The Atlantic Navigation Co. Ltd.
The cargo ships and bulkers of this big Croatian fleet, Atlantska Plovidba (Atlantic Navigation Co. Ltd.), have traded worldwide for over sixty years, and have in recent years discharged coal, biomass or iron ore in the big British ports of Tyne, Tees, Immingham, Port Talbot and Belfast. Dubrovnik is a beautiful city and is known as ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic’, with the history of Atlantska Plovidba closely tied to that of Dubrovnik. The current deep sea fleet is twenty large Handysize, Panamax and Kamsarmax bulkers of 1.2 million dwt in service or under construction. The Kamsarmax bulker AP Argosy completed in April, 2012 takes her name literally from the term ‘Argosy’ or a ‘Ship out of Dubrovnik’. Two bulk carriers of 38,700 dwt recently entered service in 2016 as AP Dubrava and AP Revelin and built to the award winning ‘Green Dolphin’ design by Chinese shipyards.
Dubrovnik was founded in AD 656 as the city of Ragusa by the inhabitants of the Greco-Roman city of Epidaurum, now the village of Cavtat, after the Avar people had sacked their city and other cities along the Adriatic coast. Ragusa accepted a ruler from the court of Venice in 1252 and was of major importance on the Adriatic as a maritime port in the 15th and 16th centuries. During this period, the power and wealth of Ragusa increased so much that her ships traded to every port in Europe. The city was dependent upon ships, which were well found, well maintained and rigorously surveyed.
A statue was erected in 1638 in the Rector’s Palace to Miho Pracat, the only commoner to be so honoured in the one thousand year history of the Dubrovnik Republic. He was a wealthy shipowner from the island of Lopud, who left his wealth to the Dubrovnik Republic. He had learnt the importance of persistence in business by watching tenacious lizards climbing the high walls of his father’s house, failing to reach the top on several attempts but finally achieving their goal. During one of his voyages, he broke a pirate siege and brought corn to the hungry people of Charles V. The king granted Pracat an audience and offered him honours, gold and numerous compliments. The shrewd man of Lopud responded in kind by refusing all gifts, and requested only the king’s serviette, which is now displayed in a museum on his native island of Lopud.
As an early precursor to the Plimsoll Line, Ragusa laid down a regulation for the amount of freeboard of ships when laden. Ships were chartered out to the Spanish Armada for the invasion of England, one of this fleet was wrecked on the Hebrides in a storm. The name of Dubrovnik, which means ‘well wooded’, first began to be used in the 18th century, and it was officially adopted in 1918 after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Dubrovnik is very beautiful, and this charming old city is flanked by long high walls and protected by a moat on the landward side. The main pedestrian street of the Placa was originally a narrow inlet between two islands and was filled in with rocks in ancient times to unite the city. The best way by far to enjoy this city is to climb the steep stairways at either of the two gates to the city and walk the encircling walls, giving enchanting vistas.
Ragusa Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.
This shipping company was formed in 1881 and by 1914, Dubrovnik shipping companies owned 38 steam tramps all built in British yards and funded by local capital. The Napried and Unione shipping companies united under the name of the Ragusa Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. (Dubrovacka Parabrodarska Plovidba) in 1920. Some of their big steam tramps included Daksa of 4,260 grt built in 1911 at the John Readhead yard in South Shields with five holds and a split superstructure between the bridge and engineers accommodation. She was lost at sea off Cape Corrubedo, foundering on 26th January 1930 off the Spanish and Portuguese border lands with the loss of all of her crew while on a voyage from La Goulette to Rotterdam with iron ore. Two sister tramps of 6,450 dwt were also built by the Readhead yard in South Shields in 1905 as Srgj, and the Greek owned Maria Immaculata, with the latter purchased by the Dubrovnik company in 1922 and renamed Dubravka.
Durmitor of 5,613 grt was built in 1913 by Lithgows as Plutarch and was purchased in 1931 with the company owning two dozen ships in 1933. Five years later it changed its name to Dubrovacka Plovidba with the intention of starting to build diesel powered tramps. The steam powered Dubrovnik of 9,150 dwt was completed by Lithgows in 1938 as the last new tramp for the company. At the outbreak of World War II, a big fleet of eleven steam tramps and fourteen coasters was owned, the majority of which were lost to Axis enemy action. The survivors formed part of the State owned Adriatic Tramp Shipping fleet in 1946.
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