Leading American shipbuilder opens first office abroad in Croatia

(Photo: Metal Shark)

11 March 2019 – American shipbuilder Metal Shark has opened its first office outside of the United States in Croatia. 

Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark, which employs over 700 people, has opened its first office abroad in Rijeka on Croatia’s northern Adriatic coast. 

The office in Rijeka has a staff of around 15 shipbuilding, mechanical and electrical engineers whose task is to design a finished product which will then be built in the company’s headquarters in the United States. The Rijeka office is expected to grow to over 40 employees in the near future, Novi List reports. 

Metal Shark Croatia opened in Rijeka at the start of the year and the team are currently working on 12 projects. Metal Shark is a leading designer and builder of custom vessels for commercial, defence, and law enforcement applications worldwide.

“Metal Shark is a 100% privately owned by the Gravois and Allard family. The company dates back to 1986 when today’s co-owner Jimmy Gravois started designing and building recreational boats from aluminium, while propulsive growth began in the early 2000s after co-owner, Chrisa Allard joined. Metal Shark then started working intensively for the US Army and Navy. The Metal Shark Group has recently operated in three locations in the US states of Louisiana and Alabama, near New Orleans and Mobile, where it designs and builds aluminium and steel vessels with current capacities that support the construction of ships up to 120 meters long until it has decided extend its horizons to the European continent – specifically Croatia,” Managing Director of the Croatia office, Teuta Duletić said. 

Teuta Duletić (left) at the Rijeka office (Novi List)

Croatia is the first country outside the United States that Metal Shark has expanded to, and Duletić says the reason is due to the quality of engineers in Croatia. 

“The US has a population of 360 million people but does not have sufficient faculties to educate the competitive manpower needed for the shipbuilding industry. Following a detailed survey on engineering capacities around the world, Croatia and Poland were shortlisted. After visiting Rijeka in October last year, Metal Shark was assured that Croatia possesses a great maritime tradition, shipyards, well-established engineering companies and strong technical faculties capable of delivering quality engineer personnel,” Duletić said. 

Metal Shark 36 Fearless (Photo: Metal Shark)

A key factor in the decision to choose Croatia came after the American delegation visited the Technical University of Rijeka who expressed their readiness for intensive co-operation on development and research projects, and offered their expertise and resources, as well as the desire to participate in various industrial projects. 

Metal Shark has big plans in Croatia and it intends that the Rijeka office will grow to about forty employees. It will continue to partner the Rijeka Faculty of Engineering, from which it will recruit future engineers.

Currently, Metal Shark has 41 contracted prototypes in the order book, each of which will become a series of ships, so that the total number of physical vessels that needs to be built exceeds 500. 

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Source:Croatia Week