The history of the Naval Shipyard Gdynia S.A.
History Print

The Naval Shipyard is the oldest institution in Gdynia. In May 2007 the Shipyard celebrated its 85th anniversary. The Shipyard’s workshops which were moved from Puck to Oksywie created a strong base for the Naval Shipyard and modernized it to such an extent that it was able to realize both military orders and civil productions as well.

The first Naval Port Workshops were partly located on land and parlty on two barges brought from Modlin to the port in Puck on the 10th of May 1922. Such workshops enabled work on small renovations. Employees were quite enthusiastic about the functioning of the new establishment which gave them good reason to join efforts and work on perfecting and modernizing it. The effects of their hard work could be observed in June 1922 when they were able to conduct the first independent renovation of the ORP MAZUR vessel. As a result the Naval Port Workshops were immediately equipped with new machines which enabled the successful completion of more difficult and complicated tasks.
In 1922 the builidng of the slip began along with the assembly of the cargo crane, and at the same time the wharf was enhanced with a 14-ton crane. The workshops not only gained machinery but employees as well which increased the numer of workers to approximately between 140-160. Despite both technical and staff potential, the Workshops were not fit to take on more complicated renovations which resulted in a numer of Polish vessels being transported to shipyards in Gdańsk. The state of the shipyard in 1920 lead to the plan for building a port in Gdynia. All the matters connected with the merchant navy and the port were passed on to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
In the second half of 1926 a project arose to transfer the Naval Port Workshops from Puck to Gdynia and situate them near the newly built naval port in Gdynia. The expansion of the establishment began and new divisions were created, such as hull prefabrication, motor, boiler forge, sheet metal shop, electrical and precise.
By the end of 1932 the first floating sea object among Polsih shipyards was exploited - a dock with a load capacity which started at 350 tonnes and later increased to 500 tonnes and a length of 55 m after equipping it with additional pontoons. The building of this machine was a great achievement for the crew of the Workshops. It allowed for the execution of many new vessel renovations, even more so because the state of the Polish Merchant Navy had increased quite rapidly. The Merchant navy was strengthened by destroyers ORP WICHER and ORP BURZA as well as submarines ORP RYŚ, ORP WILK, and ORP ŻBIK built in France between 1931-1932. The greatest period of growth for the Naval Port Workshops was between the years 1935-1938 when some of the most outstanding design engineers and shipbuilders were hired there.
The decision for the building of the shipyard increased the rank of the Naval Port Workshops. One of the largest floating objects built before the start of the Second World War was a dock with a load capacity of 5 000 tonnes, which was finished in November of 1938. The completed dock was the pride of the shipyard’s employees. In 1939 a hall was built which enabled work on materials for hulls, both an energy and a hydraulic network were built, heating, a compressed air and steam network, an acetylene network and warehouses. Modern machine tools for work on hull materials was brought from Germany. Along with the growth of the institution, the crew was also able to develop its construciton-performance skills.
The realization of the further growth of the institution was interrupted by the Second Word War , which started on the 1st of September 1939. In March of 1945, Gdynia was liberated from German occupation, and the rebuilding and repair of the damages began which allowed for the Polish Navy to once again undertake new tasks. On June 28th 1947 the Minister of Defence gave an order to reorganize the Command of the Navy, which in effect lead to the change in the name of The Naval Port Workshops which became The Naval Renovation Workshops. Further changes were made in 1950, when The Naval Renovation Workshops became the Naval Shipyard (NSG).
In 1952 the Shipyard was already a big name in the naval economy. The high quality of production, especially within the scope of vessel renovations for the Polish Navy, were the reason for the Shipyard gaining renovation orders for motor gun boats, torpedo cutters, minesweepers, landing crafts and Serach and Rescue vessels. By the end of the 1950’s the Shipyard had begun building the first patrol craft for the Coast Guard. During this time, the Naval Shipyard Gdynia had over 800 employees. On June 10th 1966, the Minister of Defence named the Shipyard, „Dąbrowszczaków”. In 1991, the Shipyard returned to its historical name, „the Naval Shipyard.” In accordance with the decision of the Minister of Defence, the institution was integrated on January 1st 1979. The Shipyard joined forces with the Naval Renovation Establishments in Gdynia as well as with the Westerplatte Naval Shipyard in Gdańsk

Between the years 1970 - 1980 the shipyard was in the midst of being expanded. The shipyard modernized its piers, created wharfs and new production departments. In the 1990’s the Shipyard commissioned two vessel lifts with three pontoon docks with a lifting capacity of 1 700 tonnes and a platform of 100 x 22 m, which was later modernized to a lifting capacity of 2 500 tonnes with 10 land positions as well as a floating dock with a capacity of 8 000 tonnes. This investment allowed for the docking of large war vessels as well as commercial ships. At the turning point in the years between 1980-1990 the shipyard built a series of 17 low-magnetic minesweepers from polyester-glass composites for the Polish Navy. At that time, the Naval Shipyard in Gdynia had a very high production level concerning both renovations and ship building. In the field of renovations the shipyard took on all the Polish Navy’s vessel renovations along with docking.
During this period the first vessel renovations for the Polish Navy were carried out: 621 design rocket vessels, 874 design rescue vessels, as well as a number of smaller vessels. A 205 design patrol craft was rebuilt and modernized into a patrol craft for the coastguard, an 888 design school vessel ORP WODNIK into a sanitarny-evacuational vessel as well as a 570 design rescue vessel ORP PIAST adapted to the conditions in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. The Shipyard also began renovations on both Polish and foreign commercial vessels especially Scandinavian and German. The first was the Norwegian general cargo vessel ms. STENFJEL in 1989, which was extended by 14 m in the cylinder part to the full length of 100 m.
In response to orders from both Danish and German shipyards, the Naval Shipyard in Gdynia built 16 partly equipped superstructures with a mass of 300-750 tonnes between the years from 1996-2002. They were built on land stations, and were from 6 to 9 storeys high. Throughout these years the shipyard also built:
  • product carriers mt SEJNA and mt BJARKQY with a lifting capacity of 1940 and 2490 DWT, which were state of the art with a high quality automated power plant and fuel reloading station,
  • partly equipped hull of the patrol craft TROMSO for the marine search and rescue service in Norway,
  • two multitask bulk cargo ships ms NORHEIM and ms MOKSHEIM also for Norway,
  • three small landing crafts and one medium-sized landing craft for Yemen.
Over the last 10 years the shipyard began intense preparational construction-technology works, in order to lead to the modernization and adapt vessels to co-operate with the marine forces of NATO. This program included transport-mining vessels, Basic minesweepers, which expanded the scope of action with the function of mine destroyer, submarines and Search and Rescue vessels, the ORP KASZUB corvette, tankers and rocket vessels. On the Polish Navy’s 83rd anniversary, on the 28th of November 2001, the steel departament at the Naval Shipyard was host to the ceremony of the placing of the keel on the first corvette with the newest technical and combat characteristics.


Danuta Kamieńska

 

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