With the launch of revolutionary super yacht Scenic Eclipse just 12 weeks away, the tour and river cruise company has stepped in to employ its own workforce to complete the job.
Plagued by strikes and funding problems, the Uljanik Shipyard in Croatia is reportedly looking for buyers. Workers have been unpaid for weeks.
The $350 million vessel, the world’s first discovery yacht, has already been delayed once with passengers refunded fares.
Scenic Group founder Glen Moroney, who has personally been battling to keep the build on schedule with frequent visits to Croatia, sent a message to Australian travel agents at a company event on Saturday night.
According to reports in trade publication Travel Daily, he said his group had now employed 100 specialists, and was working with 500 subcontractors.
He sent assurances, according to the report, that the quality of workmanship was “exceptional” and there would be “many pleasant surprises” in store for passengers.
The Scenic Eclipse, with two helicopters and a submarine, will be able to travel to the arctic regions or sail on the Mediterranean in five-star luxury
Last week, Croatia’s Economic Minister Darko Horvat said famed Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and Scenic Group have both entered a data room to look over the yard’s books.
Yesterday, Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph headlined an article on the troubled yard: “Aussie sailing to the rescue of sinking yard”. The paper suggested Mr Moroney was being seen as the yard’s saviour, and local reports suggested he might order five more Eclipse-style yachts.
Asked by Cruise Passenger if Scenic was considering joining Fincantieri in a yard takeover, Mr Moroney said in a emailed response: “It’s amazing what the media print these days…let’s see what happens.”
And he added: “One thing is for sure the Scenic Group will not stop building ocean ships after Eclipse enters service.”
The Croatian Government is due to announce the results of a management restructure later this week.