On December 21, at the Remontowa Shipbuilding Shipyard, a protocol handover of the project 258 minehunter Mewa was made to the Polish Navy.
The minehunter Mewa is the third ship of this type, and at the same time the second serial ship of this class. The first and prototype ship of the KORMORAN II type (project 258) is ORP Kormoran which was built as a result of the development work under the contract of September 23, 2013, concluded between the Armament Inspectorate (currently the Armament Agency) and the consortium of composition: Stocznia Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. (leader), OBR Centrum Techniki Morskiej S.A. and Naval Shipyard S.A. (currently PGZ Stocznia Wojenna Sp. z o.o.).
The construction of ORP Kormoran began in April 2014, and in September the keel-laying ceremony and sheet metal cutting took place. The ship was launched and christened on September 4, 2015, and sea trials began in September. In the period from June to October 2017, the ship underwent qualification tests. After their positive completion, the ship entered service on November 28, 2017. ORP Kormoran serves in the 13th Minesweeper Squadron of the 8th Coastal Defense Flotilla, based in Gdynia.
Two more (serial) Project 258 ships are the result of the agreement of December 27, 2017, concluded between the Armament Inspectorate and the consortium: Stocznia Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. (leader), OBR Centrum Techniki Morskiej S.A. and PGZ Stocznia Wojenna Sp. z o. o. Under this contract, worth approx. PLN 1.2 billion gross, three logistic support packages were also obtained.
“The KORMORAN II minehunter construction program is an example of an effectively implemented program, resulting in strengthening the potential of the Naval Forces of our Homeland. It should also be emphasized that the implementation of the above-mentioned modern minehunters started the process of generational replacement of the equipment of the Polish fleet. At the same time, the Polish shipbuilding industry confirmed its competence to design and build modern warships.” – summed up the Head of the Maritime Technology Command, Cdr Piotr Skóra.
Sheet metal cutting for the first serial minehunter Albatros took place in September 2018, and in December the keel was laid for the construction of the unit. The ship was launched and christened on October 10, 2019, and sea trials began in June 2021. From March to August 2022, delivery and acceptance tests were carried out, which ended with a positive result, and in August the unit was handed over to the Polish Navy. Finally, ORP Albatros entered service on November 28, 2022, when the first raising of the flag on the ship took place.
The construction of the second serial minehunter Mewa, board number 603, began with sheet metal cutting in June 2019, and the keel-laying ceremony took place in October. The christening and launching ceremony took place on December 17, 2020, and sea trials began a year later. After successful completion of the shipyard tests, the unit underwent “state” delivery and acceptance tests, which ended on December 8, 2022. Handing over Mewa to the Polish Navy on December 21 is the penultimate step on the way to entering service. The ship’s flag should be raised in the first quarter of 2023.
“The Navy receives modern mine countermeasures units capable of carrying out a wide range of tasks related to combating all mine threats at sea. These are not classic minehunters, but ships with mine warfare functionalities and the ability to monitor underwater elements of critical maritime infrastructure.” – said the Head of the Maritime Combat Systems Department at the Naval Inspectorate of the General Command of the Armed Forces Branches, Commander Piotr Sikora.
The implementation of the program is supplemented by the agreement of June 26, concluded between the Armament Agency and the consortium composed of: Stocznia Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. (leader), Research and Development Center Centrum Techniki Morskiej S.A. and PGZ Stocznia Wojenna Sp. z o.o., the subject of which is the delivery in 2026-2027 of three more project 258 minehunters together with logistical support packages. The gross value of the contract is approx. PLN 2.5 billion, and the ships will be delivered to the 12th Minesweeper Squadron from Świnoujście, which is part of the 8th Coastal Defense Flotilla.