The ship is a prototype of the series 29 coal and ore carriers – small B30 bulkers built during the years 1949-1954 in the Gdańsk Shipyard. It was designed by a team of Polish constructors under the supervision of Henryk Giełdzik MSc Eng. During a week of work, approximately 45 tonnes of naval steel elements were assembled. The construction of the coal and ore carrier used approximately 300 thousand rivets; their weight amounted to about 6% of the weight of the entire hull.
The ship was launched on 6 November 1948. According to prior agreements, the unit was intended to have the name of a leading shipyard worker. The honour fell to Stanisław Sołdek, a mock-up maker. The godmother of the ship was his wife, Helena. On 21 October 1949, under the command of Master Mariner Zbigniew Rybiański, “Sołdek” began its first- ever voyage to Szczecin, which hosted the official raising of the flag on 25 October 1949. The first foreign voyage took place during the days 26-30 October 1949, when “Sołdek” transported coal to Ghent in Belgium.
Until 2 January 1981, “Sołdek” made 1479 voyages. During its 31 years of use, the ship transported over 3.5 million tonnes of cargo and called at over 60 ports. After a short time, “Sołdek” was presented to the National Museum of the Sea. During the summer of 1989, it docked at the Ołowianki wharf as a ship-museum. Tourists visiting “Sołdek” can learn about the historical construction of the coal and ore carrier with a raised quarter deck, four cargo holds and superstructures on the midships midships and stern. The sides exhibit a no-longer-used welded and riveted hull structure. The decks contain the lids of the four cargo holds, the bow anchor and loading devices powered by steam engines. The boom cranes were operated with winches from UNRRA supplies. The most interesting of the accessible decks is certainly the boat deck, with the rescue equipment of the ship and the emergency helmsman’s station. The superstructure of the midships midships and the stern allow the visitors to learn about the social conditions of the officers and mariners halfway through the past Century. The wheelhouse, which initially did not even have a radar, contains historical equipment, which includess sound pipes for communication with the engine room. The fully-equipped engine room allows you to get acquainted with the no-longer-used mechanical drive of the ship, with coal-burning boilers and a piston steam machine. Two cargo holds between the engine room and the superstructure of the midships have been adapted for tourist visits. Cargo hold No. 3 hosts temporary exhibitions, while cargo hold No. 4 is home to an exhibition on the history of the construction and the running of “Sołdek” and an exposition of models of ships built by the Gdańsk Shipyard during the years 1947-84.
The ship-museum is annually visited by approximately 20 thousand tourists.
Also worth visiting:
– the Maritime Culture Centre
– the Crane
– the Museum of Fishing in Hel
– the National Maritime Museum
Autor: Bartłomiej Barski, GOT
Foto: R.Baranowski, Dep. Turystyki, UMWP