Home Europe Poland’s sole submarine a death trap, sailors say in open letter

Poland’s sole submarine a death trap, sailors say in open letter

ORP Orzel
Polish Navy file photo of ORP Orzel

The crew of Poland’s sole operational submarine ORP Orzeł have written an open letter drawing leaders’ attention to the poor technical state of the submarine they serve on.

According to a report from German news site FAZ.net, the sailors wrote that it was a miracle the boat was still afloat and that any deployment could end up being their last one.

While Poland technically still has two remaining Kobben-class subs in service, German Type 205 boats built for Norway in the 1960s and transferred to Poland in early 2000s, ORP Orzeł is the only submarine considered capable of performing operational deployments.

The Kilo-class submarine was built in the Soviet Union and delivered to Poland in 1986.

It had actually been decommissioned five years ago, but was brought back into service, despite the sailors’ protests, the FAZ report said.

Some of the recent issues encountered by the crew include problems with surfacing, propulsion, sonar, communications and armament.

Polish sailors expressed their concerns in the wake of the sinking of Indonesia’s 40-year-old submarine KRI Nanggala with the loss of all 53 crew onboard.

Polish defense officials brushed off the concerns, saying the navy was already in the process of completing repairs on the submarine.

Back in 2018, Poland was considering buying a new fleet of submarines, and had shortlisted French, German and Swedish proposals for its Orka submarine program. That program is currently dead in the water, however.