Police boat retiring after 26 years of service

Koper – After 26 years of service, Slovenia’s oldest police boat made its final voyage off the Koper coast on Wednesday. It will now be consigned to a museum.

Built in Italy in 1994, the P-111 boat embarked on its maiden voyage in June the following year. It has been used to patrol Slovenian waters and the border and has been involved in many a rescue operation at sea.

The boat will be moved to the Park of Military History in Pivka on Sunday in what the museum’s head Janko Boštjančič anticipates as “an exceptional logistic operation, the transport of a century”.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony held on the occasion in Koper, Boštjančič said this would be the first time for such large cargo to move at such distance along Slovenian roads.

The boat will be displayed in the park right away, but its interior is expected to be made accessible to visitors next year. It will be the largest item of the museum’s Slovenian police collection.

Interior Minister Aleš Hojs noted the symbolic value of the P-111 patrol boat for Slovenia’s sovereignty.

The ministry has been unsuccessfully trying to find a suitable replacement for the P-111 since last year, having lost months in unsuccessful talks with the Italian authorities, said Hojs.

He is confident about the success of a public tender for a new boat. “I believe the Slovenian police can get it in the first part of next year,” he said.

Measuring nearly 20 metres in length, the P-111 has two ARPA radars, a GPS, electronic map, echo-sounding equipment, communication and rescue equipment.