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Presidential Yacht Galeb
|Out of service:||1943|
|Fate:||Captured by Germany|
|Out of service:||1944|
|Fate:||Sunk by Allies|
|Out of service:||1991|
|Fate:||Docked after disbanding of Yugoslav Navy|
Yugoslav Navy (JRM) training ship Galeb, also known as The Peace Ship Galeb (Brod Mira Galeb), was used as an official yacht by the late President of the Yugoslav Republic, Marshal Josip Broz Tito. The ship attained an iconic status among the peoples of Yugoslavia in this role, as well as among the many diverse nations and members of the Non-Aligned Movement. "Galeb" is Serbo-Croatian for "seagull".
Galeb was built in 1938 in Genoa as the auxiliary cruiser Ramb III, destined for service in the banana trade between Africa and Italy. After the armistice in 1943, it was taken over by the Germans and turned it into a minelayer under the name Kiebitz. While in Rijeka it was sunk on 25 November 1944 by Allied aircraft. Brodospas (SHIPSAVING) from Split, raised Kiebitz in 1948, after which it was taken to the Pula ship building company Uljanik where in 1952 it was reconstructed as a school ship of the Yugoslav Navy under the new name Galeb. Tito embarked on it the first time in 1952 in Podgora, where he conducted an inspection of the boats in the YWN from the deck of the ship. In the next 27 years Galeb was in Tito’s service for a total of 549 days, of which, for 318 days, the Marshal was on board, sailing 86,062 nautical miles (159,387 km) over the Adriatic and other seas on political missions. By Tito’s death, 102 world statesmen had stayed on Galeb.
Galeb is 117 metres long and 15 metres wide with a displacement of 5,754 tonnes. With the speed of 17 knots (31 km/h) it is powered by two Fiat diesel engines of 7,200 horsepower in total. The Italians, at one point, offered to SFRJ to remove them and exhibit them in the Fiat museum in Torino. In return, they offered to build an entirely new, modern, school ship, but the Yugoslavs declined.
The ship first came to international attention in March 1953 when it brought Tito from Yugoslavia to the River Thames, following the invitation from the British Government headed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. It was the first visit to United Kingdom of a communist head of state. Due to the yacht's size, Galeb moored at Greenwich. Proposals for the ship to dock at Malta en route to Britain were refused by the islands' Governor.
Tito loved the glamour the yacht conferred on his regime. He used it for parties, foreign visits and diplomacy. World leaders entertained there included Nikita Khrushchev, Muammar Gaddafi and Indira Gandhi. Tito was particularly excited to welcome Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who played Tito in the 1973 war epic The Battle of Sutjeska.
Galeb was used by Marshal Tito from 1948 till his death in 1980 when the yacht became the property of the Montenegrin government following the nation's breakup in 1991. It was sold to John Paul Papanicolaou, the same Greek yachtsman who owned the yacht Christina O. It was moored on the quayside of the Viktor Lenac Shipyard in Kostrena, a suburb of Rijeka for a time before being towed to its curent location on the Rijeka wateefront. The Croatian authorities placed a preservation order on Galeb in the hope of acquiring the vessel to become a museum ship. In September 2008 the boat partially sank on its right side after a leak developed in its hull. On 22 May 2009, the ship was sold to city of Rijeka for US$150,000, subsequently confirmed by the High Mercantile Court of Croatia.
Since then it has occasionally been opened to the public for art exhibitions, conferences and the like. On 16 July 2014, the Mayor of Rijeka announced that the Galeb would be leased out for mixed use, partly as a museum incorporating the former President's private rooms and some of the engineering space, and partly for commercial activities such as restaurants and bars. Tenders for private sector investment were invited, but produced no response. Funding of EUR 4.5 million has now been secured as part of Rijeka's successful bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2020. The work is expected to be carried out in 2019.
Heads of state
The following heads of state have been entertained on the Galeb:
- Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru - India
- President Gamal Abdel Nasser - Egypt
- Queen Elizabeth II - UK
- Secretary General Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev - USSR
- Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev - USSR
- Emperor Haille Selassie - Ethiopia
- UN Secretary General and President Kurt Waldheim - Austria
- President Nicolae Ceauşescu - Romania
- Colonel Muammar Gaddafi - Libya
- Prime Minister Indira Gandhi - India
The following people have been entertained on the Galeb:
Ships of comparable role, configuration and era
- "Rijeka is buying Galeb :: Visit-Montenegro News Archive". Visit-montenegro.com. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- "1953: Marshal Tito makes historic visit to London". BBC, London. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- Spehnjak, Katarina (2005). "Josip Broz Tito's Visit To Great Britain In 1953" (PDF). Review of Croatian History. 1 (1): 273–294. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- "Marshal Tito’s 384" Yacht, Galeb To Be Auctioned Off – Sybarites". Sybarites.org. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- "Titov Galeb počeo tonuti" [Tito's boat Galeb has begun to sink]. jutarnji.hr (in Croatian). 9 September 2008. Archived from the original on 2014-07-24. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
- "Croatian exhibition spotlights Tito’s yacht". Times of Malta. June 17, 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
- "Share Conference Moves to Croatia". Still In Belgrade. March 18, 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- "Tito's legendary yacht to become permanent museum". Ukraine Today. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- "Rijeka’s Bid Book for the Title of European Capital of Culture". Rijeka 2020. February 24, 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
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