Poland Resurrects Ratownik

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After a few months of uncertainty, Poland has relaunched the Ratownik programme to procure at least one modern rescue and salvage ship for the Polish Navy.

The Polish MoD decided to skip the open tender procedure and selected state-owned PGZ as the main partner for Ratownik.

Ongoing discussions between the MoD Armament Inspectorate and PGZ (and a number of its subsidiaries) focus on the programme budget and delivery schedule, as well as industrial workshare. Shephard Defence Insight estimates the programme value at $432.8 million.

Ratownik is earmarked to replace two elderly Piast-class ships (ORP Piast and ORP Lech) which entered service in the 1970s.

However, until recently the fate of the programme hung in the balance after a first attempt was cancelled in April 2020. The Armament Inspectorate stated at the time that  the manufacturer failed to reach a number of milestones in the project. However, various media reports at that time informed that financial issues also played a hand in the decision to cancel the project.

The original Ratownik project called for procurement of a single prototype vessel, with the option to order another if extensive tests of the initial ship proved its required operational capabilities.

A contract was signed in late 2017 for PLN755 million ($180.6 million) with a PGZ-led consortium of Polish companies.

The prototype Ratownik vessel – based on a design from MMC Ship Design & Marine Consulting in Gdynia – was to have been delivered by November 2022.

The vessel would have been 95m long with a beam of 18.8m and draught of 5m. It was expected to have a maximum speed of 16kt and displacement of about 6,000t.

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