Tito’s Yacht ‘Galeb’ Seeking Shipyard For Overhaul

Total Croatia News

December 1, 2018 — A tender to restore the rusting hulk that was Yugoslav strongman Tito’s yacht “Galeb” has been released in hopes the dilapidated ship will be restored just as Rijeka becomes the European Capital of Culture, according to Morski.hr.

The call for bids to restore “Galeb”, Josip Broz Tito’s de facto personal yacht, seeks a shipyard willing to take on the HRK 27.6 million-task of overhauling the yacht ahead of its new life as a museum.

“We hope that Croatian shipbuilders will come forward and that their offers will be pedantic,” said Ivan Šarar, the head of Rijeka’s Department of Culture. The city will be accepting bids until January 3, 2019.

The project comes just as Uljanik, one of Croatia’s larger shipyards near Rijeka, undergoes a painful financial crisis with no clear solution. Ironically, Uljanik already overhauled “Galeb” once in 1952 after Allied forces sunk the ship in Rijeka during WWII.

The 380-foot ship was originally an Italian auxiliary cruiser, then a German minelayer during WWII. The Yugoslav Navy then used it as a school ship. Tito eventually made it his official nautical residence and floating embassy, using the ship for over 100 meetings with statesmen.

Tito most notably used Galeb to visit London in 1953, his first time leaving Yugoslavia since he broke away from the communist bloc and began a decades-long habit of playing the East and West against each other.

Galeb’s overhaul is part of a broader plan to spiff up the city in general, including an abandoned sugar factory. The two projects together are partially funded by the European Union, which is covering about HRK 68.8 million or 85 percent of the expenses.

If all goes to plan, the renovation of the exterior will be complete by the end of next year, followed by the rejuvenation of the insides. Ideally, Galeb will open its doors as a museum, as well as a public and catering space, by the middle of 2020.

The Museum of Rijeka has already begun collected restored copies of Galeb’s furniture, specifically from the salon and apartments, which belonged to Josip Broz Tito and his wife Jovanka. Next year, furniture from the large salon, dining room and guest cabins will be refurbished.

The Museum this year took over the ship’s inventory, including furniture, electronics and documentation.

Galeb has undergone several restorations since it was first created in 1938. This overhaul aims to return the ship to its Tito-era form, providing a historic link to Tito’s regime and the Yugoslav era.

Don’t let the rust and decrepit state of the ship fool you; Galeb has enjoyed a second life as a photo-du-jour among those who favor shooting decrepitude. It has also been featured in the British/American television series Strike Back.

For more on Galeb, click here.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment