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GALLERY | Polish warship anchors in Tallinn

Polish Naval ship the ORP Kontradmirał Xawery Czernicki has been anchored in Tallinn harbour since 29 August, and has hosted a reception marking the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Polish Navy, which the service is celebrating this year.

"The route taken for the Polish naval anniversary is largely based on history, and in this respect the capital of Estonia is one of the most important places for us,'' said Polish Ambassador to Estonia Mr. Grzegorz Kozłowsk.

''In September 1939, when Poland fell victim to German attacks, our submarine, the ORP Orzeł, found a safe haven in Tallinn," he added.

''The ORP Kontradmirał Xawery Czernicki's visit to Tallinn is however not only dedicated to the past, but also demonstrates our current and and future security and defence cooperation with Estonia. There is a strong and strategic relationship between our countries both bilaterally and within NATO," Mr. Kozłowsk went on.

Significant tour of the Baltic

The Xawery Czernicki, named after one of the founders of the Polish Navy's (Marynarka Wojenna) logistics service (the ship itself is a multitask logistical support ship), a man who was murdered by the Soviet NKVD in the Katyn Massacre of 1940, is on a two-week trip round the Baltic marking the centenary of the navy's formation.

Many of the stop-off routes on the journey are significant in having been allied or partner countries of Poland both in past and present.

''Poland is a significant ally for us, because we operate in the same region, ie. the Baltic Sea," said Lt. Col. Lt Peeter Ivask, Commander of the Estonian Navy (Eesti Merevägi).

"Our cooperation is jointly expressed in the work of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1, participating in various exercises, as well as in the form of important tours,'' he went on.

Xawery Czernicki's details

The Xawery Czernicki is itself celebrating an anniversay soon, having been in service since 1 September 2001. Measuring 73.8 m by 13.8 m, it can carry up to 140 personnel and their required equipment. It is armed with one short range antiaircraft complex, ZU-23-2MR Wróbel-II, and one II 23 mm cannon with 1xII Strela 2M missile launcher.

The Mine Harbour ('Miinisadam') in Tallinn is capable of berthing warships from allied and partner countries, while providing the necessary port services. It is the main naval base in Estonia as well as hosting the Military Police Battalion.

The ORP Kontradmirał Xawery Czernicki departs Tallinn on 31 August.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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