Scenic Eclipse shipyard begins bankruptcy proceedings

Does the action mean another delay for the Australian-owned luxury discovery yacht?

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Croatia’s Uljanik Shipyard has been declared bankrupt by a commercial court in Pazin, with proceedings against the parent company, Uljanik Group, commencing earlier this week.

The bankruptcy proceedings follow a visit by a potential investor from China a few weeks ago, CSIC (China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation), which surprisingly resulted in “no concrete offer to date”.

Along with a site in Pula, Uljanik shipyards include the 3. Maj yard in Rijeka, Croatia.  The company has 1,118 employees, of which all but 60 are based in Pula.

Uljanik shipyard’s debt totals 164.8 million kuna (approx AU$36 million), including 76.5 million kuna (approx $16.7 million) in unpaid wages that has prompted on-again, off-again strikes for months.

It’s unclear if bankruptcy proceedings will impact Australian luxury cruise and tour company, Scenic, and the delivery of its first ocean-going luxury cruise ship, Scenic Eclipse. Delivery of the ultra-luxury vessel has been continually hampered by the ongoing industrial action at the Pula shipyard, resulting in a near 12-month delay of the ship.

It is also unclear of the impact on the previously flagged strategic partner consortium between Uljanik, Croatia’s DIV and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and their plans for future ships and a new Discovery Yacht division.

Late last month, Scenic Eclipse (identified by Uljanik as project “530”) was relocated to the Viktor Lenac yard, also in Croatia, where it entered dry dock. Eclipse was expected to remain at Lenac for “approximately 10 days” before returning to Pula in preparation for final fit-outs and sea trials.

Minutes from the court hearing filed on Monday by Uljanik Group state that there are “tenders for the continuation of the construction of 530”, but make no further mention of the delivery of the Australian-owned 200-passenger six-star vessel.

In February, Scenic expanded its own team of Cruise Ship specialists within the Pula shipyard, employing professionals from Finland, Italy, the UK and Norway to ensure the Scenic Eclipse build was kept on track.

“The expanded Scenic team took over the lead role in completing the ship with in excess of 115 directly employed specialists in cooperation with the shipyard’s remaining management team and more than 500 subcontractors,” Scenic said in February.

Comment from Scenic on the situation and its impact on the delivery schedule and 15 August maiden cruise of Scenic Eclipse had been sought by LATTE.

In the meantime, however, Scenic has released an updated video (below) following the completion of Scenic Eclipse’s drydock at the Lenac shipyard, which reiterates its scheduled 15 August 2019 inaugural sailing.

“Defining a new era of luxury and discovery, these final images show the sleek lines and profile of this incredible innovative luxury discovery yacht,” the video’s caption reads.

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