Sokół docked. This is the end of the submarine's great journey -
Sokół docked. This is the end of the submarine's great journey
Date of publication: 27.11.2023

A press conference was held at the Naval Museum in Gdynia in connection with the placement of the former ORP Sokół in the exhibition space, which set off on its "last cruise" on November 17 from the premises of PGZ Stocznia Wojenna S.A. Its transport took over a week, both by sea and by land, making it the largest undertaking of its kind in the history of the city.

The event was attended by, among others: museum director Tomasz Miegoń, president of the management board of PGZ Stocznia Gdynia S.A. Paweł Lulewicz, commander of the Maritime Operations Center - Maritime Component Command, Vice Adm. Krzysztof Jaworski, vice-president of the Port of Gdynia Authority S.A. Kazimierz Koralewski, head of the Heritage Protection Department of the Gdynia City Hall, Marek Stępa, as well as other representatives of municipal and maritime institutions and companies involved in the adaptation and transport of the ship in connection with its new role.

The meeting was an opportunity to summarize not only Sokół's journey to its destination, but also the work carried out since 2020. Then the ship was pulled out of the water and taken to PGZ Stocznia Wojenna (Naval Shipyard), where it was adapted to its new role. The reconstruction project a year earlier was carried out by the NAVA Engineering design team, which was also involved in the subsequent stages of shipyard works.

Currently, the ship is already in the exhibition space, but this does not end the entire project. Work on adapting the exhibition site and the vessel itself for museum purposes will last until June next year. There are still many challenges ahead for contractors and museum employees.

Before joining the Submarine Division of the 3rd Ship Flotilla, ORP Sokół (294) was in service with the Royal Norwegian Navy (Sjøforsvaret) as KNM Stord (S-308) in the years 1967-2001. It was then transferred, together with four other Kobben-class ships, to the Polish Navy as part of maintaining the capabilities of the Polish submarine forces. They were also intended to be a bridge solution before the implementation of the construction of modern submarines in connection with the "Orka" program, as well as the implementation of Polish sailors into service with equipment compliant with NATO guidelines and procedures. This ship was the first of the Kobbens to raise the Polish flag in 2002.

Together with three Project 207 units, ORP Bielik, ORP Kondor and ORP Sęp, it served in the Submarine Division of the 3rd Ship Flotilla, performing tasks as intended and taking part in both domestic and international exercises. Its service lasted until 2018, and since lowering the flag it was moored at the Gdynia Naval Port. Two years later, under an agreement with the Military Property Agency, it was sent to the shipyard for renovation and reconstruction in order to use it as a museum exhibit.

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