Photo: Dubina inženjering d.o.o.
Croatia is the most desirable yachting destination in the Mediterranean, thanks to its indented coastline, the preservation of the way of life on the coast and islands, the quality of nautical infrastructure, safety while staying in Croatia and its thematic itineraries.
There are more than a thousand and five hundred harbours and bays on the Adriatic coast that offer safe berthing. According to data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, there were 14,249 vessels on permanent berth in the ports of nautical tourism in 2019, which is 4.6% more than the year before. The revenue of nautical tourism ports increased by 72.5% compared to the previous year and amounted to HRK 918 million, the greatest part of which, HRK 652 million, was realised from berth rentals.
Nautical tourism is experiencing not only steady growth but also global challenges related to environmentally friendly technologies and environmental protection and sustainability, which it must respond to if it is to continue having its star status. – Deadweight anchors, concrete blocks, are a thing of the past. Many serious countries have banned this type of anchoring because it destroys the flora and fauna of a place, says Gordan Župa, the owner of Dubina Inženjering, a renowned company with 20 years of experience in the construction of mooring systems and other types of underwater works. Dubina is a pioneer in installing ecological mooring systems in Croatia, with the first permanent moorings constructed in Komiža in 2008 and in Dubrovnik, in front of the Kaše breakwater, a year later. This was followed by ACI marina Pula, marina Agana, and the bays of the Lastovo Nature Park. Permanent mooring systems are adapted to a particular type of sea bottom: one type is used for rocky sea beds, and another, the so-called, Manta-Ray, for sandy seafloors.
– I’ve driven that jackhammer for thousands of times and after a metre there would be rock, while the anchor was designed for silt. It just doesn’t work here; in Dalmatia you get rock, sand and silt combined. And that is how the idea was born, why not design a mooring system suitable for every soil, says Gordan Župa. His project of an anchor that can be used in sea beds composed of a combination of loose sediments and rock, suitable for vessels and wave fields with variable characteristics and for anchoring boats and vessels up to 30 m in length – which accounts for a total of 80% of vessels in sea and river traffic, was wholeheartedly supported at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy in Split – becoming a partner in the project.
Dubina Inženjering received an EU grant for a project called PINNA NOBILIS SSMA-19, as part of the call Increasing the Development of New Products and Services Arising from R&D Activities – Phase II and the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020. The total project value is HRK 3,792,199.21 and the funding provided by EU is HRK 2,338,018.51. The deadline for completing the project is three years. The first phase in the research will be carried out at the Hydrotechnical Laboratory of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy at the University of Split, one of the most modern laboratories in the region, which is scheduled to open in November. Veljko Srzić, PhD, assistant professor and a member of the Hydrotechnical Laboratory, says it will be the first project whose research activities will be carried out in the laboratory. – At the Hydrotechnical Laboratory, we have a tank with a wave generator, and a channel that has an integrated wave generator with the simultaneous possibility of simulating sea currents, and it is this infrastructure that allows us to approximate real conditions in the sea. We will simulate waves specific to the Adriatic as well as various microlocations; we will use models of vessels with mooring systems where we will measure the pull forces and thus provide data to Dubina Inženjering that will be used as the basis for the full development of the product. Of course, a prototype of the new anchor will be used, in order to make the carrying capacity and behaviour in conditions of combined soil and extreme wind conditions, Veljko Srzić, PhD, explains.