The exhibition entitled SLOVENIAN SHIPS, 6 ships of Splošna plovba Piran was initially set up in the Gabrielli Palace in Piran within the framework of the Museum Summer Night in June 2019. That was actually the end of the five-year inter-institutional project, when the ships of Splošna plovba Piran, published in a series of six stamps of SLOVENIAN SHIPS, were presented to the general public every year with individual exhibitions.
In SPLOŠNA PLOVBA's fleet of 86 ships, the following stood out with a very special meaning:
the first Splošna plovba's ship, motor cargo ship MARTIN KRPAN; the first Slovenian transoceanic steam cargo ship ROG (I); the first transoceanic motor cargo ship PIRAN (I); the multipurpose motor cargo ship MARIBOR, one of the five sister ships of the Concord type; the liner motor cargo ship LJUBLJANA (III), which sailed on the MEDPAC line; and the motor bulk carrier PORTOROŽ (IV), the last purchase of Splošna plovba Piran in 2011.
Apart from these ships presented at the exhibition, all namesakes of the selected six ships are also described in short: KRPAN, ROG (II), PIRAN (II), MARIBOR (II), LJUBLJANA (I), LJUBLJANA (II), LJUBLJANA (IV), PORTOROŽ (I), PORTOROŽ (II) and PORTOROŽ (III).
In 2020, the exhibition SLOVENIAN SHIPS made a host appearance at the Regional Museum Kočevje, while in 2019, on the Museum Summer Night, it was opened at the Intermunicipal Museum Kamnik in Zaprice Castle, where it was supplemented with a content-rich exhibition featuring the cargo motor ship KAMNIK (Concord type).
Upon the invitation to make a host appearance at the History and Maritime Museum of Istria in Pula, we expanded the exhibition by presenting 11 ships built by order of Splošna plovba Piran between 1959 and 1987 at the Uljanik Shipyard in Pula.
These were the ships Goranka, Korotan and Trbovlje (abbreviated as KTG) for free-floating cargo transport. They sailed in the Splošna plovba’s fleet throughout their lifetime. These ships were followed by the bulk cargo motor ship Bela krajina, the largest ship in Splošna plovba’s fleet as well as the largest ship in the Yugoslav merchant navy. After her, the sister ships Ljubljana (II) and Ljutomer were built.
The Postojna (I) and Portorož (I) were motor liners as well as sister ships for general cargo transport, while the Kras (I) was a motor ship for bulk cargo and logs transport. After 1968, Splošna plovba Piran was averted from building ships in domestic shipyards. The Portorož (II), a motor ship for bulk cargo, logs and containers transport, was the first after 18 years to be built again "at home". She was followed by her sister motor ship Piran (II), the last Splošna plovba’s ship built at the Uljanik Shipyard Pula in 1987.
The exhibition held in Pula presents, in a modern interactive media manner, no less than 27 Splošna plovba’s ships, an ample part of our highly important maritime history and heritage of the only shipping company, its mariners and precious maritime tangible and intangible heritage. Various ship models, instruments and works of art from Splošna plovba’s ships are on display. The exhibition is further enlivened and complemented by multimedia screens with video projections and animations, documentary films by the mariners Gregor Strmčnik, Boris Vidmar and their fellow seafarers, as well as other material held by the Maritime Museum Piran, Splošna plovba, the Museum of Recent History of Slovenia, the Provincial Museum Maribor, the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia, the Archives of RTV SLO and many mariners. The film Navigare necesse est, directed by Radovan Čok and produced by ARSMEDIA d.o.o., is also on display.
The exhibition calls attention at the historical role of the Splošna plovba shipping company and the significance of its further existence for the preservation of Slovenian seafaring. The need for comprehensive protection of Splošna plovba’s tangible maritime heritage is also underlined, which in addition to ship models and nautical instruments, numerous works of art, gifts donated by business partners also includes diverse maritime historical material. This unique maritime collection should be preserved in full and re-presented to the public to the greatest extent possible.
In light of the current state of affairs, the following guiding thought of the exhibition is truly cruel and painful: “A nation without navigation is like a bird without wings”, as quoted by Dr Miroslav Pahor (1922–1981), the founder and director of the Maritime Museum Piran.
The exhibition was made possible in cooperation with the Post of Slovenia, Splošna plovba Piran, the Philatelic Union of Slovenia, the Philatelic Numismatic Society of Piran-Portorož, the Philatelic- Numismatic Society of Maribor, the Municipality of Piran, the Municipality of Maribor, the Faculty of Maritime Studies and Transport Portorož, the Secondary, Electro and Maritime School Piran, The Association of Commanders and Administrators in Maritime Transport, the Museum of Recent History Ljubljana, the Provincial Museum Maribor, the Maritime Museum Kotor, RTV SLO, the Archives of Slovenia and a number of mariners, specialist advisors, donors and sponsors.