CHRONICLE OF THE SHIPYARD
The beginnings of today’s Stocznia WISŁA reach back into the eighties of the 19th century. In that time because of the continuous need to crush ice-jams on lower Wisła River, the Prussian Authorities have decided to establish a permanent base for ice-breakers, and also – as the technical part of the base – a repair shipyard.
On 31st March 1895 the 7 kilometer long channel was commissioned becoming the main mouth of the Wisła River into the Baltic Sea, and was called Wisła Przekop (Ditch).

Wisła Przekop was dug near the village of Świbno, 9 kilometers east from Wisła Śmiała. In this way Martwa Wisła was already 23 kilometers long, and from Leniwka it was cut off by a chamber lock in the area of Przegalina village.  In the area where Wisła Śmiała and Leniwka branched, there at first existed a small island.  After making from the east side a dam cutting off one of the side branches of the river, a peninsula was formed connected directly with the area of Górki Zachodnie.  And in this place in the years 1886÷1887 the Prussian Regency, the body of regional administration of those days, became the owner of the chosen building site.

In the year 1888 documentation was being prepared, and a year later the workshops and unique for those times longitudinal mechanical slipway enabling servicing of vessels up to 300 tons were already under construction. In the beginning of the 20th century the Department of Wisła River Flood-Control with headquarters in Gdańsk had a fleet of 13 ice-breakers, 31 steam vessels and dredgers and a special vessels allowing underwater works. The average employment was, because of changing seasonal requirements, very varying and averaged from 220 workers in summer to 340 workers in winter. In the time between theWorld Wars the Shipyard was governed by theHarbour and Waterways Council in Free City of Gdańsk, administration under the supervision of the League of the Nations. It was the only enterprise of typical shipyard activity supervised by this International body.  It carried out more serious repairs of both the Council’s vessels, as well as harbour on/off-loading equipment.  The employment was about 200 full-time and about 40 seasonal workers.  The manager of Machine Building Office (the official name of the shipyard in those days) was W. Schockalt from Germany, whereas his deputy was a renowned expert, polish graduate of the Technical University of Gdansk, eng. Henryk Rosochowicz who worked on this post since 1926. The end of World War II brought an end to the existence of both the Free City of Gdansk as well as it’s subsidiary organ, the Harbour and Waterways Council.
The Shipyard in Górki Zachodnie as Shipyard No. 11 becomes now part of the Union of Polish Shipyards with headquarters in Gdańsk, founded on 14th June 1945.
The Shipyard was totally ruined.  The workshops were burned out, the machines and administration building were destroyed by explosions and partly burned out.  In the Shipyard’s basins could be seen sunk barges, dredgers and ships.  On the premises of the shipyard there were numerous craters made by bombs and shells and between the still smoldering remains of buildings lay the dead corpses of people and horses.

The first team whose aim was to set order and begin the operation of the Shipyard arrived on it’s premises on 9th May 1945. As a result of a really heroic effort – the cleaning operation was performed with an ever-present awareness of the fact that the Shipyard and it’s surroundings were heavily mined – the enterprise could begin operation after a few months. From the bottom of the basin a coal-carrying vessel of the name “Welle” was salvaged – a small steam vessel, supplying ice-breakers with coal. After repair works and changing the name to “Fala” and later to “Ryś”, the vessel became famous for the successful rescue  operation on Christmas Eve of 1945, saving the passengers and crew of a ferry crossing the Wisła River in the vicinity of Świbno.
Since January 1946 m.sc. Eng. I. Sienicki, a graduate of the Technical University of Warsaw, becomes the Manager of the Shipyard, taking the post from Jan Lesiński.
The biggest problem in those times was the staff, or more precisely the lack of it. Among the 160 people team, working for symbolic wages, there were no experts – the whole engineering and technical staff was one engineer and three mechanical technicians.
In the face of lack of electric power – there was no electric power also in neighboring Górki – a small diesel-driven generator, found among the wrecks of tanks and cars, was installed in the Shipyard, sufficient for supplying one lathe during daytime and few houses in the evenings.
The Shipyard in Górki Zachodnie was supplied with electric power from Gdańsk not sooner than June 1946.  By that time, the shipyard’s basins were cleaned by salvaging 4 dredgers, a few motor boats and a tugboat.  Successful was the operation of salvaging the biggest (with a weight of abt. 600 tonnes) of the vessels sunk by the Germans  – a bay passenger vessel “Preussen”, which was laying in the channel leading to Gdańsk.  Repaired was also the administration building, with temporary metal-working workshops, kitchen and dining-room placed on the ground floor, and offices on the first floor.

From the middle of 1946 repairs of “outside” vessels were begun, that is vessels not connected with the functioning of the pre-war Shipyard.Those specific “outside services” were begun by performing repair works on passenger steamboat “Elbląg” and two side-wheelers “Mamut (“Buffel”) and “Andrzej Zamojski” (“Vistula”). The salvaged vessel “Preussen” after peforming repair works in Northern Shipyard was named “Diana” and for many years was sailing on the Szczecin Bay.
As far as the organization is concerned important administrative changes took place in that time, by separating from the Union of Polish Shipyards – small enterprises performing mainly auxiliary and repair functions.  In such way the Shipyard in Górki Zachodnie was transferred to the Department of Waterways.  On 1st January 1950 the Shipyard became a state enterprise as Stocznia Główna Rejonu Gdańsk (Main Shipyard of the Gdańsk Area).  Stocznia Rzeczna (River Shipyard) in Górki Zachodnie had under it’s authority the auxiliary shipyards in Tczew, Elbląg, Przegalina and Sianki (Stogi), operating on the principle of limited economic clearance. The first Head Manager of the Shipyard was eng. Bernard Krynicz.

In 1953 the Union of Sea Shiprepair Yards was formed, under the authority of the Ministry of Shipping.  In the beginning the Union was formed by three big shiprepair yards, and also PZM Puck and MORS.  In 1967 the Gdańska Stocznia Rzeczna in Górki Zachodnie was incorporated in the Union of Sea Shiprepair Yards, and as of 1st January 1967 was known as Stocznia WISŁA.

One of the very important problems of the shipyard is the large distance from the center of Gdańsk.  Up till 1951 the transport of people and materials was done in summer by water on board a motorboat and in winter by road in a worn out Bedford truck.
A significant improvement was the erection in the second half of the fifties a company living compound together with a worker’s hotel on Łowicka street.
Serious problems were still caused by the shortage of suitable technical facilities – even in 1953 the first side launching was done with the help of undercarriages and slides placed under the hull directly before the launching, whereas assembly of the hull was done on a meadow, where the sections were transported by barge and a caterpillar crane.
More and more often the task of the shipyard’s crew was not only repairs, but also newbuilding of vessels.  The first dump barge was constructed in 1954, the second one year later.  An unprecedented event in the history of the shipyard was the undertaking of the construction of a large series of vessels.  The vessel were wooden construction minesweepers type D-151 for the Soviet Union, according to documentation supplied by the shipowners.  In all, until 1960 54 of such vessels were built, including 7 for our country.

Experience gathered in production conducted on industrial scale had to be profitable.  The number of vessels built in Stocznia “Wisła” was year after year higher, beginning from one vessel in 1954, through 16 in 1959, up to 31 in 1965 and 109 vessels in 1975.
At the same time the technical complexity of the production was also growing higher and higher. The wooden hulls were very soon substituted by steel ones.  The production of vessels made from plastic composites was also begun (hydrographic vessels, motorboats and yachts), as well as from light alloys (life boats, hydrofoil boats).

Stocznia “Wisła” became the major supplier of floating craft for the Polish “White Fleet” and a significant supplier for such fleet of the Soviet Union.
In the years 1961 ÷ 1970 55 passenger vessels were built, 21 motor boats, 8 pontoons, 7 training vessels, and also 32 steel and wooden fishing vessels (boats, cutters and rafts) for Libya and 58 special purpose vessels mainly for the Soviet Union.

After the year 1970 a visible production increase can be noted, mainly through the assembly of complex and large vessels with a high degree of specialization. In this time there were built, among others, tankers for carrying fuels and fresh water, military training ships, rescue vessels, inspection and surveillance motor boats, multipurpose fishing vessels. The new vessels very characterized by an enlarged operational range and highly specialized equipment.  The export list of countries was enlarged by such exotic countries as Birma, Iraq, Mauritania, Libya, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iran, which accompany European end-users:  Czechoslovakia, German Federal Republic, Soviet Union, Holland, Sweden and Island.From among the about 1.420 vessels which came to life at Stocznia “Wisła”, it is today hard to choose the most interesting vessels for technical or functional reasons. Beside the production of new vessels the Shipyard is also conducting shiprepairs and modernizations of existing vessels.

 Stocznia WISŁA Sp. z o.o. (Limited Liability Company) was formed as an Employees Company on the basis of an agreement made in the form of an authenticated deed dated May 1992, and formally begun operation on 1st February 1994 on the basis of an amended Company agreement dated January 1994.

In the beginning of 1994 in the State Enterprise Stocznia “WISŁA” there was conducted a privatization of the Shipyard. The operation of selling the enterprise was done on the principle of a public tender conducted by the Court Enforcement Officer of the District Court in Gdansk.The conversion of the shipyard was based on disposing by the State Treasury of the right of perpetual usefruct of shipyard’s grounds with ownership of buildings and structures laying on those grounds. Grounds, buildings, machines, installations and structures directly connected with production were acquired by Stocznia WISŁA Sp. z o.o., and their total area amounts to 8,7 hectares.

From the moment of privatization of Stocznia WISŁA there is noted a significant jump in technical and technological capabilities, and also in production quality through computerizing of the whole process of production preparation and technical modernization of production facilities. The process of elaborating the technology of executing various ship constructions, technical production aids and strength calculation is conducted using specialized computer software. Steel plate marking-off, elaboration of numeric cutting cards and tabularization of stiffeners for preliminary prefabrication is completely computerized (the classical marking-off is no longer used). The steel plate cutting is performed on two automatic computer-controlled cutting machines according to cutting documentation from a CD with full control of the cutting process by the operator through a CR monitor. The whole correspondence (letters, technical descriptions, technical documentation, technological documentation, drawing normalized according to European and worldwide norms, numeric data for plate cutting, numeric data for templates and steel plates and profiles forming, unification tables for prefabrication of stiffeners, technological sketches and charts for 2nd degree prefabrication etc. is being sent through electronic mail “e-mail”, directly to computers installed in departments:  DN, NT and NP.
The internal vertical and horizontal transport was thoroughly modernized, what allowed to built construction practically without limits as far as size and weight is concerned.
The measurements and approvals are done with the employment of latest generation electronic equipment. The managing of the production process of the Company is characterized by a detailed production costs control and their optimalization. This allows a direct interference of the Management in current production processes and undertaking direct countermeasures in those areas of the Shipyard’s production processes which have a decisive impact on the cost of our production, at the same time ensuring  operational safety of the Shipyard.
In Stocznia WISŁA there are practically no limits as to the vessel type, or the degree of technical complexity.  The existing limitations result from the capacity of the slipway and depth of water at outfitting quays what causes, that the weight at launching cannot exceed 300 tones, at overall length of vessel of 40 meters and functional draught 2,35 meters.

Independently from the production of complete floating objects Stocznia WISŁA has built and is building partly equipped hulls and deckhouses for foreign and domestic clients.
At the moment, Stocznia WISŁA main activity is the construction of partly equipped ship’s hulls, 3D sections, blocks and deckhouses for foreign and domestic clients. 92% of our production from the past over 12 years of operation we have been making on order of foreign clients, mainly from European Union countries.

We are also satisfied with our production cooperation with our fellow shipyard workers from Gdańska Stocznia Remontowa, Stocznia Gdynia, Stocznia Północna and Stocznia Szczecińska.
For example, in 1997 Stocznia WISŁA had a significant contribution in the production by Gdańska Stocznia Remontowa of a floating dock with capacity 3.000 tonnes for NIGERDOCK Shipyard in Lagos, Nigeria.   In 2000/2001 we have cooperated with Stocznia Gdynia in the construction of deckhouses and shipsections.  In 2003, in cooperation with Gdańska Stocznia Remontowa / Stocznia Północna we have built shipsections for one of the French Shipyards. At present, Stocznia WISŁA possesses production means of significant capabilities and high class specialists what allows production complying with world shipbuilding standards at competitive prices and delivery times.. The current full-time employment in the Company is about 190 employees, whereas full employment of our Company, including outside companies cooperating with us on basis of long-terms contracts and workers on self-employment working for Stocznia WISŁA the whole year round, is about 420 employees.

The ratio of office staff to production workers which is on the level of below 10 % (38 office staff to 420 total number of employees) testifies to the fact of modern managing of the Company, basing on the best experiences of worldwide shipbuilding industry, and to the high effectiveness of the staff.  

In 2007 we have commissioned the largest investment project undertaken by Stocznia WISŁA - the construction of the new Shipsection Construction Department.  The prefabrication-assembly area of a total of above 3.600 square meters serviced by a gantry crane of 45 tons capacity and 30 meters lifting height, together with all the necessary infrastructure, will considerably increase the production capacity of Stocznia WISŁA.  Also a new quay of 50 meters length was constructed in the area of the Shipsection Construction Department, connecting with the existing Bałtyckie Quay, and dredging works were performed in the basin of Stocznia WISŁA in the area of the new quay, allowing safe mooring of even the largest pontoons which can enter Stocznia WISŁA.

Together with the Shipsection Building Department a seagoing pontoon SW 6118 was commissioned - completely designed by the newly formed Design Office of Stocznia WISŁA, and built by Stocznia WISŁA.
The pontoon SW 6118, owned by Stocznia WISŁA, is a significant increase of the delivery capabilities of constructions built by Stocznia WISŁA.

In the year 2009 and beginning of 2010 Stocznia WISŁA delivered to the Shipowner, The Ministry of Fisheries of the Republic of Angola, 4 complete multipurpose fishing vessels type TR 33,8, with overall length of 33,8 meters, breadth of 8,2 meters and fishholods of 150 qub. meters capacity, cooled down to -25 deg. Celsius.

This project, executed in whole by Stocznia WISŁA, from the design through procurement of materials, building of the hull, prefabrication and assembly of pipelines, installation of machinery and equipment, outfitting up to start-up, sea and take-over trials, constitutes a clear confirmation of the possibilities and potential of Stocznia WISŁA.

During the execution of the project of construction and delivery of four fishing vessels for the Ministry of Fisheries of the Republic of Angola, the Shipsection Production Department was renamed to Shipsection and Hull Production Department.

With the beginning of the year 2010 Stocznia WISŁAis planning to expand it's offer for performing shiprepairs and conversions (steel and piping works, painting, overhaul and exchange of machineries, class renewal) of vessels with lenght up to 65 meters and breadth up to 20 meters.


April 2010

  

 

 

 

 

 

   
              Stocznia WISŁA Sp. z o.o. 80-643 Gdańsk, ul. Przełom 1, tel. +48 58 307-39-53, fax +48 58 307-39-13