None of Albania's pre-World War II naval forces survived the
occupation of Albania; the new navy was established in August
1945. The naval forces were exclusively coastal defense forces
and closely coordinated their operations with the ground forces.
Their mission was to provide the initial line of resistance to
a seaborne invasion of Albania. Considerably weaker than their
potential adversaries, the naval forces were intended to deny
an aggressor uninhibited access to the waters adjacent to Albania.
They would be largely sacrificed in the effort to defeat at least
some of the units of a large, well-equipped opposing naval assault
force. They would try to prevent submarines from approaching Albanian
coasts and ports, to lay and sweep mines, and to escort convoys.
The absence of a shore-based coastal defense force with surface-to-surface
missiles, however, was a serious deficiency in the navy's ability
to repel a seaborne attack on Albania. Naval forces, together
with police patrol boats, were also responsible for preventing
smuggling and controlling access to Albanian ports.
Naval forces were organized into two coastal defense brigades
composed of minor surface combatants located at the Durrės and
Vlorė naval bases. All combatants were assigned to one of these
bases. Other naval facilities were located at Sazan Island, Pasha
Liman on the strait of Otranto coast, Sarandė, and Shengjin. The
Soviet Union constructed the base at Sazan Island, but it was
not used regularly after Soviet-Albanian relations ruptured in
1961. Naval personnel numbered about 2,000 men, with roughly one-half
The strength of the naval forces shrank between the mid-1970s
and 1991. In particular, old Italian ships of World War II vintage
and most of Albania's minesweepers left the inventory. Torpedo
boats and coastal patrol craft constituted the bulk of the naval
forces. In 1991 Albania had twenty-nine Chinese-built Huchwan
hydrofoil torpedo boats, each of which had two 533mm torpedo tubes.
Patrol craft included six Chinese-made Shanghai-II fast inshore
gunboats and two older Soviet Kronshtadt-class patrol boats. Minesweeping
forces consisted of old Soviet-built T-301 and PO-2 boats. The
naval forces also had two obsolete Soviet Whiskey-class diesel
submarines constructed during the 1950s.
Data as of April 1992