Works on the “Ślązak” Vessel Continue, the Armament Inspectorate Informs

Image Credit: M. Dura
Image Credit: M. Dura

During the III edition of the Maritime Security Forum [Forum Bezpieczeństwa Morskiego] event, a representative of the Armament Inspectorate announced that media reports suggesting that work has been suspended in case of the “Ślązak” patrol vessel are untrue. The officials issued a clarifying statement, claiming that limitation of work undertaken with regards to the Ślązak vessel is caused by the takeover process carried out by the PGZ, with regards to the SMW shipbuilding company. “Ślązak” is planned to sail between March and April 2018.

Krzysztof Olejniczak, Head of the Leadership of the Naval Branch of the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD, stated that information suggesting that the works have been suspended with regards to the Ślązak vessel remains untrue. The official announced the above during the third edition of the Maritime Security Forum organized in Warsaw. According to Olejniczak, the fact that the work has been hampered results on the grounds of transformation of the SMW (Polish Naval Shipyard) into a new entity, after a takeover was completed by PGZ.

The existing legal regulations require the Polish Naval Shipyard to bring the agreement that was signed with the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD to a closure. Olejniczak said: “The infrastructure was taken over by PGZ Stocznia Wojenna, and at the moment the administrator has no technical ability to continue the works Thus we must take over the ship physically, examine it and settle (all of the related matters), which is happening in parallel with the talks with the War Shipyard, regarding the finalization of the building process. The interruption in question is minor”.

Olejniczak also disclosed the fact that stage of “the most important servicing” regarding the vessel came to an end, with harbour trials being continued. The most important systems are declared to be operational, with the combat information centre to follow. The first sea trials are expected to happen soon, as the matter is being negotiated with the new contractor now.

A reminder was made that formally, “Ślązak” shall not be viewed as a military vessel yet. Thus it is the task for the new contractor to appoint the crew, conclude a proper memorandum with the Maritime Authorities and submit requests required to enable the ship to be involved in sea trials. “She must be checked for technical safety, within the scope of its equipment and compliance with standards defined by international conventions”.

Captain Olejniczak also noted that dismissal of the SMW employees has not been mentioned. “For us the elements of shipyard relevant in the process of creating a corvette or patrol vessel are important. And this team is still working. Departments securing this ship are active. And in line with the legal regulations, we must close, settle and conclude an agreement, which will probably happen in February. We are hoping that between March and April the vessel will be involved in the first internal shipyard’s sea trials.

Mass job loss has not been confirmed by Cezary Cierzan, the representative of the PGZ attending the Forum. He stated that SMW is going to undergo a certain transformation, however this would happen without “radical HR changes and redundancies. No plans exist to take such radical decisions. Certain HR adjustments are made”.