Dismantling operations are set to soon begin on the Navy's former flagship, the Admiral Pitka, with engines and other major equipment to be transferred to the control of the Tallinn University of Technology.
A lab at the Maritime Academy, which is due to merge with the university next year, will use the patrol vessel's equipment for providing training to seamen. Naval cadets at the Estonian Defense College will also train at the academy, helping keep the ship in the family, as it were.
“The Maritime Academy enjoys active cooperation with the Estonian Defense College, whose naval cadets in basic training take specialized subjects at the Maritime Academy. So in other words, the ship will in certain aspects come full circle and return to training of cadets,” said Roomet Leiger, dean and acting rector of the Maritime Academy.
The Ministry of Defense’s Undersecretary for Defense Investments Ingvar Pärnamäe said part of the former Navy flagship will be in a new, dignified role. “I’m glad that at least part of the Admiral Pitka will remain in use and that it will generate increased benefits for the development of the Estonian maritime sector,” said Pärnamäe.
He said that the national defense development plan adopted earlier this year significantly updated the responsibilities of sub-units of the Defense Forces as well as the ways and means of carrying them out. “After careful consideration it was decided that the rational course of action would be for the Navy to continue with three mine clearance vessels, one naval auxiliary and diver group, and to give up the Admiral Pitka,” said Pärnamäe.
The Admiral Pitka was built in Denmark and first launched in 1975 as the HDMS Beskytteren. After decommissioning the ship in 2000, the Danish Navy donated it to the Estonian Navy, where it acquired its present name. The Admiral Pitka was again decommissioned this June.
Initially, the Ministry of Defense announced that the Admiral Pitka would be returned to Denmark as this was a stipulation of the 2000 donation agreement. After some analysis, however, Denmark ended up consigning the ultimate decision on the fate of the ship to Estonia.
The minesweeper Admiral Cowan took over the symbolic title of flagship this summer.