The First Large Cruise Ship Passes Under Croatia Pelješac Bridge

Jun 23, 2022

MS Bolette, operated by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is the first large cruise ship to pass under the newly built Pelješac bridge, scheduled to be open for traffic at the end of July 2022. The bridge is constructed to provide a link from the southeastern Croatian region to the rest of the country while bypassing Bosnia and Herzegovina's short coastal strip at Neum.

The Bolette is just over 237 meters long and 32.5 meters wide. The ship has 12 decks and can accommodate 1,380 passengers. The height from the water level to the highest point on the ship is 48.1 meters, while the maximum allowed height under the Peljesac Bridge is 55 meters.

Bolette had no problems entering the Neum area. The experienced Croatian Captain Glavić managed fantastically at the helm. And how could he not when he gained world fame by maneuvering a ship in the narrow Corinth Canal with a cruise ship 195.82 meters long and 22.5 meters wide, setting a new world record.

“Such statements have nothing to do with the profession. The Republic of Croatia has opened a maximum passage to Neum, 55 meters high, and every ship can pass. It passes as in the largest European ports. Large ships and cruisers have nothing to do here because it is a protected area through Natura 2000. Large propellers would dig up the seabed," Pipenbacher explained.

"Up to 35 meters in height would be enough for this bridge. So sailboats with a 25-meter high mast can pass. However, the area is too sensitive, and Neum has such a small port that a large ship can't even turn around," Pipenbacher added, emphasizing that they have four passages under the bridge 285 meters wide, so those passing towards Neum can choose where to go, which was confirmed by the Bolette.

However, the locals do not seem to be thrilled with the arrival of the first crusader. It has nothing to do with the Peljesac Bridge, but the people of Neum do not want mass tourism, city crowds and pollution brought by cruisers. They are also allegedly preparing a protest against cruise tourism.

The president of the Municipal Council of Neum, Daniela Matić, believes that the announced entry of Bolette into the Neum area is inadmissible.

"I think that something like this is inadmissible. Neum is not a port; therefore, big ships have nothing to do in our bay. The entry of this and similar ships into the Neum Bay means automatic endangerment of the ecosystem and pollution that will cause significant damage to Neum," Matic said in a statement sent to the BiH public just before the cruise ship sailed.

Photo credit: Cropix, T.B