‘Sołdek’ returned to her harbour
Rows of shining rivets on black hull plates, snow-white wheelhouse. The first ship built in Poland after the end of World War II, the collier (today museum ship) Sołdek looks as if she’s been just commissioned. On Saturday, 19th December 2020 the Sołdek returned from her most extensive overhaul in 35 years, performed by the Józef Piłsudski “Remontowa” Shipyard in Gdańsk. She’s now moored in her usual place at Ołowianka Island.
The Sołdek is an icon of the city ad one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region. On 19th December, 2020, after two months of repairs in the “Remontowa” Shipyard in Gdańsk, she returned to her berth at Ołowianka Island. Being a museum ship, her engines and propulsion is not working; She was towed by two pusher tugs – the Nosorożec G-01 and Nosorożec G-02. The operation began in the morning at the Shipyard wharf Ostrowica I. After 10AM the ship arrived in the city centre, mooring at her berth. On the banks of the Motława a number of curious onlookers welcomed the return of the Soldek. Hundreds of people watched the online feed of the operation on the Facebook profile of the National Maritime Museum.
The repair of the ship began on 17th October, 2020. It was funded by the Programme ‘Two Ships – Common Sea. The Sołdek and the Vityaz – Poland’s and Russia’s Maritime Heritage’, co-financed by the European Union’s Poland-Russia Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020, supplemented by the funds of Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The repairs were performed in one of the shipyards of Remontowa Holding, the largest shipbuilding capital group in Poland. A number of works were conducted, making the ship prettier, safer, and more convenient for visitors. During the two weeks the Sołdek spent in the dry-dock, the shipyard replaced steel plating of hull, replaced or restored rusted rivets, scrubbed the old paint, and repainted the hull. The smokestack was repaired, and shipowner’s logo restored. ‘It is another project successfully concluded in cooperation the Remontowa Shipyard in Gdansk’, says Ph.D. Robert Domżał, the director of the NMM. ‘We value working with the shipyard holding and it’s director Mr. Adam Ruszkowski. We especially respect the professional care exhibited by them in repairing such gems as our Sołdek. I am looking forward to our future projects connected to the preservation of Poland’s maritime heritage’.
The shipyard also repaired the holds no. 2, 3, and 4, levelled the flooring, replaced floor covering, and installed new fire alarms, electrical network, and lighting. Soon the holds will be filled with new exhibition, which is due to open in late 2021. The exhibition ‘The Sołdek and her times’ will tell the story of Polish maritime technology, concentrating on the political, social, and economical context of ship’s construction and her years of service. Modern lighting will be used to emphasize various construction elements of the ship. The visitors will have a chance to interact with selected items directly, and to learn about the ship using modern multimedia. Since it is difficult to arrange visits of persons with physical disabilities, the project encompasses creating a multimedia station in the hall of the granaries at Ołowianka Island – the main hall of the Museum, next to the moored ship. VR headsets will allow for a tour of the ship and the on-board exhibition.
Project „2 Ships – Common Sea. Soldek & Vityaz: Maritime Heritage of Poland and Russia” is co-financed by the European Union under the Poland-Russia Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020 and co-financed by Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
This article was produced with the financial support of the European Union, under the Poland-Russia Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk and under no circumstances can be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union, the MA or the Joint Technical Secretariat of the Poland-Russia CBC Programme 2014-2020.