The Shipingbuilding Industry: Steel Shipyards
This area shows the origins and development of the modern shipbuilding industry in Bizkaia, the founding of the main shipyards and some of the most iconic vessels built in them.
The boom in industry and the emergence of shipping companies spurred the development of modern shipbuilding in Bizkaia. The need to modernise their merchant fleet led Basque companies to go abroad to purchase their first steam-ships. But soon shipyards such as Astilleros del Nervión, Euskalduna, La Naval, Tomás Ruiz de Velasco, Celaya and Cadagua were founded to build iron and steel-hulled vessels locally. The river estuary thus became home to a shipbuilding industry with a flourishing output that was renowned for its modern facilities.
The shipbuilding industry in Bizkaia grew spectacularly in the 1960s, but in the late 1970s the oil crisis and the slow pace with which the industry reacted to changes in the market led several yards to close down, with the loss of thousands of jobs. However, ships are still being built in the area at yards such as Zamakona, Murueta and Astilleros de Sestao.
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