The ocean-going cargo vessel Piran was the first brandnew ship to be custom-built for the shipping company Splošna Plovba (“General Navigation Company”). It joined the company’s fleet in 1959. For a time it was not only the largest Slovene cargo ship but the largest ship in the Yugoslav merchant fleet.
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Splošna Plovba initially used it in the tramp trade but the Piran also became the company’s first ship to operate a new round-the-world line. It was built in 1959 by the Hakodate Dock Co. Ltd of Hakodate, Japan, in the same shipyard where the Rog, badly damaged in a storm, was repaired in February 1956, and with which Splošna Plovba had maintained good business contacts.
The Piran was 158.2 m long with a beam of 19.7 m and a deadweight tonnage of 16,076 tonnes (10,562 BRT, 6,136 NRT). It was powered by a 5,295 kW (7,101 hp) engine and had a top speed of 13.5 knots (nautical miles per hour). Splošna Plovba continued to use the Piran to transport general cargo and bulk cargo until 1986, when the ship was sold for scrap to the steelworks group Slovenske Železarne and scrapped in Split, Croatia that same year.
The arrival of a brand-new ship of modern design in the Bay of Piran in the summer of 1959, off the coast of the town in which Splošna Plovba had its registered office, was a historic event and an important day not only for the Socialist Republic of Slovenia (as it was then), but for the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a whole. The scene has been immortalised in numerous photographs and film recordings.