Polish and Italian ships open to public to mark 25 years of Poland in NATO

ITS Luigi Rizzo and ORP Albatros

On 12 March 1999, Poland became a full member of the North Atlantic Alliance. During the 25 years of our presence in NATO, Polish ships took part in more than 250 exercises, spending a total of 7595 days under the flag of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

The celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Poland’s accession to NATO will take place on Tuesday, 12 March, at 10:00 a.m. at Skwer Kościuszki in Gdynia. Assisted by the Navy Representative Company and Orchestra, the national flag and the flag of the North Atlantic Alliance will be raised on the mast and the national and NATO anthem will be played. A festive salute, consisting of 11 cannon shots, will be fired from the deck of the museum ship ORP Błyskawica.

At the Pomorskie Quay in Gdynia or at the pier near the ORP Błyskawica ship in Gdynia, the following Navy ships will moor and be open to the public: the missile ship ORP Piorun and the mine destroyer ORP Albatros. The ships will be open to the public between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. During the same hours, the museum ship ORP Błyskawica will also be open to the public free of charge.

The Polish Navy’s path to the Alliance began back in the early 1990s. It was then that the Polish ships ORP Wodnik and ORP Piast participated in the combat operation Desert Storm. Participation in this operation was the first example in post-war Poland of such close cooperation between Polish units and forces of Western fleets and the first test for our sailors in the new reality.

In 1993, the Polish Navy participated for the first time in the US Baltops manoeuvres, in which we have been present almost continuously to date. In turn, in 1995, the 13th minesweeper Squadron began permanent cooperation with the NATO Standing Mine Defence Ship Team.

From the very beginning, the process of integration with the Alliance’s naval forces has been geared towards gaining the capacity for joint training, exercises and the effective execution of tasks. Even before joining the Alliance, in 1998, Navy officers began serving at NATO commands in Brussels, Northwood and Brunsum, among others. From our first participation in the US Baltops 93 exercise until 1999, the Navy was present in all international exercises in the Baltic Sea organised under the auspices of the Partnership for Peace.

Polish ships also took part in combat operations. Among them, among others, three times in the anti-terrorist operation “Active Endeavour” in the Mediterranean Sea, in the operations “Enduring Freedom” and “Iraqi Freedom” in the Persian Gulf and several times in the anti-mine operation “Open Spirit” in the Baltic Sea.

In total, since 2002, 10 Polish ships have operated under the NATO flag in 26 missions for over seven years. In fulfilment of their Allied obligations, Polish ships participated, among others, in the activities of NATO Standing Response Force Teams (SNMG1 and SNMCMG1).

In many exercises, the Navy not only participated, but also organised them. The naval bases in Gdynia and Świnoujście became ports from which vessels of dozens of flags of Alliance and Partnership for Peace countries operated.

Since the beginning of cooperation with NATO fleets, until today, the Navy forces have been constantly present in international exercises at sea, in the air and on land, as well as in staff exercises. Polish sailors participate in NATO staff exercises and working groups and serve in North Atlantic Alliance commands in Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Spain and Italy, among others.

During the 25 years of our presence in NATO, the Navy has participated in more than 250 international exercises in the Baltic Sea, the Baltic Straits, the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. In all exercises and naval operations, they covered a total of 517,412 nautical miles, including 13,535 underwater.

In this way, together with the ships of other Alliance countries, we are creating an atmosphere of safety along the sea lanes and in key bodies of water that benefit the maritime economies of many countries, including Poland. This is a great achievement of which we can all be proud.


Source: PortalMorski.pl

Skip to content