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Maritime Association of Peljesac

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(following text copied from the entrance ticket to the Maritime museum in Orebic)


(also known as Associazione Marittima di Sabioncello)

More than 100 years ago the joint stock company for “the construction and the exploitation of sea going ships" was established in 0rebic. This revolutionary event did not happen by chance on Peljesac. The peninsula was at the time, after Trieste, the strongest maritime center on the eastern part of the Adriatic having about 60 large sailing vessels. They sailed all the world over.

The steering committee met on May 1, 1865, for the first time. The meeting terminated with the following words:

"People from Peljesac, instead of buying useless clothes and things with your surplus money, buy shares in our maritime association."

This was the beginning of the Peljesac Maritime Association. It reached the peak of its development in 1873 when it had 90 large, beautiful sailing vessels with a total tonnage of 45000 and a total of 2000 crewmen, of which 250 were captains.

In 1875, equipment was bought for the government owned shipyard in 0rebic. The formal opening of the shipyard was celebrated by launching the new sailing vessel “Ruben S. “ during the visit of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph to Orebic. About 80 to 85 craftsmen from Korcula and Rijeka worked there.

After several years this successful maritime association which had a worldwide reputation for its new and beautiful ships with very capable and skillful captains and sailors, came upon hard times. Beginning in 1886 all sailing vessels belonging to the Peljesac Maritime Assoclation were sold one by one. Some of them were bought by people from Peljesac who sailed on them for many years By the end of 1889 all the sailing vessels and the property had been sold.

By 1891 the Peljesac Maritime Association no longer existed. The Association had previously decided to buy the newer steamships. This was never realized and today it is hard to say whether or not the Association would have lasted any longer if it had bought them at that precise moment. At any rate, the Peljesac Maritime Association played a significant role in the development of Orebic and other places on Peljesac in its relatively short existence."

Ships belonging to the Association:

The sailing ships bore biblical names: Adamo, Eva, Sara, Jafet, Isac, Jacob, Rebecca etc.

  • The Barque "Eber"

  • The Schooner Enrico
  • The Barque Pelesac

-Barque is a sailing ship, typically with three masts, in which the foremast and mainmast are square-rigged and the mizzenmast is rigged fore and aft.

-Schooner is a sailing ship with two or more masts, the aftermost mast taller or equal to the height of the forward mast(s),

Shares in the Association were owned by local people:

  • Bartul Buntjelic owned 12 shares of the schooner Enrico (1858 - 1866), 1 1/2 and then 3 1/3 of the barque Pelesac (1875 - 95) and 41 shares of the Maritime Association of Peljesac
  • Marija Buntjelic born Kriletic owned 1/2 of the bark Pelesac (1888 - 95) and 3 shares of the Maritime Association of Peljesac