Vistula Spit canal to be opened this year, says minister

Photo: Maritime Office in Gdynia

“A new canal that will cut across the Vistula Spit, allowing Polish ships to reach the Baltic sea without having to pass through Russian-controlled water, will likely be opened this year,” Poland’s deputy infrastructure minister has announced.

Vistula Spit canal would improve links to neighbours: expert

see more

The new waterway will take ships sailing across the Vistula Lagoon from the port of Elbląg, northern Poland, to the Baltic. At the moment they have to sail around the spit through Russia's Strait of Baltiysk.

Marek Gróbarczyk, Polish Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, told Polish radio on Tuesday that “everything indicates that at the end of this year the first ships will sail through the Vistula Spit canal.”

“We do not want to specify the date, because we are faced with the difficult element of constructing a watertight gate,” he said, stressing that “this is the first such investment in Poland, so there will probably be difficulties with everything working properly.”

A tourist attraction

As reported last year by Magdalena Kierzkowska, the spokeswoman for the Gdynia Maritime Office, interest in the construction of the canal has been high since the very beginning.

“Last year a dedicated parking space and a marked path were created. The path leads to a point from which one can observe what is happening on the construction site from a safe distance,” she explained, adding that the spot is quite popular especially when the weather is nice.

Russia sees Vistula Spit canal as a threat: American think-tank

The American think-tank Jamestown Foundation discussed the Russian opinion on the digging of the Vistula Spit Canal in northern Poland saying that...

see more

Russia opposes the project

Russia has opposed the canal’s construction, arguing that it will allow NATO warships to enter the Vistula Lagoon without passing close to the Russian military facilities at Baltiysk, and therefore it represents a direct threat to the security of Kaliningrad and the Russian Federation as a whole.

The Vistula Spit and Vistula Lagoon are part of a Nature 2000 protected area. In September 2020, the European Commission (EC) launched procedures against Poland over the country’s failure to abide by the EU assessment rules regarding the environmental impact of the Vistula Spit canal project.