Construction has begun at the Baltic Workboats shipyard in Nasva, Saaremaa on a rescue ship ordered by the Ukrainian state and slated to serve on the Black Sea. The 28-meter vessel is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Odesa a year from now.
The significance of this particular ship build is threefold: after more than ten years, this marks a significant order from Ukraine for the Saaremaa shipbuilders; it is also an important order for Ukraine during the ongoing war being waged there by Russia. But it is also an emotional order for the more than 50 Ukrainians who work at the Baltic Workboats shipyard.
"It's always enjoyable to build a ship for your own country — you're building it for your own homeland," said Sergiy, one of the Ukrainians working there.
The Ukrainian Maritime Search and Rescue Service's fleet currently consists of seven ships, half of which were built in Saaremaa more than a decade ago. The new ship, which will cost more than €5 million, will be the eighth rescue ship to be operated by Ukraine on the Black Sea.
Despite the ongoing war, Ukraine still has all seven vessels, although they can't really operate on the sea at the moment.
"The current situation on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov is complicated," said Viktor Sudarev, head of the Maritime Search and Rescue Service. "Ship traffic is blocked for everyone there. Russian warships open fire without warning, but such a situation will not continue for as long as they'd like. We're engaged in a full-scale heavy war with Russia. Despite this, however, Ukraine is a reliable partner and will remain one as well. We will definitely fulfill all our obligations, and complete all of the operations we've initiated."
In all, 18 vessels are currently under construction at the Nasva shipyard, with orders in progress from a total of eight different countries.
"The client is here today and is very optimistic, and I suppose we're optimistic then too," Baltic Workboats board member Jüri Taal said. "Taking into account, of course, that contractually, the handover of the ship is supposed to take place in Odesa, and we know that right now, residential buildings in Odesa are being fired at with missiles, which has us a bit worried. But handover is scheduled for about a year from now, so we'll see, and hope for the best."
Editor: Aili Vahtla