Corona Cruiser Crisis? Not in Croatia: Work Starts on Eclipse II

Total Croatia News

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Photo credit: Scenic Group

April 24, 2020 – An important day for shipbuilding in Croatia, as work on new luxury polar discovery cruise ship Eclipse II begins. 

“Eclipse II” was ordered by MKM Yachts, a subsidiary of Scenic Group, an Australian corporation that has shipbuilding experience here in Croatia, because their “Scenic Eclipse”, the best luxury vessel of its kind in the world in 2019, was built in the Uljanik shipyard in Uljanik.

Scenic Group has plans to build four more cruisers such as “Scenic Eclipse” and “Eclipse II” in 3. Maj. In total, the value of this project is € 860 million, and this deal represents a new great opportunity for the revival of Croatian shipbuilding and the preservation of hundreds of jobs in Rijeka’s shipyard.

The start of work on Eclipse II, a new polar cruiser for the Australian Scenic Group, was marked in the 3. Maj dockyard, and Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Darko Horvat, emphasized that the polar cruiser was the first new ship to be built at the dockyard in four years.

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Some 1,000 tons of steel were delivered from North Macedonia to the dock required to build the Eclipse II polar cruise ship. Saša Čokljat, managing director of MKM Yachts, a Croatian subsidiary of Scenic, an Australian corporation that commissioned Eclipse II, explained the new business model in which MKM Yachts has taken a small part of Rijeka’s shipyard on concession and is using existing infrastructure and knowledge of Croatian shipbuilders in cooperation with Scenic’s expert team, to complete the construction of the Scenic Eclipse carbon copy. The project is a result of strong support and partnership with the Croatian Government and the 3. Maj shipyard, Cokljat mentioned in his speech.

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Čokljat also pointed out that this great project would have failed if the Croatian Government had not recognizes its potential at the very beginning of the negotiations. Prime minister Andrej Plenković, Minister of Economy Darko Horvat and Minister of Finance Zlatko Marić showed courage and readiness to “think outside the box”. That resulted in a project that offers a long-term development perspective to Croatian shipbuilding and the opportunity to preserve rich traditions in shipbuilding, continuity of production and knowledge, as well as hundreds of jobs in Rijeka.

“Today, during the crisis caused by the coronavirus, we are starting a new business that will, we believe, strengthen Scenic’s fleet, as well as Rijeka’s shipyard. As other cruising companies put their projects on hold, Scenic Group 3. Maj begins to create a common future for both Scenic and the Croatian shipbuilding industry on a sound basis. I believe the niche for the construction of research cruisers represents a sound direction for the revival of Croatian shipbuilding, its new face in the future. We can be proud that the construction of one of the best ships in the world in its class is taking place right here in Rijeka”, Čokljat added.

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“Eclipse II” will be the sister ship of “Scenic Eclipse”, a 6-star luxury vessel designed for excursions to both poles, which was voted by critics as the best luxury ship in the world in 2019. “Scenic Eclipse” is expected to arrive in the port of Rijeka between May 2 – 4. and it will remain in Rijeka until the coronavirus lockdown ends.

“Scenic Eclipse” was built and equipped in Uljanik, Pula – but given the development of the situation in Uljanik, the ship was completed by the owner himself instead of the shipyard. At the moment when the ship was only half-finished, Uljanik went bankrupt and into receivership. Instead of collecting 50 million euros in state guarantees, Scenic decided to give back the guarantees, keep the ship and continue construction with its own resources and manpower. A team of Croatian shipbuilding engineers, designers, and about a thousand other experts and workers were assembled working on the completion of the ship on a daily basis. Despite all the difficulties in the process of production, the final result was great, so Scenic Group owner, an Australian businessman Glen Moroney, decided to continue building new cruisers for his fleet right here in Croatia.

Now meet the original Scenic Eclipse.


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