In 1974, Vasily Mikhailovich Zaletov (1927-2002), Associate Professor, Candidate of Technical Sciences, college-leaver of the first graduation was appointed the Head of Odesa Higher Engineering Marine School (OHEMS) by Ministry of Marine of USSR. He was to be the main organizer of OHEMS’s work and to leave only kind memories in the hearts of thousands of cadets, teaching staff as well as likeminded people more than a quarter of a century.
Everything we attach to the concept of “tradition”, “statesmanship”, ”rigid and uncompromising approach to work” – stated Vasily Mikhailovich Zaletov – Rector, Tutor, Man.
V.M. Zaletov was born in the village Novosimbirka of Orenburg region. After graduating from high school he entered the Odesa Higher Marine Engineering School and after graduation stayed in teaching as a senior laboratory assistant, Head of Laboratory of Marine Steam-Power Plants Department as well as a senior lecturer of Marine Steam Boilers Department. Since 1955, he combined teaching activity with the work of Party Committee Secretary.
In 1961, the first medal “For labor valour” adorned the lapel of a uniform coat. In 1963, V.M. Zaletov, defended Ph.D. thesis and was appointed Deputy Head of Academic Work of OHEMS as well as awarded the Order “The Badge of Honor”. A year later, he gained recognition for “Honored Worker of the Navy.” In 1974, V. M. Zaletov became the Head of the Odesa Higher Marine Engineering School and in 1993 — the Rector of the Odesa State Maritime Academy (OSMA).
In 1977, by the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR, V. M. Zaletov was awarded the Title of Honored Worker of Higher Education of Ukraine, and in 1981 – the Order of Labor Red Banner.
In 1988, he received the Title of Professor as well as Academician of the Transport Academy of Ukraine. In 1999 – the order «For merits before Fatherland».
It is even more striking that the general labour experience is 55 years.” More than half a century! The most amazing thing was his tactful attitude towards people. He never restricted consulting hours on personal matters. Rector’s reception room was always full of Academy’s cadets, parents and staff. People asked for his advice to share joy and sorrow. Strange but true: he could refuse, but there was not resentment toward him. The meeting with him always ended so delicately and humanely.
V. M. Zaletov called his established team of like-minded people “golden fund” and was particularly proud of and cared for «steersmen», those who led the most important aspects of work — deputy rectors, deans, heads of departments, teachers.
We could speak about Vasily Mikhailovich for hours…V.K. Golubev, the First Vice-Rector of ONMA, his colleague warmly recalled his close relations with V. M. Zaletov: «I proudly consider myself one of the many of Zaletov’s students». He skillfully taught all of us the science of management. Vasily Mikhailovich was a man of action, it was not always easy to deal with such kind of people because it was always necessary to meet a certain level, to increase personal advancement. Everybody knew that working with him was not easy, although respected and appreciated him. He was a real man with a strong character, who was at his own place and fully corresponded to its requirements. V. M. Zaletov was the first person of the university, the commander who did much for further development and improvement of OSMA, strengthening the material and technical basis, acquisition of fleet training which had no equal then in any maritime educational establishment in the world. Besides, many foreigners had the honour to study in that largest maritime educational establishment. This is what loyalty to tradition, statesmanship, rigid and uncompromising approach to work mean.
Everything that happened at the time of V.M. Zaletov in the Academy can be compared with fabulous events, where he was the main character. Moreover, he brought about significant changes into a campus and academic life:
– In 1975, campus building №5 was put in operation, in 1979 – campus №6.
– In 1981, the construction of a sport complex, library and assembly hall was completed.
– In 1987, a 50-meter Olympic standart swimming pool was established, which was a rarity at that time in Ukraine.
– In 1991, Training Centre «Survival under Extreme Conditions at Sea» was created on the basis of the swimming pool. In 1996 – Complex on Firefighting Operations at Sea, in 1997 — Boat-handling.
– In 1993, a new 9-storey teaching and laboratory building was put into operation. We say with certainty today, how much time and effort were required to fight against bureaucrats and officials.
Through the 1990s, the equipment of vessels under construction had been actively improving and upgrading on the old ones in the world fleet. In 1996-1998, the following radio equipment was developed to conform with the requirements of the educational process in Academy: GMDSS (Inmarsat-C, Sailor H2192), AIS (KTM-201, Izumi Boeky and МТ-1, McMudro Transas+ Electronic Chart System as well as two simulator «Transas Marine» (Sailor) Izumi (JRC-Japan Radio Coporation).
V. M. Zaletov had made significant efforts to create a training fleet, working as Deputy Head of Engineering School for 9 years. During 1970-1974 with his personal participation, four training and production vessels such as “Professor Anichkov”,”Professor Minyaev”, “Professor Pavlenko,” “Professor Kudrevich” were put into operation; in 1987 – training sailing vessel “Druzhba”.
During the years of V. M. Zaletov’s leadership, he contributed to the acquisition of the newest electronics and computer technologies and real marine technical facilities from the Ministry of the Navy, that allowed to create a variety of simulators.
Training and Research Laboratory started operating at Auromation Faculty based on ECM ЕС-1035 as well as Aptitude Screening Laboratory based on computing machines of CM type. Besides, simulators centres to train the navigators, mechanics, electricians of automated ships using English, Norwegian, Swedish and domestic equipment were opened for the first time.
Medical Examination and Rehabilitation Centre (1998) and Training and Certifying Centre of Seafarers (1994) were established as well.
The construction of campus building №2 for Navigation Faculty was completed. V. M. Zaletov, who held the position of Deputy Head of Engineering School for academic work, took responsibility for its equipment to ensure a full educational process. He played a role in the purchase of equipment for the planetarium, the second one in Odessa for Navigation Department as well, where subsequently, the students of Odessa State University were given classes.
The first navigation simulators KNP-8 appeared in the USSR and at the same time at the Navigation Department. At that time, this simulator was quite expensive, nevertheless, executive staff found it necessary to purchase two such simulators.
As far as there was the need for a sufficient number of navigational charts to conduct laboratory exercises on navigation, V. M. Zaletov, using his authority of Head of the Engineering School with the assistance of the Black Sea Shipping Company, purchased a collection of navigational charts and navigational aids of the USSR Ministry of Defense publication and a large number of shipping navigational charts for the cadets and Department. In addition, more than 600 sets of navigational cushioning equipment were purchased.
Whereas, at that time the navigational sextant was the only means of determining the vessel’s location on the high seas, more than 60 sextants were acquired for the Department, which made the work possible for almost every cadet. The accuracy of determining the vessel’s location depended largely on a chronometer, a watch of extremely high precision. Considering the fact that, the chronometer application also required knowledge and skills, for those purposes, laboratory of time service was established at the Department as well as 14 expensive chronometers were purchased with the help of which the cadets could work independently.
Besides, the newest equipment were acquired for other faculties at the time. Here are just a short list of equipment: 12 radiolocation station of domestic production, Automatic Radar Plotting Aids (ARPA) «Krupp Atlas», twenty sets of receiver-indicators, satellite and radio navigation systems, autopilots, gyrocompasses, lags and the laboratory of magnetic compasses.
V.M. Zaletov was in charge of the 11th collective, where almost 400 teachers worked at the departments. His tireless concern for their professional qualification resulted in the work of more than 250 people with academic degrees of doctors, professors, candidates of sciences and associate professors. V.M. Zaletov managed to preserve the team of teachers which was the main component of the educational process when the educational establishments were on the verge of survival as well as the country, there were problems with wage and utility services payment. Apart from that, he managed to defend the Naval Department, the best in the USSR and the Organizational-Combat Department.
Definitely, V.M. Zaletov was a successful organizer and the head of scientific work. The following applied research laboratories were established during his active participation: «Efficiency increase of ship parts usage, increase of its durability and operational reliability by restoring and strengthening» (1978), «Vibration treatment of bulk cargo carried by the sea» (1981), «Safety of Navigation» (1983).
OHEMS had become the largest marine educational establishment and the main training centre for command personnel for the USSR Navy by the mid-1980s. Young people from 45 foreign countries were trained in the walls of OHEMS.
Successful solution of the tasks facing V.M. Zaletov would be impossible if he did not know how to understand people and did not create a team of like-minded people entrusted with the subdivisions’ management.
The naval sailors have a signal in marine arch during joint sailing «Flagman shows the way … ». Vasily Mikhailovich Zaletov due to his self-sacrificing, selfless, devoted, caring work, becoming the meaning of his life for the benefit of the University, showed us how we should love our University and develop what had been done by such a well-deserved teacher and man.

V.G. Aleksishin, Head of the Navigation Department of National University “Odessa Maritime Academy”, Professor

P.S. V.M. Zaletov held his last great meeting in the walls of the Odessa State Maritime Academy on June 1, 2000. The assembly hall gathered its work collective, or rather those who were lucky to be there. In his farewell speech, Vasily Mikhailovich thanked everyone for long and conscientious work for the prosperity of our honoured University.
M.V. Miyusov, follower of V.M. Zaletov, Professor took office as the Rector of Academy on June 2.