Katariina Seaside Park

History

Swedish and Russian fleets fought each other on two occasions outside Kotka. The first naval battle of Ruotsinsalmi was waged in the summer of 1789. The battle ended in a victory for Russia. The second naval battle of Ruotsinsalmi in the next summer is the largest battle ever fought in Northern Europe and ended as a disaster for Russia. Sweden sunk almost the entire fleet of Catherine the Great in the sea outside current Kotka. As a result of the battle, naval fortresses were soon built by Russia in the area, and these gradually evolved into the Ruotsinsalmi fortress town. In the 1790s, there were about 10,000 inhabitants in the area of the present Kotkansaari more than in Vyborg and Helsinki at that time.

In the town plan confirmed in 1917, the whole of Katariinanniemi was a park area, where a variety of footpaths had emerged. Despite local resistance, the construction of an oil harbour commenced amidst the fortress ruins in the 1930s. Finland lost Vyborg and the Saimaa Canal as a result of the Second World War, explaining why oil companies started to use the oil harbour as a supply point for the entire of Eastern Finland.

Port operations at Katariinanniemi 1930 – 2000

The oil port operations reached their peak in the 1950s and 1960s. A total of 56 tanks were built in the area of the oil harbour, capable of accommodating a total of 400,000 m3 of oil products.

In the early 1950s, Shell obtained a permit to build additional tanks in the fortress area of Fort Katariina, and even some of the fortress structures were demolished to give way to the tanks.

Conversion into a liquid harbour

In the 1970s, when the Saimaa Canal re-opened for transport and the Sköldvik oil refinery in Porvoo was completed, the oil harbour in Kotka began to lose its importance.

The harbour had quays, railway tracks and large oil tanks in place, so the oil harbour was converted into a liquid harbour. As the safety regulations became more stringent, the carriage of liquids was transferred to the new deep-water port of Mussalo which can be seen on the opposite shore.

Oil companies cleaned the area

Oil and liquid storage operations in the area ultimately ended in 2002. In accordance with the lease agreement, the oil companies removed the tank and pipe structures and had the area cleaned.

The days of the oil harbour in the green areas of Katariinanniemi are still reflected in the quays, the old brick warehouse, a few concrete tank foundations, and the former huge oil storage cavern within the bedrock.