>More on Operation Black Sea Harmony
1 Apr 2009 1 Comment
>The security in the Black Sea is becoming more important each day as Black Sea becomes one of the most significant hubs for the Caspian Basin and Central Asian oil. Pumping the oil to the terminals at Black Sea is the easiest and cheapest way of exportation.
On daily basis approximately 300 merchant ships are underway in Black Sea. In 2005 Black Sea waters was plied by 66 thousand merchant ships of 85 different nations carrying more than half a billion tons of cargo. In the last 5 years, the number of containers handled in Black Sea ports has tripled.
In 2008 the number of ships crossed Turkish Straits was 150 ships per day, compared to 65 ships in 2001. The amount of Black Sea borne petroleum products carried over the Turkish Straits has reached to 145 million ton level. In other words, 3 million barrel petroleum products are carried to the global markets with 30 tankers each day. In 2008 55.000 merchant ships of 102 different countries passed through the Turkish Straits.
Operation Black Sea Harmony, inspired by the NATO’s standing naval operations, is aimed at to provide maritime security in the Black Sea through presence operations along the SLOCS involving shadowing, trailing, and interdiction. OBSH was launched by Turkish Navy on 1 March 2004.
It has become affiliated with the NATO-led Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean regarding information and intelligence sharing as well as suspect vessel shadowing and interdiction.
BSH consists of regular patrols with frigates and patrol boats in pre-defined surveillance areas in the Black sea. Helicopters, submarines, maritime patrol aircraft, and the coast guard vessels assist this activity.
Turkish Navy aims at to evolve the Operation Black Sea Harmony that has started as a national operation into a multinational operation, while continuing its NATO-OAE affiliated status and to transfer its missions to BLACKSEAFOR.
In March 2005, Ukraine became the first country to announce formally its intention to participate in OBSH. The Russian Federation has followed suit and is a member since September 2006. Yesterday Romania joined the opration as well.
According to the statistics of 2004 and 2005, Operation Black Sea Harmony has detected approximately 96.000 ships and identified 93 percent of them. Boarding/search and in-port visits were conducted by Turkish Coast Guard in cooperation with other state agencies. Until today more than 250 in-port visits and search operations have been conducted for suspicious ships.