CROATIA'S defence 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 today.
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 a 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 per cent of Croatia's 4.4 million people are Roman Catholics. The country, which gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, hopes to join the EU by the end of this decade.