It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to Ship Galeb and “At a Standstill” exhibition.
The City of Rijeka and Galeb share a long common history. Galeb, at the time named Kiebitz and sailing under German flag, sunk on November 25, 1944 in the allied attack on the Port of Rijeka at whose bottom it rested until 1948. A frequent visitor to Rijeka during its twenty-seven years of service as Marshal Tito’s presidential yacht, at the end of the 1990s, Galeb sailed into Rijeka’s Viktor Lenac Shipyard where its then owner intended to turn it into a luxury yacht that would be made available to tourists. Unfavorable financial circumstances, however, did not allow the renovation to take place, and due to the ship’s deteriorating condition as well as taking into consideration the ship’s historical and cultural value, on October 10, 2006 the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia declared Galeb Croatia’s cultural good. At the time Galeb’s overall state was a cause of concern as certain parts of the ship’s interior were severely threatened and the ship was in the danger of sinking. Thus, in June 2007 Croatia’s Ministry of Culture issued a warning to its then owners, Liberia based Placid Sea S.A., and drew their attention to the need of undertaking immediate measures of protection of this cultural good and preventing its further decline. However, the owners remained silent. In accordance with the Act of Protection and Preservation of Cultural Goods, the Ministry of Culture concluded that the owners do not provide adequate care for Galeb and that this invaluable cultural good was in danger of further damage and destruction. Taking into consideration that Galeb was now in the area under the administration of the City of Rijeka, in December 2007 City Council declared the City of Rijeka’s Department of Culture the ship’s temporary guardian and committed to take the necessary measures aimed at the preservation and protection of this cultural good at the owners’ expense. In order to save Galeb from further deterioration, in 2008, thanks to the finances made available from the Preservation of Monuments Fund and on the grounds of conditions issued by the Ministry of Culture’s Department of Conservation in Rijeka, the ship underwent immediate repairs, and in 2009, after the City of Rijeka was declared the owner of the cultural good Galeb, in cooperation with the Conservation Department and in accordance with the opinion issued by Croatian Register of Shipping, the works on the necessary repairs of all the leakages on the ship’s hull and decks resumed in January 2010.
Galeb’s glory days when in its salons Tito, Nehru and Nasser drafted the Non-Allied Movement and when it was home to leading statesmen, scientists and artists of the world during its visits to twenty-nine ports on three continents have not passed. They are the capital Galeb’s future rests on. After its thorough renovation conducted in accordance with the ship’s original design and the modern needs, as well as museological and naval standards, Galeb is envisioned as a museum and a memorial center. Regardless of whether it will remain at dock in the Port of Rijeka and serve as a museum and a conference center where its rich history and maritime qualities will be made available to public or whether it will, in cooperation with a strategic partner, be renewed to a sailing condition and, aside from spending the three months a year in the port with its exhibition open to public, cruise the seas as a tourist ship and a sailing museum, Galeb’s active life is still ahead of us. Following this strategy, the project of “At a Standstill” allows for a specific view of Galeb’s contextual and special advantages for high-quality presentation of visual art, while the curatorial concept of the exhibition boldly faces the complexity and multitude of meanings Galeb evokes in the consciousness of the citizens of Croatia, the region and the world. Yet again Galeb stands at one of its many new beginnings.
Mayor of Rijeka