NewsChallenges ahead for Bar-Bari ferry line: A window to the world closes...

Challenges ahead for Bar-Bari ferry line: A window to the world closes for Montenegro

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As another tourist season approaches, Montenegro finds itself uncertain about the resumption of the Bar-Bari maritime route to Italy. Without this vital ferry link to our neighboring coast, Montenegro risks losing a significant gateway to the world. Meanwhile, journalists scrutinizing the operations of the Bar Shipping Company suggest potential issues that may warrant the attention of the Special Prosecutor.

For years, residents have only memories of the ferry, longing for the restoration of the maritime connection to Italy. Last year, this desire was vividly expressed when seventeen-year-old Emir embarked on a bicycle journey with his father to Italy in protest against the discontinuation of the Bar-Bari line. Today, Emir reminisces about that journey, echoing a story passed down through generations.

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“My father often recalls how his father traveled by boat sixty years ago. My grandfather was among the passengers, yet here I am, unable to do the same in the 21st century,” lamented Emir Alković.

Now, Emir’s father, Ćazim Alković, finds himself in a position to potentially revive that connection as he recently assumed the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bar Shipping Company. However, despite his position, the challenges ahead are formidable, and swift solutions seem unlikely.

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“It’s unrealistic to expect the Bar-Bari service to resume this season. While there have been discussions about a Bar-Ancona route, nothing is certain. Organizing such operations at such short notice is not feasible,” stated Ćazim Alković.

While efforts are made to find solutions, it’s essential to reevaluate all options, as highlighted by veteran journalist Biljana Dabić, who has closely followed the Bar Shipping Company for nearly two decades.

“The company’s history leaves behind both proud achievements and concerning issues that may warrant investigation. From having over forty cargo-passenger ships decades ago to now operating only four cargo vessels, coupled with a substantial debt to the Montenegrin state, the situation is complex. Without state support, it’s challenging to envision the Bar Shipping Company acquiring a new vessel and reviving the route,” commented journalist Biljana Dabić.

As Montenegro awaits potential government assistance, the absence of the Bar-Bari line underscores the loss of a crucial link to the outside world, reminding us of the importance of exploring all avenues for its revival.

“In our hands lies the opportunity to open a window to the world; it’s up to us to seize it,” concluded seasoned seafarer Željko Boljević.

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