The History and the Present

{gallery}newsletters/9/5{/gallery}The legendary school sailing ship, at which generations of former Yugoslav navy officers were educated, continues its life as part of the Montenegrin Navy…

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, just like in all other former Yugoslav states, the school ship “Jadran” has remained a synonym for the beauty of naval profession and the first steps of every navy officer in the region.

School under sails

This is a sailing ship of 720-ton displacement. It is 57 meters long, 8.8 wide, 2.64 high and the draft of the ship is 4.2 meters. It has three masts and 12 sails. It was built in Hamburg in 1931, and the then naval forces of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia purchased it two years later. It was used as school sailing ship for navy cadets, and was based in the Split harbor in Croatia. When Yugoslavia dissolved, the then Yugoslav People’s Army took all its property to Serbia and Montenegro, “Jadran” ended up in the Tivat harbor.

Cadets were educated on “Jadran” for seven decades, acquiring practical knowledge necessary for service on war ships. The ship sailed the Adriatic, Black, North, Red and Mediterranean seas, but it also sailed the Atlantic Ocean on three occasions. Last year, “Jadran” sailed for the first time with a multinational crew. Besides bearing members of the Montenegrin Navy, the crew consisted of the navies of Serbia, Italy, Romania, Greece, Albania and Slovenia. This presented implementation of the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense’s idea to offer the countries in the region services that “Jadran” as a “sailing classroom” for young navy officers can offer.

This reporter of the Atlantic Initiative had an opportunity to see “Jadran” at the ceremony of marking this ship’s 77th birthday. This is when the Italian Naval Force’s school ship “Palinuro,” with captain Andrea Bijelo, came to visit.

The Italian sailing ship entered the harbor of Tivat, and was welcomed by an Italian military attaché, brigadier general Mauro de Vincentis, the staff from the Italian Embassy in Podgorica and members of Montenegrin Navy, headed by the deputy commander, battle ship captain Željko Hercegovac.

At the ceremony held aboard the school ship “Jadran,” captain Bijelo was welcomed by Montenegrin Navy commander, battle ship captain Rajko Bulatović, who presented the structure within the Montenegrin Navy and its tasks, emphasizing that the cooperation with colleagues in Italy, which has been established years back, is constantly gaining on intensity. As stated by the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense, cooperation had so far been realized through education of staff and naval exercises within the ADRION initiative, as well as exchange of data through the Virtual Maritime Traffic Centre, a virtual network connecting operation centers of all naval forces of this initiative member states.

Partnership and cooperation

At this ceremony it was announced that the members of the Virtual Maritime Traffic Centre will soon be placed on board of some of the Italian warships engaged in international naval operations in the Indian Ocean and in the Gulf of Aden. It can also be expected that a number of Italians will participate in the future sailings of “Jadran.”

It remains to be seen whether any Bosnians and Herzegovinians will stand under its sails again. The territorial waters of Bosnia and Herzegovina are today controlled by our Border Police, and there is no need in our country for any significant enhancements in education of naval officers. However, for the purpose of international cooperation and partnership, any similar idea becomes a possibility.

Text and photo: Aner ZUKOVIĆ