Capt. Zbigniew Sulatycki - Chair of the Maritime Convention

Your Magnificence,

Great Senate, Distinguished Academic Teachers, Your Excellence the Bishop, Dear All who are here today to witness this moment and celebrate these young people taking up the torch from previous generations.

It's always a pleasure for me to come here, to this place. As the sun is setting on one's time on this earth, there is the tendency to continually revisit the past. It takes me back 72 years, when here, in this spot, stood Dar Pomorza. Not Dar Młodzieży, but the Dar Pomorza.

And one day some kid came along, sat down on a bollard in the quay, and began to dream: "what a beautiful ship! What an amazing adventure it would be to sail the seas on her! “

That's how it was with me. I naturally grew up on Sienkiewicz's "Trilogy" as well as any other books about the sea I could get hold of. A fascination with the sea was shared in my family. My brother, God rest his soul, began his career on Dar Pomorza and ended up in Sweden where he was interned, before spending the entire duration of the War on one ship, the "Kroban".

They were different times 72 years ago; the world was a different place. On reflection, it's clear to me today that my whole life has been like a sine wave - a continual pattern of ups and downs. But I was always lucky enough to be watched over by Him upstairs. I always fell on all fours and picked myself up again.

My Dear Young Friends!

Today, you have made a decision of great importance not only for yourselves but for the existence of perhaps the most beautiful country that the Lord could have given us, the brightest Republic of Poland. This is no other country like Poland!

As a sailor, and then as a minister, I had the opportunity to visit almost the whole world. I tell you, it's  really something. When many of you sail out into the deep aboard that ship, you will see just how beautifully everything works! Man alone is nothing. Man merely carries out certain commands he has been given. But faced with this power, the power of the sea, he is forced to behave in a certain way, to fight to survive! You will understand that of foremost importance is the knowledge and experience you will receive here. There are no other universities in the world like Gdynia Maritime University and Szczecin Maritime Academy. As you will see, alone, man can do nothing. He must be part of a team, a crew. Only together can you really achieve something, for yourselves, and your families. For your families at home, but also for the bigger family that is our country.

I think we should all be thankful to your parents, your brothers, and your sisters, who have somehow directed you to be here to take up the baton from your predecessors.

The Maritime School was always blessed with outstanding professors. And not only professors but also father figures.  Captain Maciejewicz, Captain Ledóchowski, and many, many others who are here with us today.  At the end of your lives, you will thank them for the knowledge they will hand down to you in the same way as I thank those who came before me today - “Lord God, I thank you for everything! For all of my life.” I wouldn’t swap this University or this place here on earth for any other.  Gdynia is such a beautiful place!

I hope your time spent here will truly feel like in paradise. Figuratively speaking, of course. But just one more thing: Be good to one another. And above all, be good to your female colleagues. In Polish family tradition, it was always the mother, the woman that came first. She was kissed on the hand and told "Thank you, Mum!" Do the same. Love one another. Amen.