Tito’s ship attracting international attention.
Under the title “Abandoned Yacht of Yugoslavia’s Past”, Reuters has published a report on the famous ship Galeb (Seagull), reports Novi List on December 27, 2015. Reuters writes that the City of Rijeka has recently announced plans to turn the famous Tito’s ship into a floating museum moored in the port of Rijeka and adds that the now rusty, 117 metre-long ship used to be a symbol of luxury and was used by Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito from the 1950s to his death in 1980. It has hosted numerous world leaders and celebrities, like Khrushchev, Gaddafi, Indira Gandhi, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
The fate of Galeb has turned into an never-ending story, at least when it comes to the use of budgetary resources to preserve the ship. Even some of SDP’s local coalition partners believe that taxpayers funds should be used in some other way. Recently, at a meeting of mayor of Rijeka with his closest associates, the item Galeb was again included in the capital investments section of the city budget. “Not a single proposal was received during the recent tender for granting the concession for exploitation of this cultural property. Therefore, we continue to plan to spend funds for servicing, maintenance and for the crew (captain and three crew members) in the amount of 805,000 kuna”, the proposal stated.
It was not clear why the city budget is paying salaries for a captain and three crew members, since the ship has been unable to move from its dock for many years. “In accordance with the decision made by the Rijeka Harbour Master, it was determined that a certain minimum number of crew members is necessary to carry out all measures to protect the security and safety of the vessel. The City of Rijeka employs a captain and three crew members, since it is necessary to ensure that there is constantly at least one crew member on the vessel. For members of the ship’s crew, we have spend 440,000 kuna in gross salaries this year”, says Ivan Šarar, head of the City Office for Cultural Affairs. Asked about the future plans for Galeb, Šarar answered in one sentence: “As far as future plans for Galeb are concerned, we are currently working on an application for EU funds.”
So, it seems that this will be another important cultural project which will become just one of many unfulfilled promises in Rijeka, similar to plans for the construction of main public library and a new museum. No one knows how long will this situation continue, years after the City of Rijeka bought the ship for more than eight million kuna. Since there are no clear plans for what to do with it and what is the schedule when it comes to applying for European funds, it is not hard to understand the dissatisfaction of all those whose funds from the city budget have been cut.