B-30 / SOLDEK


Ore and coal carrier SOŁDEK (type B-30)

Keel laid:                   3 April 1948

Launched:                  6 November 1948

Delivered:                  21 October 1949

The first ocean-going vessel built in Poland. Also a representative of coal carriers which were numerous in the first half of the 20th century and transported coal to ports all over Europe under various flags. In 1981, the Sołdek was handed over to the Central (now National) Maritime Museum and has been open to the public as a ship-museum since 1985.


Technical specifications:

capacity:        2005 GRT, 994 NRT; 2560 DWT

dimensions:  87.0 total x 12.2 x 5.5 m

propulsion:    2 boilers, 1 compound steam engine with 1,300 hp,

speed:           9.5 knots

crew:              28

Twenty-nine type B-30W ore and coal carriers were built in 1948-1954:
5 for a Polish shipowner and 24 for Soviet shipowners.


On 5 May 1946, the Polish Shipyards’ Union (ZSP, which included Gdańsk Shipyards No. 1 and No. 2) was commissioned to build four vessels for Żegluga Polska, including six ore and coal carriers of 2540 dwt. Unfortunately, one of the biggest among the many problems faced by the burgeoning Polish shipbuilding industry in the wake of World War II was a shortage of personnel. At this pioneering stage, there were only 20 naval architects in all of Poland. That is why the production of the first Polish cargo vessels was based on foreign designs. A design for a general cargo vessel was imported from Belgium to bring about the type B-50 vessels of ca. 4000 dwt. The Italian Ansaldo Shipyard of Genoa provided the blueprints for a coasting vessel which became the basis for the design of the type B-51 vessel of ca. 650 dwt.

The French Augustin Normand Shipyard in Le Havre received an order for an ore and coal carrier design: the third vessel type scheduled to be built in Poland. The first blueprints reached Poland in mid-1947; Polish engineers supplemented them and adapted them to the conditions in the Gdańsk shipyard. The lofting began in September 1947.

The keel for the first ore and coal carrier was laid on 3 April 1948. In spite of the shortage of specialists and materials, and electric power cuts, the work went ahead. On 6 November 1948 the ship was launched and given the name Sołdek in appreciation of Stanisław Sołdek, one of the “heroes of socialist labour” at Gdańsk Shipyard. The main propulsion’s steam engine was produced according to a Polish design by the Zgoda @Technical Device Factory in Świętochłowice. On 21 October 1949, the Sołdek was handed over to Żegluga Polska.

There was an accident during its maiden voyage from Szczecin to Ghent. A wooden block around the rudderstock fell apart and water flowed into the stern compartments. When the water was pumped out of the stern tank to the bow and the stern was raised, a concrete box was placed around the place of the malfunction and the ship was sent for repairs.

Later, the Sołdek was sent to the “coal bridge” between Poland and Scandinavia. It sailed there for most of its lifespan, although it occasionally also called at North Sea ports. When Żegluga Polska was dissolved, it was taken over by the Polish Steamship Company on 1 January 1951.

During a storm on 16 September 1968, when the Sołdek was off the Island of Rügen, water started to suddenly rise in its engine room. After a rescue operation with 13 ships, the Sołdek was towed to Świnoujście on 18 September. Only in March 1969 was it discovered that the water got into the engine room from within, from the steam engine’s cooling circuit and the auxiliary engines. The malfunction was caused by the negligence of the engine room’s crew—dirt prevented the cooling water from being pumped overboard so it accumulated in the engine room.

Another adventure took place in January 1972, during a call at Copenhagen. The Sołdek was almost rammed by the French motor ship Borodino. In the end, all that happened was that the French vessel’s bow scraped the Sołdek’s davits and a starboard ship’s boat was destroyed.

The Sołdek sailed on its 1000th voyage in 1972, just like its twin, the Jedność Robotnicza. That same year, as the only Polish ship, it received the Order of the Banner of Labour, 1st Class. At the same time, the idea came to withdraw it from service. Initially this was to take place in 1975.

 The Sołdek’s technical condition allowed it to sail on for a few more years; it was decommissioned only on 31 December 1980. On 27 April 1981, it was handed over to the Polish Maritime Museum in Gdańsk. It was converted to a museum, its 1949 appearance was restored (where possible) and it was opened to the public in August 1985.

From among the other type B-30 ships built in Poland, one, the Jedność Robotnicza, was handed over to Żegluga Polska already in 1949. Two more (Brygada Makowskiego and Pstrowski) were handed over to Żegluga Polska in 1950. In 1951, all of them were transferred to the Polish Steamship Company, which was established on 1 January 1951. In 1953, the PSC also got the Wieczorek, the final of the ships ordered in 1946. The Wieczorek stayed in the shipyard for so long because the malfunction of the Sołdek’s steam engine in 1952 was so serious that it was replaced with the engine initially meant for the Wieczorek. Toward the end of the 1970s, they were decommissioned and scrapped.

Besides the six ships ordered by Żegluga Polska in 1946, Gdańsk Shipyard built a further 23 ships of this type ordered by the Soviets, with upgraded designs. They were sent to Soviet state shipowners on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. One of them, the Zaporozhe, sank on 3 May 1957 due to a collision with the general cargo vessel Karaganda. Seven such vessels were sent to the Soviet navy in the 1960s and converted into repair ships (Novoshakhtinsk, Vytegra and Tovda) and cable layers (Kalar, Tkvarcheli, Zangezur and Pereyaslav Khmielnitskiy). The other ships of this type were decommissioned in 1967-1972 and scrapped.


On 5 May 1946, the Polish Shipyards’ Union (ZSP, which included Gdańsk Shipyards No. 1 and No. 2) was commissioned to build four vessels for Żegluga Polska, including six ore and coal carriers of 2540 dwt. Unfortunately, one of the biggest among the many problems faced by the burgeoning Polish shipbuilding industry in the wake of World War II was a shortage of personnel. At this pioneering stage, there were only 20 naval architects in all of Poland. That is why the production of the first Polish cargo vessels was based on foreign designs. A design for a general cargo vessel was imported from Belgium to bring about the type B-50 vessels of ca. 4000 dwt. The Italian Ansaldo Shipyard of Genoa provided the blueprints for a coasting vessel which became the basis for the design of the type B-51 vessel of ca. 650 dwt.

The French Augustin Normand Shipyard in Le Havre received an order for an ore and coal carrier design: the third vessel type scheduled to be built in Poland. The first blueprints reached Poland in mid-1947; Polish engineers supplemented them and adapted them to the conditions in the Gdańsk shipyard. The lofting began in September 1947.

The keel for the first ore and coal carrier was laid on 3 April 1948. In spite of the shortage of specialists and materials, and electric power cuts, the work went ahead. On 6 November 1948 the ship was launched and given the name Sołdek in appreciation of Stanisław Sołdek, one of the “heroes of socialist labour” at Gdańsk Shipyard. The main propulsion’s steam engine was produced according to a Polish design by the Zgoda @Technical Device Factory in Świętochłowice. On 21 October 1949, the Sołdek was handed over to Żegluga Polska.

There was an accident during its maiden voyage from Szczecin to Ghent. A wooden block around the rudderstock fell apart and water flowed into the stern compartments. When the water was pumped out of the stern tank to the bow and the stern was raised, a concrete box was placed around the place of the malfunction and the ship was sent for repairs.

Later, the Sołdek was sent to the “coal bridge” between Poland and Scandinavia. It sailed there for most of its lifespan, although it occasionally also called at North Sea ports. When Żegluga Polska was dissolved, it was taken over by the Polish Steamship Company on 1 January 1951.

During a storm on 16 September 1968, when the Sołdek was off the Island of Rügen, water started to suddenly rise in its engine room. After a rescue operation with 13 ships, the Sołdek was towed to Świnoujście on 18 September. Only in March 1969 was it discovered that the water got into the engine room from within, from the steam engine’s cooling circuit and the auxiliary engines. The malfunction was caused by the negligence of the engine room’s crew—dirt prevented the cooling water from being pumped overboard so it accumulated in the engine room.

Another adventure took place in January 1972, during a call at Copenhagen. The Sołdek was almost rammed by the French motor ship Borodino. In the end, all that happened was that the French vessel’s bow scraped the Sołdek’s davits and a starboard ship’s boat was destroyed.

The Sołdek sailed on its 1000th voyage in 1972, just like its twin, the Jedność Robotnicza. That same year, as the only Polish ship, it received the Order of the Banner of Labour, 1st Class. At the same time, the idea came to withdraw it from service. Initially this was to take place in 1975.

The Sołdek’s technical condition allowed it to sail on for a few more years; it was decommissioned only on 31 December 1980. On 27 April 1981, it was handed over to the Polish Maritime Museum in Gdańsk. It was converted to a museum, its 1949 appearance was restored (where possible) and it was opened to the public in August 1985.

From among the other type B-30 ships built in Poland, one, the Jedność Robotnicza, was handed over to Żegluga Polska already in 1949. Two more (Brygada Makowskiego and Pstrowski) were handed over to Żegluga Polska in 1950. In 1951, all of them were transferred to the Polish Steamship Company, which was established on 1 January 1951. In 1953, the PSC also got the Wieczorek, the final of the ships ordered in 1946. The Wieczorek stayed in the shipyard for so long because the malfunction of the Sołdek’s steam engine in 1952 was so serious that it was replaced with the engine initially meant for the Wieczorek. Toward the end of the 1970s, they were decommissioned and scrapped.

Besides the six ships ordered by Żegluga Polska in 1946, Gdańsk Shipyard built a further 23 ships of this type ordered by the Soviets, with upgraded designs. They were sent to Soviet state shipowners on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. One of them, the Zaporozhe, sank on 3 May 1957 due to a collision with the general cargo vessel Karaganda. Seven such vessels were sent to the Soviet navy in the 1960s and converted into repair ships (Novoshakhtinsk, Vytegra and Tovda) and cable layers (Kalar, Tkvarcheli, Zangezur and Pereyaslav Khmielnitskiy). The other ships of this type were decommissioned in 1967-1972 and scrapped.

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