyard ''Split'' was performed by the ceremonial launching of repair sailing boat ''Kozjak''. In 1933, it was built the first new building (Nwbg. 1), length of 11m with diesel engines, and ordered for the Royal Navy. On June 7, 1933 launched and delivered were concluded.

Under the French management, the higher technology developed a modern shipbuilding and shipbuilding of steel ships were introduced in the shipyard. They invested significantly, built two modern slipways, and profits began to emerge in 1938. They built ships for the Financial Guard, first one tug, then the destroyers "Ljubljana" and "Zagreb" for the navy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and two large passenger ship "Sarajevo" and "Šumadija''. At that time Split was the only city in Yugoslavia with shipbuilding industry. 

On the eve of the Second World War, accurately on July 30, 1936 in the shipyard ''Split'' started the new era that marked the beginning of modern shipbuilding in Split. That year first iron ship, on its own steam engine - tug ''Konjic'' was launched into the sea. With that event, the construction of iron ships by modern technology began, and that is the moment in which the transition from handicraft to industrial shipbuilding started. On that basis, after World War II, the modern world famous shipbuilding industry ''Split'' -  Brodosplit was built.

In the last seventy years, the shipyard has delivered more than 450 ships with a total of over 10 million tons dwt. 80 percent of Brodosplit´s production is made for the international market. Many of these ships have received recognition from prominent international institutions. Only in the last twenty years, ten ships from Brodosplit´s slipways were chosen as the best projects in their categories.

The authority of Brodosplit among the international shipbuilding circles and the trust of many clients in the company’s experts are the result of many years of successful operation and high quality of its wide product range.

The innovation and expertise of our shipbuilders in the construction of sophisticated ships of different types – passenger ships, containers, cargo vessels, oil product tankers or basically, whatever the client desires – are the main features and strongest points of Brodosplit as a successful and worldly recognized shipyard.


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