Shipbuilder Metal Shark announced March 13 that it has established a foothold across the Atlantic with the opening of a dedicated European engineering office in Rijeka, Croatia.
The facility currently employs more than 15 naval architects, maritime engineers’ machinery systems engineers and electrical engineers who collaborate with Metal Shark’s domestic engineering team in support of the company’s shipbuilding operations at its three facilities in Alabama and Louisiana.
Metal Shark said that efforts are underway to significantly expand in Croatia, with the goal of a 40-person, full-time staff by year’s end.
“Metal Shark’s success is driven by our ongoing commitment to in-house engineering, which allows us to quickly and capably design complex, custom, high quality vessels,” said company CEO Chris Allard. “While we will continue to recruit domestically and to partner with universities to educate the next generation of America’s ship designers and engineers, the establishment of Metal Shark Croatia allows us to scale up our engineering resources at a rate that would be otherwise impossible.”
In recent years Metal Shark has significantly grown its domestic USA-based engineering team, which numbered 15 just five years ago and exceeds 60 today. However, an expanded focus on autonomous technology, LNG and hybrid propulsion systems and other technologies dramatically underscored the need for increased engineering capacity and capability.
Following two years of research into engineering capabilities worldwide, Croatia was short-listed by Metal Shark, with key attributes including the country’s shipbuilding heritage, its many shipyards and technical faculties, and its pool of highly trained naval architects and maritime engineers.
In 2018, Metal Shark Croatia was formed and Teuta Duletic was recruited as managing director.
“Our proud maritime tradition as well as our educational and technical resources all combined to make Croatia the ideal choice for this effort,” said Duletic. “We also enjoy intensive research and development cooperation with the Technical University of Rijeka on a wide range of industrial projects. The university’s expertise, resources and willingness to support our efforts all played a role in Metal Shark’s decision to invest in Rijeka.”
At Metal Shark Croatia, vessels are 100 percent digitally designed. Engineers are actively involved in all phases of project development, from vessel design, classification, and documentation, to the construction and design drawings required for shipbuilding. Many of Metal Shark Croatia’s engineers have been trained in the United States as well as in Europe, and all are familiar with Metal Shark’s modern shipbuilding practices.
Metal Shark said the facility uses the same advanced engineering software and project management systems used in Metal Shark’s USA facilities to assure seamless collaboration and communication.
“While we are a remote facility, we are fully integrated with the rest of Metal Shark and we collaborate extensively in a shared team environment,” said Duletic. “By working both ends of the clock, we are able to quickly and capably deliver highly complex and custom production-ready vessels for Metal Shark’s growing range of markets.”
Caption for top photo: An engineer adds custom features to a Metal Shark center console law enforcement vessel at Metal Shark Croatia. (Photo courtesy of Metal Shark)