Multinational Maritime Security Center of Excellence Trains Ukrainian Sailors

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The group photo of the Ukrainian and Turkish participants on board of frigate Hetman Sahaidachny. Photo: Turkish Navy.

The mobile training team of the Multinational Maritime Security Center of Excellence (MARSEC COE) trained the vessel boarding and inspection team of Ukrainian frigate Hetman Sahaidachny.

The training was held between 15 and 18 June 2015, in Odessa Naval Base and on board of the frigate Hetman Sahaidachny.

The MARSEC COE is based in Aksaz Naval Base, in Marmaris Turkey, with the mission to support UN, NATO, partner countries and maritime security stakeholders by providing subject matter expertise on comprehensive approach with all levels and aspects of maritime security. Turkey provides 64 percent of the manning.

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PLAN Frigates In Black Sea

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Close up photos of the PLAN frigates. All photos by Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

After I have posted about the passage of PLAN frigates 550 Weifang and 547 Linyi more information and photos have emerged.

Mr. Mommsen from Marine Forum Magazine share the following information:

belong to 19th Chinese Navy anti-piracy task group which in the Gulf of Aden obviously has been relieved by arrived 20th Group … expect them to head for Sevastopol to participate in Russian “Victory Day” celebrations/naval parade on 09 May … afterwards return to Mediterranean … they are the ships earmarked (together with replenishment ship WEISHAN HU?) for announced exercise with Russian Navy (permanent MedSqn) … Chinese anti-piracy task groups upon completion of their missions in the Gulf of Aden routinely conduct visits to foreign countries (Europe, around Africa) before heading home.

The always informative Black Sea News states that at least one of the frigates is heading to Novorossiysk.

However, according to sources BSNews , frigates (or, at least, one of them) are sent to Novorossiysk to participate in activities in connection with the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany.

So in a few days time we will definitely have more information about this deployment.

SNMG-2 Arrived In Constanta

SNMG2 exercising with Turkish Navy

SNMG-2 exercising with Turkish Navy in the Black Sea. Photo: NATO MARCOM

After spending the week on the high seas, the ships of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 arrived in Constanta, Romania, on 13 March 2015 for a scheduled 3 day port visit.

SNMG2 is currently composed of the flagship CG-69 USS Vicksburg, 337 HMCS Fredericton, F-241 TCG Turgutreis, A-1442 FGS Spessart, F-574 ITS Aliseo and F-222 ROS Regina Maria.

According to the spokesperson of the Naval Forces General Staff, lieutenant-colonel Corneliu Pavel, during the stopover in Romania of the SNMG-2, scheduled between March 13-15, visits of the foreign military officials are programmed at the Fleet Command, as well as sporting competitions between the Romanian and foreign sailors that will be hosted on the campus of the Mircea cel Batran Naval Academy and visits by the crews of the ships to the Romanian Navy Museum. 

“The SNMG-2 activities will continue at sea, starting with Monday, March 16, with exercises being programmed together with the Marasesti frigate, two corvettes, two missile-bearing ships, as well as with Romanian military airships”, the spokesperson added. 

SNMG-2 Arrives In Varna

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Bulgarian frigate BNS Drazki, in Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

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Canadian frigate HMCS Fredericton arriving to Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

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Turkish frigate TCG Turgutreis arriving to Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

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German tanker FGS Spessart in Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

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Italian frigate ITS Alieso in Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

The ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG-2) arrived to-day to the Bulgarian port Varna. There is a very strong north wind in the Black Sea throughout the weekend and I think the sailors are happy to be in a port in this weather. According to the excellent Bulgarian blog SeaDog, the flagship of the task force USS Vicksburg did not enter the harbor due to strong winds. She is expected to arrive on 8 March 2015.

“Our Sailors are excited to visit Varna and to interact with the people who represent this city and nation,” said Rear Admiral Williamson. “More importantly, we are looking forward to getting back underway and training with the professional mariners of the Bulgarian Navy.”

During the port visit, SNMG2 leadership will meet with local Bulgarian authorities and Navy officials to discuss numerous issues of shared importance, to include exercises in the Black Sea.

SNMG2 is in the Black Sea as part of a regularly scheduled deployment to the region to assure NATO Allies of the Alliance’s commitment to collective defense. During the deployment, SNMG2 ships are training with ships from the Bulgarian, Romanian and Turkish Navies.

According to Russian websites the first two ship of the task force to enter the Black Sea USS Vicksburg and TCG Turgutreis were greeted by Russian Su-24 and Su-30 warplanes.

Status Update on Russian Warships In The Black Sea

Perekop

Russian training ship Perekop making a northbound passage through Bosphorus in July 2013.

 

The informative and excellent Ukrainian website Black Sea New reported that the Russian training ship Perekop is being repaired in Varna Naval shipyard.

Training ship of the 1st rank “Perekop” (200) complete repairs on the Bulgarian shipyard “Naval Arsenal” (Varna) in July 2015, reports Flot.com . At present, Russian designers are beginning to test samples of hull structures and cables to determine the remaining life of the ship.
As reported BSNews , “Perekop” (200) arrived in Varna 20 August 2013.

Mooring factory testing of the Criminal Code “Perekop” 877 project is expected to begin in the summer of 2015. This information is placed in the record of procurement “51 Central Design and Technological Institute of ship repair” the Defense Ministry, establish the technical documentation for the repair and modernization of the ship.”

In the mean time the Krivak class frigate Ladny, made a post repair acceptance sail.

“Patrol ship “Well,” returned to base in Sevastopol with its maiden voyage after repairs to the “13 ship-repair factory of the Black Sea Fleet.”
Sources Central Navy Portal on the Black Sea Fleet told that TFR “OK” in the morning of December 17, 2014 from 12 mooring berth of Sevastopol and went on his first outing in the sea after the repair.
Head of Press Service of the Black Sea Fleet, Vyacheslav Trukhachev confirmed that the plan “OK” has already had to start the combat training missions.
The base ship returned on 19 December. Thus, the campaign ship lasted 1.5 days. TSVMP learned that for many sailors the access to the sea was the first. “Well,” made ​​a trip along the Crimean coast line, in which the sailors worked actions during various alarms and got acquainted with the equipment of the ship. In 2013 – 2014 years in the “13 ship-repair Factory Black Sea Fleet “was held in Sevastopol ship repair, which was completed in the summer of 2014.”

SNMG-2 Arrives In Varna

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HMCS Toronto entering into Varna harbour. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

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ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon arriving in Varna harbour.  Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

Task Unit 2 of SNMG-2 consisting of F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon and Canadian frigate FHH-333 HMCS Toronto arrived in Varna Bulgaria today.

Led by Commander Jason Armstrong (Royal Canadian Navy), SNMG2 TU.02 is currently composed of HMCS TORONTO (Royal Canadian Navy) and AMIRALTE JUAN de BORBON (Spanish Navy).  SNMG2 is visiting the port as part of the Group’s deployment to the Black Sea to enhance maritime security and NATO’s readiness in the region.

“This visit has been planned for quite some time, and in light of current events it; has become all the more significant,” said Commander Jason Armstrong, Commander SNMG2 TU.02. “We are delighted to come and train together, eager to enhance our mutual understanding, and eager to bring a strong message to Bulgarian people and to all Allied Nations regarding NATO’s resolve and commitment to collective defence.

Constanta, Romania was the Task Force’s previous port of call.

On 16 September 2014, under the banner of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) Task Unit 02 (TU02), HMCS TORONTO, ESPS ALMIRANTE JUAN DE BORBON and ROS REGELE FERNIDAND have completed their 4 day visit to Constanta, Romania. The port visit served to reaffirm the Alliance’s commitment to maritime defence and security and reassure Black Sea NATO Allies.

“Our ships were honoured and humbled to be a part of NATO’s maritime visit to the historic city as Constanta, Romania,” said Commander Jason Armstrong, Commanding Officer of HMCS TORONTO and Commander of SNMG2 Task Unit 02 (SNMG2 TU02). “Our presence here serves to reaffirm NATO’s strong support and commitment to Alliance solidarity.”

Visit the excellent blog Sea Dog for more photos from SNMG-2.

Sea Breeze 2014 Participants

U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs shared the list of the ships that take part in the naval Exercise Sea Breeze 2014.

As reported earlier, the Turkish frigate TCG Oruçreis and the French frigate Commandant Birot are not taking part in the exercise though both ships are currently deployed in the Black Sea. The list of US Navy fails to clarify if the Georgian patrol boat Sukhomi is taking part in the exercise as reported by Russian.

It is also noteworthy that there are no Bulgarian participants.

Number
Name
Country
Type
F-512
TCG Büyükada
Turkey
Corvette
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon  Spain Frigate
F-333 HMCS Toronto Canada Frigate
DDG-71 USS Ross USA Destroyer
P-24 Sukhumi Georgia Patrol Boat
F-221 ROS Regele Ferdinand Romania Frigate
F-264 Contraamiral Eustatiu Sebastian Romania Corvette
U-130 Hetman Sahaidachniy Ukraine Frigate
U-153 Priluki Ukraine Patrol Boat
U-120 Skadovsk Ukraine Patrol Boat
U-512 Pereyaslav Ukraine Intelligence Gathering Ship
U-542 Nova Kahovka Ukraine Training Ship
U-782 Sokal Ukraine Ambulance launch
BG-50 Kuropyannikov Ukraine Coast Guard Vessel
B-57 Mikolaiv Ukraine Coast Guard Vessel

Sea Breeze 2014 Naval Exercise Starts Next Week (UPDATED)

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F-512 TCG Büyükada heading to the Black Sea to take part in Sea Breeze 2014 exercise on 7 September 2014. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permisson.

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F-512 TCG Büyükada heading to the Black Sea to take part in Sea Breeze 2014 exercise on 7 September 2014. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permisson.

Despite my previous reporting and expectations the Turkish frigate TCG Oruçreis is not going to take part in the exercise Sea Breeze. Her deployment to the Black Sea must a regular one with national interests at heart.

The Milgem class corvette F-512 TCG Büyükada is going participate in the Sea Breeze according to the Turkish General Staff.

Click here to read about the previous Sea Breeze Exercises.

I have compiled the list of the ships that will take part in the exercise:

Number
Name
Country
Type
F-512
TCG Büyükada
Turkey
Corvette
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon  Spain Frigate
F-333 HMCS Toronto Canada Frigate
DDG-71 USS Ross USA Destroyer
P-24 Sukhumi Georgia Patrol Boat
F-221 ROS Regele Ferdinand Romania Frigate
F-796 Commandant Birot France Frigate

Sea Breeze 2014 Naval Exercise Starts Next Week

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Turkish Barbaros class frigate F-245 TCG Oruçreis heading to the Black Sea on 4 September 2014. She is obviously going to take part in the Sea Breeze 2014 exercise. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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Note that TCG Oruçreis is carrying full Harpoon load. This is not a common sight. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

The Ukrainian led naval exercise Sea Breeze 2014 will start on 8 September 2014, according to a statement made by U.S. European Command.

Exercise Sea Breeze 2014, a multinational maritime exercise in the Black Sea, is set to start Sept. 8, as representatives from five participating nations and Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO Task Unit 02 (SNMG2 TU.02) will gather at sea aboard USS Ross (DDG 71) for the exercise’s opening ceremony.

Approximately 280 U.S. service members will participate in the event.

The exercise is scheduled to take place Sept. 8-10, with naval forces from participating countries working together in order to strengthen interoperability and improve maritime security.

Leaders from Ukraine and the U.S., co-hosts for the 13th iteration of the exercise, share sentiments about the progress of both the exercise and maritime security in the Black Sea that have occurred since the exercise’s inception.

Much of the exercise will focus on maritime interdiction operations as a primary means to enhance maritime security. The other key components of the exercise focus on communications, search and rescue, force protection and navigation.

This year’s participants include Ukraine, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, and the U.S., as well as three ships from Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO Task Unit 02 (SNMG2 TU.02): Canadian Halifax-class frigate HMCS Toronto (FFH 333); Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon; and Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand.

Click here to read about the previous Sea Breeze Exercises.

I have compiled the list of the ships that will take part in the exercise:

Number
Name
Country
Type
F-245
TCG Oruçreis
Turkey
Frigate
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon  Spain Frigate
F-333 HMCS Toronto Canada Frigate
DDG-71 USS Ross USA Destroyer
P-24 Sukhumi Georgia Patrol Boat
F-221 ROS Regele Ferdinand Romania Frigate
F-796 Commandant Birot France Frigate

USS Vella Gulf Conducts Exercise with Turkish Navy

140808-N-ZE250 118  BLACK SEA, (Aug. 8, 2014) Turkish Navy vessel TCG Tuzla (P1200) steams past Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) after completing maneuvering exercises in the Black Sea. Vella Gulf, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is conducting naval operations with allies in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in order to advance security and stability in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston Jones/Released)

Turkish Navy vessel P-1200 TCG Tuzla steams past Ticonderoga class cruiser CG-72 USS Vella Gulf , after completing maneuvering exercises in the Black Sea. Photo: U.S. Navy by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston Jones

According to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet web site, the Ticonderoga class cruiser USS Vella Gulf conducted a division tactics exercise with the Turkish navy fast attack craft TCG Tuzla in the Black Sea on 8 August 2014.

Vella Gulf and Tuzla conducted tactical maneuvering during the exercise. U.S. Navy ships regularly hold similar events with allies and partners to foster relationships and strengthen interoperability.

“Once again, Vella Gulf was pleased to participate in an at-sea training exercise with our NATO ally Turkey,” said Capt. Robert Katz, Vella Gulf’s Commanding Officer. “Our continuing interactions with the Turkish Navy during this deployment have increased cooperation and strengthened interoperability through regular combined training events.”

Well I must make a correction to the above statement.

TCG Tuzla is not classified as an fast attack craft by Turkish Navy. She is a patrol craft, a gun boat with a sonar and ASW mortar. Turkish Navy classifies vessels with anti-ship missiles as fast attack craft such as Doğan, Yıldız, Kılıç or Kartal class boats.

I have found the matching of the ships a little peculiar. USS Vella Gulf is one of the largest combatants in US Navy inventory with the exception of the carriers while TCG Tuzla is one of the smallest combatants in Turkish Navy inventory. Was this by design or by coincidence?

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