On Saturday, 17 September 2022, the navigation channel through the Vistula Spit was officially opened. The multipurpose ship Zodiak II was the first vessel to pass through the Port Nowy Świat lock.
This marked the symbolic completion of the new waterway’s first stage, which will be used in the future to bring ships from the Bay of Gdansk to the Elbląg seaport.
Zodiak II is a modern, multi-purpose vessel built at the Remontowa Shipbuilding SA yard and handed over to the Maritime Office in Gdynia in 2020. One of her main tasks is to ensure safe navigation, including on the fairways to Polish seaports. The Polish maritime administration flagship passing through – as the first – the newly opened canal lock will certainly be recorded permanently in its history.
Below: opening of the navigation waterway as seen from the Zodiak II ship – a timelapse made by PortalMorski.pl:
At 5:30 a.m., the ship set sail from the Navigational Aids Depot in Gdansk. Two hours later, it passed the Port Nowy Świat entrance heads and entered the canal lock. After being checked by officers of the State Protection Service, Zodiak II left the lock, sailing towards the Vistula Lagoon, where it was already waiting – the Maritime Border Guard Unit patrol vessel Kaper II and the Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) vessel Orkan.
Zodiak II then turned 180 degrees, re-entered the lock and moored the port side. Many of the event’s participants took this opportunity to have a commemorative photo taken with the ship in the background. At this location, Zodiak II witnessed celebrations and speeches by politicians.
After the official part, at 2 p.m., the director of the Maritime Office in Gdynia, Capt. Wiesław Piotrzkowski reported the lock opening readiness, and the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Marek Gróbarczyk announced the official waterway opening, connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Baltic Sea. The rotating road bridge (north – towards the Gulf of Gdansk) opened, and the director of the Maritime Office gave the command to start the lock procedure, which took place in torrential rain.
At 14:45, Zodiak II was the first to pass through the open lock gates, accompanied by the Polish Navy Representative Band sound. He was followed by the vessels Kaper-2 and Orkan.
Once the Zodiak II had left the lock, it passed the moored missile ship ORP Piorun (422) on its right side. At 17:00, the flagship of the Maritime Office in Gdynia returned to its berth at the Navigational Aids Depot in Gdańsk.