100th Anniversary of the Lithuanian merchant fleet
Posted On 2021-03-03
This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Lithuanian merchant fleet. On March 4, 1921, the first Lithuanian flagged ship “Jūratė” arrived at Klaipeda port. This was the beginning of the history of the Lithuanian national fleet. The Lithuanian merchant fleet was born on a private initiative in 1921 without even having its own seaports.
Although the idea of Lithuania as a maritime state is mostly associated with the interwar (1918-1939) period, the concept of a maritime state is still used today. The history of the idea of Lithuania as a maritime state has several stages – until 1923, 1923-1939, 1945-1990, and after 1990. It is unfortunate that geopolitical upheavals “swept away” what had been achieved before, and it actually always started with the “white paper.” Continuity can be seen only in the history of Klaipeda city and port.
In 1937 the magazine “Sea” wrote: “During thirteen years, we have been moving closer to the sea by our thought and hard work. We have promoted maritime affairs, built railways, improved the port infrastructure, and carried out various other tasks in order to establish our seaside. And finally, in the fourteenth year, we began to move from port waters to the open sea and we had started our real maritime life. Exploring the sea allowed us to strengthen the well-being of our people and all-state. In 1937 the Lithuanian fleet consisted of 6 merchant vessels with a gross register capacity of 4,734, employing about 94 seafarers. Today there are 102 ships with a gross tonnage (GT) of 410089 under Lithuanian maritime registration and over 1000 seafarers engaged in this sector.