The Rumija was the royal yacht of Montenegro for over ten years . As a ship with machine propulsion and a shallow draft, she gained historical importance in the Balkan Wars and at the beginning of the First World War; because it alone enabled the kingdom and the allied Serbia to be supplied with food, troops and war material.
Sultan Abdülhamid II bought the two-masted steam yacht Zaza in the United Kingdom as a gift for Prince Nikola of Montenegro . On January 1, 1905, the yacht reached Pristan, where the Turkish was replaced by a Montenegrin crew. The captain was Niko Janković from Igalo . In the first few months, the royal family traveled the Montenegrin coast from the Bay of Kotor to Albania . On March 23, 1905, Prince Nikola took part in the celebrations for the start of construction of the pier in Antivari . When Danilo of Montenegro traveled on the Bojana four months later , it was decided to rename the ship to Rumija . On January 14, 1912, Ivo Đokić from Antivari took over the helm of the ship. The machinists were Labud Nut (1905), Stefan Ingriz (1910) and Ivan Richter (1913).
In the Balkan Wars from 1912 to 1913 the yacht was used to transport war goods. In San Giovanni di Medua , Rumija helped Greek cargo ships lying in the roadstead to disembark and land Serbian troops. During the First World War , the Rumija was Montenegro's only (larger) steam-powered ship. That is why it was used, among other things, for unloading freighters from the allies who could not dock at the Antivari pier and had to anchor in the roadstead. Freight sailors were used from the Bojana estuary to supply the Montenegrin army. When there was no wind, only the Rumija was able to tow them to the ports of Dulcigno or Antivari. Therefore the yacht was of great importance. Austria-Hungary endeavored to cut off supplies for Montenegro. The Austrian Navy therefore set up a sea blockade with several older warships at the beginning of the war . They were expelled by the French and Royal Navy in August 1914 , with the small cruiser SMS Zenta sunk.
In 1915 the Austrian Navy decided to launch a naval operation against the Antivari harbor. The Rumija should be captured and taken away. The first attempt by two torpedo boats ( 68 and 15 ) failed due to defensive fire from the Montenegrin coastal batteries . After the aerial reconnaissance had identified large quantities of goods on the pier on March 1, 1915, an immediate retry was ordered. On the night of the same day left three Torpedoboot destroyer of Huszár class ( Csikós , fighter , Ulan ) and three Torpedo boats ( 57 , 66 , 67 ), the bay of Kotor . They should raise or sink the Rumija , mine the harbor mole, blow up the harbor magazines and destroy the wooden mole. When the ships reached Antivari at 2:30 a.m., there was heavy rain and southwest winds. Shortly afterwards, the coastal batteries opened fire. While the torpedo boat destroyers returned fire from their safety positions, the smaller torpedo boats entered the harbor. The torpedo boat 67 destroyed the wooden pier with a torpedo . The torpedo boat 66 threw three sea mines in front of the stone pier and the detonators landed by the boat set the grain stores on fire in the shed. The second officer of the torpedo boat 57 , Frigate Lieutenant Paul Hermann Meixner , jumped with eight men onto the deck of the Rumija and fastened lines to tow the yacht. The crew had made a run for the start of the shooting. After being released from the pier and the anchor chains blown, the Rumija drifted freely to the northeast. Since she began to roll heavily in the rough seas , it was not possible to tow it away quickly. There was also the risk that the tow lines could break. At the same time, the ship was approaching the range of the coastal batteries. Liner of the line Heinz Erian therefore decided to take his people back on board and sink the yacht. Torpedo boat 57 sank Rumija with a torpedo at 03:45 from a distance of 200 m . The port lost its only possibility of towing. The destruction of the wooden pier and the excavated mines made it impossible for larger ships to enter the port of Antivari. This is seen as the main reason for the later starvation of the Kingdom of Montenegro .
The hull is in the port of Bar at a depth of 14 m. The masts and superstructures were dismantled in the 1950s. The steam boiler and the machine are freely accessible from above. The wreck is a listed building. Recreational divers are not allowed access.
- History of Montenegro # First World War
- History of Serbia # First World War
- List of ships of the Austro-Hungarian Navy
- Jovan Cvijić : Serbia's access to the Adriatic . Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen 58 (1912), pp. 361–364.
- Hans Hugo Sokol: Austria-Hungary Sea War 1914-18. Academic Printing and Publishing Company 1967.
- Franz Mittermayer: King's yacht and tug. The checkered history of the Montenegrin yacht Rumija. MarineForum 6-2018, pp. 31-33.