The autumn, rainy weather did not thwart the plans of the Gdańsk Remontowa Shipyard today. With a large representation of officials from the government, local government and other institutions of the broadly understood maritime industry, the first ferry built for the Polska Żegluga Morska (PŻM; Polsteam) was officially launched today.
Launching of the Ro-Pax built by "Remontowa" Shipyard is one of the most important events in the maritime industry this year, which is why - despite the unrelenting rain - many guests appeared at dock number 5 at the shipyard. Among them, there were representatives of the government, such as Deputy Minister Marek Gróbarczyk and Undersecretary of State Grzegorz Witkowski, and local government, among others the presidents of Gdańsk and Sopot, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz and Jacek Karnowski respectively, and the Marshal of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, Mieczysław Struk - as well as many other companies from the maritime industry. Among them, of course, were representatives of Polskie Porty, which is the official ordering party, and Polska Żegluga Morska Polsteam, which will actually receive the first ferry - it will sail in the colors of the Unity Line ferry lines. The wife and daughter of the former president of Remontowa Holding, Piotr Soyka, who died two years ago, were also present at the ceremony.
After speeches by Adam Ruszkowski, president of the Management Board of Remontowa Holding, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Marek Gróbarczyk, director of the Polsteam Andrzej Wróblewski and Marshal of the Pomeranian Voivodeship Mieczysław Struk, it was time to launch the Ro-Pax ferry with construction number 101. Michał Habina, president of the Management Board of the Gdańsk Remontowa Shipyard gave the appropriate commands, and then dock 5, in which the ferry's hull was located, slowly began to submerge and fill with water. The entire procedure took several hours before the vessel being built became buoyant. The ferry was then towed from the dock and moored at the quay. Work on the ship's equipment will continue there.
The launched ferry is the first of three ordered by the state-owned company Polskie Promy. All of them will be built in the Gdańsk Remontowa Shipyard. Two of these ships - the first and the third - will sail in the colors of the Unity Line belonging to Polsteam, and the second one in the Polferries lines of Polish Baltic Shipping. The contract also includes an option to build a fourth ferry for PŻB.
All ferries will be low-emission, powered by LNG engines with battery support. The ships will be 195.6 m long and 32.2 m wide. The load line will be 4,100 m long. The ferries will have a maximum speed of 19 knots and will be able to accommodate 400 passengers and 50 crew members. The Remontowa Marine Design office was responsible for the conceptual design, design and construction documentation. Ro-Pax is to be handed over to the ordering party in 2025.
As PŻM director Andrzej Wróblewski says, the new vessel "will replace two or three ships that are a bit outdated technically and technologically and that do not meet the high and constantly increasing ecological standards." However, he does not hide the fact that he is counting on a "positive response" from the market, which could open the door to further implementations.
– If the response is very positive and it is also positive from a commercial point of view, banks and financial institutions will see that we are able to cooperate with the shipyard, then who knows whether this series will be continued, also in various other options, because the vessel is so universal that we can make some changes – the Director of Polsteam told us.
The construction of new, large ferries for Polish shipowners is also a unique opportunity for "Remontowa" itself, which can thus prove that it is worth building such vessels in Europe, and thus attract considerable interest from the market. So far, Remontowa Holding Group has built small and medium-sized ferries, up to 130 meters long, mainly for short-sea shipping.
– We hope that the fact of building such vessels in Poland will lead to some reshuffling in the European ferry construction market, because such ships are currently mainly built in China. We want to make a new start with this contract and show that there is no need to order such vessels far away. If a European shipowner is thinking about building a modern vessel, he or she does not have to look far. If a suitably competitive offer is created, he can order and build it here - says Grzegorz Landowski, Communications Director of Remontowa Holding. – When the first ship is handed over, then the second one, the shipping world, where news spreads very quickly, will notice it and see that operation is running smoothly, then there may be interest. We count on this – adds Grzegorz Landowski.