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Croatia - Civil Maritime Flags

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Civil Ensign

(2:3)
image by Zeljko Heimer

1991 Legislation

One even earlier law that have flag content is "Pravilnik o camcima" [Regulation on boats], No. 1097, NN 11.08.1991 . It is the fist law of Croatia regulating flags on sea. The Croatian flag is mentioned in Art. 62:

"Boat for public purposes must have on rear mast or some other suitable place during the day (from sunrise to sundown) hoist the flag of Republic of Croatia. Other boats could also hoist the flag of Republic of Croatia. The size of the flag is 0.46 x 0.80 meter and must be in neat condition."

This is really wierd proportion, and I am inclined to believe that it is a typo for 0.40 x 0.80 (i.e. 1:2).
Zeljko Heimer, 3 September 1997


1992 Legislation

The Croatian civil ensign is the same as national flag, but is in 2:3 ratio, not 1:2 as the national flag is. The legislative background for the claim is this:

Pravilnik o isticanju i vijanju zastave trgovacke mornarice Republike Hrvatske i isticanju znakova na brodovima trgovacke mornarice Republike Hrvatske, Narodne novine (Official Gazette), 0340, 1992.

That would be in English "Regulations on hoisting and flying of the flag of the merchant fleet of Republic of Croatia and displaying of symbols on vessels of the merchant fleet of Republic of Croatia". I believe that 0340 means March, chapter 40.

In Article 1, line 1 of these Regulations it is said:

The flag of the merchant fleet of the Republic of Croatia (in further text: flag) is equal to the flag of the Republic of Croatia and is hoisted on all vessels of the merchant fleet of Republic of Croatia.

Article 2 defines the size of flags:

The flag can be of these sizes:
1) 2.5 x 3.75 metres
2) 1.40 x 2.10 metres
3) 0.80 x 1.20 metres
4) 0.50 x 0.75 metres
The size of the flag should correspond to the size of the vessel.

The translations are mine, and therefore not official.

In further text, the Regulations define when the vessel should hoist the ensign, Administrative Signal and house flag, citations and regulations of dressing the vessel, dipping, use of presidential standard and foreign flags when delegations are on board, use of flags at half staff and similar.
Zeljko Heimer, 1 December 1996


1994 Legislation

Here are some flag related extracts from the naval law of Croatia - Pomorski zakonik, no 313/94, Narodne novine 17/1994, Zagreb 7.III.1994.

Art. 5 [Terms defined]
...33) harbor open to international trafic is a harbor with free entrance to the vessels of all flags.... [several times latter a term "the state of the flag of a vessel" is used to indicate "nationality" of the vessel ]

Art. 29.
A foreign submarine, or other underwater mean of trafic, during the time of passing though the territorial sea of Croatia ough to navigate on the sea surface and hoist the flag of her state.

Art 100.
...A foreign vessel ought to hosit the flag of her nationality while she is in the terrirotial or inner naval waters of the Republic of Craotia.

Art. 131.
...With the inscription document a ship prooves her Croatian nationality, giving it the right and the obligation to hoist the flag [ensign] of the Repubic of Croatia....
[and similar in several next articles, regarding temporarily documents]

Art. 194.
A shipe that gained Croatian nationality has the right and the obligation to hoist the flag of the Republic of Croatia. The right and the obligation from the line 1 of this article does not concern the ships without a crew. Vessels [not a ship] inscribed in the ship register on the territory of Republic of Croatia have obligation to hoist the flag of the Republic of Croatia out of the limits of inner waters and territorial sea of the Republic of Croatia.

Art. 195.
The flag [=ensign] of the Republic of Croatia is a sign of Croatian nationality of a ship.

Art. 196.
The flag [=ensign] of the Republic of Croatia on a ship has shape of the flag of the Republic of Croatia, but with width to lenght ratio 1:1.5.

And that is all flag related in there, except, as I said "the state of the flag of a vessel" expression used several more times.

According to this law the law on ensign of 1992 remained valid until a new law on it would be made. I.e. only the 1997 law makes valid Art. 196 of this law indirectly. But, I guess this has no much influance sine both 1992 law and this law define the ensign in the same way. This law is also valid for the vessels of the Croatian Navy "unless it is not proscribed differently", therefore I guess that the 2:3 ensign is also the war ensign (since I have not noticed different prescription).
Zeljko Heimer , 8 December 1998


1997 Legislation

New regulations were issued in 1997:

"Pravilnik o isticanju i vijanju zastave trgovacke moranrice Republike Hrvatske i isticanju znakova na brodovima trgovaflorinke mornarice Republike Hrvatske", No. 761, Narodne novine 51/1997, 16.05.1997.

[Regulations on hoisting and flying of the flag of merchant navy of Republic of Croatia and display of signs on the vessels of merchant navy of Republic of Croatia] gives the flag of merchant navy as identical to the flag of Republic of Croatia in Art. 1. Art. 3:

"The flag should be of the size regulated in Art. 196 of Sea regulations."

I haven't traced this regulations ("Pomorski zakonik"). It is not issued in Official Gazette (Narodne Novine) or at least there is no trace of it in on-line edition.
Zeljko Heimer, 3 September 1997

The proportion of the Civil Ensign of the Republic of Croatia was fixed by Law no. 03-40, 1992, art. 2 to a ratio of 2:3. Yet a new law was issued (no. 0761) on 16 May 1997: which ratio is now defined? Did this law change anything else ?
Pier Paolo Lugli, 4 December 1998

More exactly among other 2,5 x 3,75 meter. Se : <www.nn.hr> (with three pictures at the end).This law bring no change concerning the civil ensign. There are other precisions concerning other ensigns but I cannot understand which one are concerned. There are no pictures here however contrary to the other law. See: <www.nn.hr> in the website of the Croatian official gazette.
Pascal Vagnat, 4 December 1998


Administrative signal


Adopted: 1997
image by Zeljko Heimer

1991 Legislation


Pre-1997 Administrative signal
image by Zeljko Heimer

In 1991 Pravilnik o camcima in Art 63 the administrative signs are defined:

"Boat for public purposes which is owned by harbour police must on bow, during the day, hoist an administrative sign, blue with proportions 1:2. In the middle of it on both sides there are two crossed white anchors inscribed in imagined rectangle whose lenght is 3/8 and height 1/3 of total sign length.
Boat for administrative purposes which is owned by port police must on bow, during the day, hoist administrative sign, i.e. a white pennant shaped as isoscaeles triangle with proportions 2:1. In the middle of the pennant on both sides there is sign from art. 58 line 2 of this regulations [ragistration number]"

In article 4 it is said:

"Vessels and ships of organizations responsible for the security of naval transport [I guess that means police?] hoist on the signal mast the administrative signal. The signal is proportioned 1:1 and consists of two white crossed anchors on blue background, and in the middle above the necks of the anchors there is the arms of the Republic. Along the edges the signal is bordered with white Croatian watte-work. "

Article 5 describes a similar signal for vessels in inner waters:

"Vessels and ships of organizations responsible for the security of inner waters must have a signal for recognition of both sides of the stern.
The signal from line 1 of this article is in shape of a rhomb, white with blue edges. In the middle of the rhomb there should be in black paint the number of the vessel. The horizontal diagonal of the rhomb should be 0.80 m, and vertical - 0.65 m. The width of the borders is 0.10 m, and the size of the number in rhomb - 0.20 m. The dimensions of this signal could be proportionally enlarged or decreased depending of the size of the vessel.
The vessels from line 1 of this article also fly a pennant, coloured white, in the shape of an isosceles triangle of sides long 1 m, and base of 0.50 m. On both sides of the pennant there is the signal described in line 2 of this article."

I am not sure if the vessels of these Regulations are civil vessels (and therefore the 2:3 flag would be the civil ensign), or state. The literal translation of the terms used is "merchant navy". I believe this is analogous with the British Red Ensign, and therefore it is the civil ensign. Am I right?

The "administrative signal" and pennant are, I guess, used by harbour and river police. I haven't seen them (even if the Regulations claim that graphical representations of these signals are an integral part of them, they were not there).

Zeljko Heimer, 1 December 1996


1997 Legislation

1997 regulations give somewhat different signal: Art 5. line 1.

"Public vessels of harbour police fly on signal mast the administrative sign. The sign have proportions 1:1, two white crossed anchors on blue background, and in the middle above the anchors is the coat of arms of Republic of Croatia. Around the egdes the sign is bordered with yellow (golden) Croatian wattlework."

Art 5. line 3.

"Public vessels of other state institutions fly and display the insignias according to the special regulations."

So, the administrative sign is now for the third time changed, now having the golden border. The pennant is not mentioned (unles being understood in the Art 5. line 3.). The law (1) have replaced the law (2) only "in part regulating sea navigation" (Art. 19), so maybe the pennant is not supressed.
Zeljko Heimer, 3 September 1997


2007 Legislation

There is a new regulation on flying the flags and displaying the signals on ships and yachts: Pravilnik o nacinu vijanja zastave i isticanja znakova na brodovima i jahtama, 23. studenog 2007., Narodne novine, br. 126/2007, 10. prosinca 2007.
This replaces the 1997 regulations.
The only substantial change interesting to us is the new drawing of the Administrative signal, even though, it seems that the wording remained the same - the drawing attached to the regulations seems to imply that instead of the simpler "cord" the golden real triple wattle ornament is now to be used. However, the drawing is way to distorted and small to be useful. Hopefully I get an answer from the Ministry.
Zeljko Heimer, 30 December 2007


Administrative Jack (1991-1992)


image by Zeljko Heimer

Adopted: 11 August 1991, Abandoned: 25 February 1992. Ratio 1:1. The signal hoisted on the bow (i.e. the jack) by boats for public purposes owned by the Harbor administration is blue square with two white crossed anchors.
Source: Pravilnik o čamcima, NN 39/91, No.1097; NN 76/92.
Zeljko Heimer


Privileged Navigation Signal (obsolete)


image by Zeljko Heimer

Adopted: 8 October 1991. Ratio 1:1. A flag signal in shape of a green square with side measuring 75 cm with a white diagonal stripe of 20 cm is hoisted by vessels with privileged navigation authorization, i.e. vessels with regular lines in border area of sea, border rivers and lakes, that are granted certain customs privileges.
Source: Čl. 160. Carinski zakon, NN, No.1341, 1991.
Zeljko Heimer

Checking some details in the Customs Law, I noticed that the new Law adopted in 1999 replacing the 1991 Law does not include any more the provisions about the privileged navigation, nor the prescriptions regarding the flag such ships would use. So, presumably the Privileged Navigation Signal Flag, green square with white raising diagonal is not used any more (if it was used all together, I never had chance to confirm it beside the law prescriptions).
Sources: Carinski zakon, 8. listopada 1991., Narodne novine, 53A/1991 Carinski zakon, 30. lipnja 1999., Narodne novine, 78/1999.
Zeljko Heimer
, 30 December 2007


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