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Netherlands-based superyacht specialistis set to renovate and redevelop Montenegro’s historic Bijela shipyard to make it an exemplary refit and repair facility for yachts.
Damen is working in conjunction with the Montenegrin authorities and Adriatic Marinas on the project, which has been underway in various forms since 2012. The former shipyard, which is located in the UNESCO-protected Boka Bay, has been at the centre of a number of discussions over the years.
The situation is moving considerably further and quicker than at any other point, however, with a Concession Agreement for the shipyard signed on 30th November after a raft of technical surveys and inspections. The agreement confirms that the facilities will be modified over the coming 12 months; although completion is not due until 2020, the superyacht refit and repair yard could be in operation as soon as late 2019.
The project is expected to create over 300 jobs for the local area, and recruitment and training via Damen’s own apprenticeship scheme has already begun. Once developments have progressed further, the firm has planned for high-specification lifting and repair equipment to be brought in as well.
The Bijela shipyard is based in the same idyllic bay as vaunted superyacht hub, and Damen chief executive Rene Berkvens claims that this proximity will provide the new facilities with a “strong customer base”.
“Together with our partners we take a long-term view on making yacht maintenance and refit in Montenegro a success,” Berkvens said. “With the continuous full support of the Montenegrin government, and in close cooperation with our strong partner and the local community, we aim to restore the yard’s health, increase employment and pursue fitting commercial opportunities both locally and internationally that will contribute to rebuilding activity levels.”
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