Damen and Adriatic Marinas have signed a concession agreement with the Government of Montenegro for the operation of the upgraded Bijela shipyard in Boka Bay, Montenegro.

The agreement follows the completion of technical surveys and awarding of a contract by the government and the World Bank for the remediation of the shipyard.

The remediation works are expected to be completed by 2020 and will allow the consortium of Damen and Adriatic Marinas to convert Bijela shipyard into a superyacht repair and refit facility over a period of 12 months.

Since 2012, the consortium has been working with the government to develop plans for transforming Bijela shipyard.

Following transformation of Bijela shipyard, over 300 people are expected to return to the marine industry.

Damen CEO Rene Berkvens said: “Together with our partners, we take a long-term view on making yacht maintenance and refit in Montenegro a success. A strong customer base at Porto Montenegro and yacht maintenance and refit skills within the Damen Group will contribute to the success of this venture.

"We aim to restore the yard’s health, increase employment, and pursue fitting commercial opportunities both locally and internationally."

“Considering the yard’s current condition, we face a challenging period.

“However, with the continuous full support of the Montenegrin Government, and in close cooperation with our strong partner and the local community, we aim to restore the yard’s health, increase employment, and pursue fitting commercial opportunities both locally and internationally that will contribute to rebuilding activity levels.”

Damen has started the recruitment planning and training process as part of its apprenticeship programme.

Following completion of remediation works, the company also commenced planning for production of new lifting and repair equipment for the shipyard.

Damen noted that interim arrangements can be agreed with the Government of Montenegro and its remediation contractor Valgo to begin a preliminary yachting service in the western portion of the Bijela facility as early as 2019/20.