Tito's legendary yacht to become permanent museum

Moored in Rijeka.

16 July, 18:31

    TITO [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20030129 ] TITO [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20030129 ]

    (ANSAmed) - ZAGREB, JULY 16 - The legendary, Italian-manufactured yacht of Marshall Josip Broz Tito on which the Yugoslav socialist leader took trips abroad for some thirty years will be loaned on a concessionary basis to private individuals. The decision was made by the mayor of Rijeka, Vojko Obersnel. The city has been the owner of the yacht since 2009, when it purchased it in very bad shape. The mayor sees the decision as an entirely sensible one that will at the same time endow the Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea with a museum, which will be set up in the cabins used by Tito and a part of the engineering rooms (1,500 square meters). The remaining 3,000 square meters will be for money-making purposes, most likely in the form of restaurants and bars. The concession will be given for thirty years with an estimated worth of just over 10 million euros. The call for offers will be published in September. The ship will probably be moored in the Rijeka port at the sea wall near old cranes recently restored for their historical value. The ship was built by Genoa-based Ansaldo and beginning in 1938 was used by the Italian Merchant Marine as a banana boat.

    During WWII it was converted into an auxiliary cruiser and used in escort mission. In 1943 it was captured by the Germans, who used it to lay mines. It was then hit and sunk during an Allied bombardment of Rijeka in 1944. The Yugoslavs recovered, rebuilt, and renamed it Galeb ('stork'). It was initially used as a school for naval officers in training, becoming in 1952 Tito's official ship with a 200-man crew. The yacht gained notoriety in 1953 during the first of many trips abroad by the founder of the Non-Aligned Movement, when Tito sailed on it to London to meet with Queen Elizabeth II.

    From that point until Tito's death in 1980 it sailed some 100,000 nautical miles and stopped in 18 countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. It hosted 102 heads of state and government, including Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, US president John F.

    Kennedy, and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. It has been calculated that Tito spent 308 days onboard. During the 1990s after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the yacht was moored in a state of abandonment in a Montenegro port.

    In May 2006 it was on the verge of being sold off as wreckage when the Croatian government prevented its demolition by proclaiming it a piece of cultural heritage. (ANSAmed).

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