As Morski writes on the 19th of January, 2019, solving island ferry connections in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, especially the fast-freight and ferry connections for Vela Luka in Korčula and Lastovo, was the subject of a meeting initiated by the parliamentary representative Branko Bačić with the heads of Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
County Prefect Nikola Dobroslavić initially emphasised the problems of the lack of appropriate vessels, praised the upcoming investments in port infrastructure, and seized the opportunity to discuss the upcoming daily connection between Dubrovnik and the island of Lastovo.
”Dubrovnik-Neretva County has already prepared eight funding projects from EU funds, ie through the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, and this is a great success. As far as boat connections are concerned, they’re better than they were before, but there are still faults to be found. The priority is to connect Lastovo with the county centre of Dubrovnik. This is a project that should have been realised a long time ago, but it’s positive that we’re finally close to sorting it out,” said the prefect, adding that everything should be done to make sure that children from Lastovo can keep going to high school in their county, more precisely on Korčula, and that the construction of pupil accommodation on Korčula is something that is indispensable. He stressed that a decision to co-finance the project should be made at the upcoming session of the Croatian Government in Dubrovnik.
Parliamentary Representative Branko Bačić said that he initiated this meeting in order to reach an agreement between Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, and Jadrolinija for the drafting of a better connection between the southern Dalmatian islands of Korčula and Lastovo, and to find a solution for the ferry service for the Split – Ubli line.
“We have to consider all the possibilities, and I still think the most realistic option is to purchase a ship of a higher capacity and a higher speed than the ships we’ve been using so far on that line, and to do that for as long as we don’t manage to build a new ship,” Bačić said.
The managing director of Jadrolinija announced that the company intends to purchase a second-hand ship, that there is a possibility that they still need to run some checks on, but that he wanted to hear from the representatives of the islands or the local self-government unit.
The Mayor and those from the administration, as well as participants of the meeting agreed that the purchase of a ship was the only realistic possibility at this time, as well as to take on the construction of a new ship for that line. They also demanded that the Jelena catamaran be permanently left to operate on the Split – Ubli line.
The director of the coastal maritime transport agency, Paula Vidović, stressed that maintaining the line for Lastovo at an annual level costs about 41 million kuna out of the total cost of maintaining all the lines, which amounts to about 320 million kuna.
Four major conclusions were agreed upon at the meeting:
1. It is necessary that Jadrolinija immediately looks to purchase a ship for the Split-Vela Luka-Lastovo line and continues to build a new ship for the same line.
2. There is full support for the construction of eight local and county-level ports in the area of Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
3. It was established that the Jelena catamaran, which has all of the necessary maritime capabilities alone, is permanently kept on the Split-Vela Luka-Lastovo line.
4. It is also necessary to turn the Dubrovnik-Lastovo line, for which the Government has already given its consent, into an everyday route to ensure a better connection between Lastovo with the centre of the county, and so that secondary school students from Lastovo can continue to attend secondary school on the island of Korčula.