This study investigates the effectiveness of the Singular Evolutive Extended Kalman filter (SEEK) and its variants (SEIK and SFEK filters) for data assimilation into a Princeton Ocean Model (POM) of the Mediterranean Sea. The SEEK filters are sub-optimal Kalman filters based on the approximation of the filter's error covariance matrices by singular low-rank matrices, reducing in this way extensive computational burden. At the initialization, the filters error covariance matrix is parameterized by a set of multivariate empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs) which describe the dominant modes of the system's variability. The Mediterranean model is implemented on a 1/4° × 1/4° horizontal grid with 25 sigma levels and is forced with 6-hour ECMWF re-analysis atmospheric data. Several twin experiments, in which pseudo-observations of altimetric data and/or data profiles were assimilated, were first performed to evaluate the filters performances and to study their sensitivities to different parameters and setups. The results of these experiments were very encouraging and helped in setting up an effective configuration for the assimilation of real data in near-real time situation. In the hindcast experiments, Topex/Poseidon and ERS weekly sea level anomaly data were first assimilated during 1993 and the filters solution was evaluated against independent Reynolds sea surface temperature (SST) analysis. The assimilation system was able to significantly enhance the consistency between the model and the assimilated data, although the improvement with respect to independent SST data was significantly less pronounced. The model SST was only improved after including SST data in the assimilation system.