Historical background

  • On 9 September, 1944, Finland signs a peace treaty with the Soviet Union and agrees to pay reparations for war damages totalling 300 million gold dollars, including 66.2 million gold dollars intended for building vessels and handing them over to the Soviet Union.
  • Building of the barquentine “Meridianas” starts at Oy Laivateollisuus Ab shipyard in Turku (Finland) on 22 February, 1947, entered in the list under item number 5.
  • The hull is launched afloat on 10 June, 1948, and the sailing vessel is completed on 30 August, while on 1 October the vessel is handed over to the Soviet Union.
  • The maritime school of Klaipėda receives the sailing vessel on 3 May, 1949.
  • Meridianas joins the Baltic training ships fleet in 1954, trainees from Kaliningrad, Riga and Klaipėda maritime schools undergo their apprenticeship on its board.
  • In the aftermath of an accident in 1968 Meridianas is deleted from the list of active training ships and is brought to Klaipėda.
  • In 1970 the ship is handed over to the then public trust of eateries, restaurants and cafés of Klaipėda.
  • A restaurant opens its doors on board of the ship in 1971.
  • The barquentine is privatised in 1994.
  • The ship is sold for a token sum of 1 Litas in 2001. A support fund of the sailing ship Meridianas, a symbol of Klaipėda as a maritime city, is organised which takes over the ship.
  • In early October of 2012 the then head of the Fund applies to the Government for permit to sink the barquentine in the territorial waters of Lithuania, the reason being a lack of cash which is required for repairs of the vessel.
  • On 19 October 2012 the support fund of the sailing ship Meridianas, as a symbol of Klaipėda as a port city, changes hands and goes to Aloyzas Kuzmarskis and Aidas Kaveckis, with the vessel’s reconstruction and overhaul initiated.
  • Meridianas is successfully sailed to the Western Shipyard (AB Klaipėdos laivų remontas AB) and docked on 10 November, 2012. Repair of the hull starts.
  • On 9 November, 2013, the Meridianas, with the hull, superstructures, and rigging restored and repaired, is brought back to her permanent location at the embankment of the Danė river.
  • The vessel’s interior fitting and decoration works and the preparation of the museum exhibition are carried on from 10 November, 2013 through July 2014.
  • On 19 July, 2014, sails of the Meridians are hoisted and the vessel is given back to the city and general public in a symbolic gesture. An open exposition opens on the river embankment featuring parts of an authentic foremast and wood frames, an original screw, and hewn ballast stones.
  • On 18 December, 2014, an agreement is signed for the transfer of the Meridianas management rights to “Friedricho pasažas”. An upscale restaurant and a bar have been operating on the inner deck of the vessel since then.