Twentieth Anniversary of the Last Dive of Submarine P-913 Zeta

24.December 2023

On this day, December 23, 2003, in Tivat, Montenegro, the last dive of the midget submarine P-913 Zeta took place during a voyage. The crew on this dive consisted of sailors and officers of the Montenegrin Navy: Aleksandar Petković, Srđan Nikolić, Salija Jašarević, Dragan Đukanović, and Dalibor Žarić. This marked the final dive of any submarine from the former Yugoslav Navy. The last submarine unit was definitively decommissioned in March 2005, precisely 77 years after the arrival of the first two submarines, Hrabri (P-1) and Nebojša (P-2), in Tivat, marking the beginning of submarine units in the Yugoslav Royal Navy. Tivat thus became the birthplace and the end of submarine warfare on the eastern side of the Adriatic.

After the donation of the submarine P-913 by Montenegro to the Republic of Slovenia in 2008, it safely arrived at the Park of Military History Pivka on April 17, 2011. The spectacular transport of the submarine, which traveled from the submarine base in Tivat to the port of Bar, then across the Adriatic to Bari, and finally on a truck along Italy to Slovenia, was carried out free of charge by the company CEM-TIR d.o.o. The unloading in Pivka was conducted by the company Dvig d.o.o.

The donation of the submarine was largely the result of years of efforts by former submariners who unite in Slovenia under the association called “Podmorničar” (Submariner). In this context, the role of former Rear Admiral Marjan Pogačnik and Captain of a warship Vojko Gorup deserves special mention.

Submarine P-913 Zeta, measuring nineteen meters in length and weighing 76 tons, belongs to the so-called midget or commando submarines of the Una class. In the 1980s, the Yugoslav Navy concluded that larger submarines were unsuitable for performing various tasks in the Adriatic Sea due to its specific characteristics. At the same time, they were looking for a more economical way to increase the submarine fleet. By 1989, six pocket submarines were built in Split, named after rivers from each republic of the former Yugoslavia. The submarine in the Park is named after the Montenegrin river Zeta, and its sponsor during the launch was the municipality of Nikšić in Montenegro. The basic crew of the submarine consisted of four members, and it could also transport up to six operators/divers.

Submarine P-913 Zeta represents an exceptional example of military-technical heritage, and Slovenian experts and industry played a significant role in its development. In addition to being a technical monument, the Zeta submarine also serves as a memorial to generations of Slovenian submariners well-represented in the Yugoslav Navy.