On Friday November 17, the meticulously planned and eagerly awaited operation to tow the ORP Sokol submarine from the shipyard to its final destination  the Naval Museum in Gdynia took place in coastal Gdynia.
Aleksander Gosk, deputy director of the museum, shared with PAP[1] the details of this monumental undertaking, shedding light on the extensive preparations that led to the transformation of this marvel of naval technology into a captivating museum exhibit[2].

ORP Sokol, after completing its service in the Polish Navy, has begun a new chapter of its life – as a museum exhibit for maritime education of future generations.

The ORP Sokoł submarine occupies a unique place in the history of the Navy, especially the Polish Navy. For many years, it was a symbol of naval prowess and technological innovations used in the construction of such vessels. Introduced into service in the second half of the 20th century[3] ORP Sokol was built as a product of the most advanced naval engineering of the time.

The name “Sokol” aptly captures the predatory nature of submarines lurking beneath the waves. The design of the submarine has been adapted to the requirements of modern naval warfare, combining agility with the advanced technology needed to navigate complex underwater areas.

For 16 years, ORP Sokol diligently served the Polish Navy, being a vigilant guardian of the nation’s maritime interests. Its operational history is marked by countless exercises and missions, during which it sailed 26,000 nautical miles[4].

The ORP Sokol, like all submarines, is a marvel of engineering. Its sleek hull and advanced propulsion systems allowed it to maneuver quietly in the deep, allowing it to maintain a strategic advantage during covert operations.

In June 2018, ORP Falcon faced retirement from service, marking the end of its active service in the Polish Navy[5]. The ship embarked on a mission different from its previous ones. A decision was made to turn it into a museum exhibit[6].

The ORP Falcon has found its new home at the Naval Museum in Gdynia, where it is set to become the centerpiece for telling the stories of its underwater expeditions and the dedicated sailors who man its decks. Preparations for the museum’s debut took three years, resulting in the presentation of the Falcon in a way that works on visitors’ imaginations.

In fact, the ORP Sokół submarine is more than an ordinary ship: it is a testament to the ingenuity of its designers, the courage of its crew and the ever-evolving naval technology. As an exhibit at the Naval Museum in Gdynia, ORP Sokol will allow future generations to appreciate the quiet strength and vital role of submarines in making naval history.

Towing a submarine from a shipyard to a museum is quite a challenge – it requires precision, knowledge and efficient coordination. The carefully orchestrated operation made it possible for spectators to follow it[7], both in person and through the media. They witnessed a rare spectacle, during which a piece of naval history gracefully flitted across the urban landscape.

This journey from shipyard to museum marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of ORP Falcon. As a museum exhibit, the ship will continue to inspire admiration and respect for the maritime heritage of the Polish Navy, of which it is an essential part.


Tekst powstał w ramach realizacji zadania publicznego zleconego w ramach Rządowego Programu Rozwoju Organizacji Obywatelskich na lata 2018–2030 r. „Bezpieczna Polska jutra – rozwój działań misyjnych Alioth Foundation”.



Photo: Kobben-class submarine ORP Sokół in the naval port of Gdynia (Oksywa), Pomuchelskopp,  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ORP_Sok%C3%B3%C5%82_294_2012_2_maja_Oksywie.JPG [accessed: 22.11.2023r]

[1] PAP – Polish Press Agency (pol. Polska Agencja Prasowa)

[2] The ORP Sokol submarine will be standing on the grounds of the Naval Museum – online, https://www.pap.pl/aktualnosci/na-terenie-muzeum-marynarki-wojennej-stanie-okret-podwodny-orp-sokol [accessed: 17.11.2023].

[3] ORP “Sokol” is a Kobben-type ship that was built at the German shipyard Nordseewerke for the Royal Norwegian Navy and launched on September 2, 1966. After the Norwegian Navy’s service ended, the unit was transferred to the Polish armed forces. – excerpt from: https://www.trojmiasto.pl/wiadomosci/Okret-podwodny-zacumuje-na-skwerze-n183765.html [accessed: 17.11.2023].

[4] ORP Sokol is embarking on a unique journey. This is the end of a stage. – online, https://tech.wp.pl/orp-sokol-wyrusza-w-wyjatkowa-podroz-to-koniec-pewnego-etapu,6963801223396096a [accessed: 17.11.2023r]

[5] ORP Sokol makes final journey [SCHEDULE] – online, https://defence24.pl/sily-zbrojne/orp-sokol-wybiera-sie-w-ostatnia-podroz-harmonogram [accessed: 20.11.2023].

[6] The ORP Sokol submarine will stand on the grounds of the Naval Museum – online https://www.pap.pl/aktualnosci/na-terenie-muzeum-marynarki-wojennej-stanie-okret-podwodny-orp-sokol [accessed: 20.11.2023].

[7] ORP Sokol makes final journey [SCHEDULE] – online, https://defence24.pl/sily-zbrojne/orp-sokol-wybiera-sie-w-ostatnia-podroz-harmonogram [accessed: 20.11.2023].