July 4, 2006

Nazi ship to become vehicle of faith in Croatia

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croatia's defense ministry has donated a
World War II Nazi ship to a local Roman Catholic monastery,
which will turn it into a sailing church, the Jutarnji List
daily newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The landing ship DTM-219 was used by Nazi Germany to
transport tanks and infantry. It was given to communist
Yugoslavia after 1945 as part of war compensation, it said.

The ship, currently anchored at a Croatian navy port, will
be towed to the city of Sibenik, in the central Adriatic, where
it will be adapted at a local shipyard.

It will be used as sailing church for the young, who will
be able to sail the Adriatic, pray and meditate as part of
church-sponsored religious cruises, the daily said.

Some 90 percent of Croatia's 4.4 million people are Roman
Catholics. The country, which gained independence from
Yugoslavia in 1991, hopes to join the European Union by the end
of this decade.