>Ukraine Sends A Warship To Libya While Romania And Bulgaria Prepares One

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U-402 Konstantin Olshansky. NATO photo.

Exactly at midnight of 23th March 2011, the Ukrainian Ropucha 1 class landing ship U-402 Konstantin Olshansky Sevastopol to conduct Non-Combatant Evacuation of Ukranian citizens trapped in Libya.

She has passed through Bosphorus on 24 March 2011 early in the morning and left Turkish territorial waters late at night.

According to Ukrainian Goverment Portal the ship can accommodated 500 to 600 evacuees on board.

Large landing ship Konstantin Olshansky has all the necessary stores, including fuel and lubricants, and foodstuffs. To ensure the safety and security of citizens of Ukraine except the crew aboard the ship there is the unit of Marines with standard weapon, doctors from the Military Medical Clinical Centre of Crimean region and psychologists, interpreters with knowledge of Arabic.

It was not stated on the portal how long the NEO will last.

Ukraine is not the only Black Sea country that sends a warship to Libya. Both Bulgaria and Romania have announced that they each will send a frigate to participate NATO’s Operation Unified Protector.

Romania decided to send the frigate F-221 Regele Ferdinand. The Type 22 class frigate was purchased from UK in 2004. The Romanian government decided to increase the defence budget by 4,5 million Euros from reserve funds in order to pay the participation of the frigate.

Bulgaria, too will send a frigate to Libya. Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov has issued orders to prepare the F-41 Drazki  of the Bulgarian Navy for participation in the NATO naval operation of Libya’s coast.

Both Regele Ferdinand and Drazki are currently in Black Sea and did not passed though Bosphorus yet.

>Turkey Continues Evacuations From Libya (Part 4)

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This is sort of breaking news. The civilian ferry M/V Ankara left Istanbul in the evening of 16. March 2011.
Her possible port of call is Sirte, Libya.

Her sister M/V Samsun is in Tripoli since 15 March 2011. She is  evacuating Egyptians  who flee from Libya.

Turkey Continues Evacuations From Libya (Part 1)
Turkey Continues Evacuations From Libya (Part 2)
Turkey Continues Evacuations From Libya (Part 3)
Turkey Continues Evacuations From Libya (Part 4)

 

 

>Turkey Continues Evacuations From Libya (Part 3)

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M/V Samsun and TCG Gelibolu in Tripolis.
Official Turkish Navy Photo.

According to Turkish General Staff website, the ferry M/V Samsun arrived in Tripolis escorted by the frigate F-493 TCG Gelibolu.

M/V Samsun will pick up Egyptian evacuees who wish to return to their country. This will be the second trip of the ship.

In the first trip M/V Samsun had 1075 evacuees on board while TCG Gelibolu had 81 on board.

There is nothing in the media yet but it seems the crisis on board of M/V Samsun is over.

M/V Fehim Bey seen from TCG Gaziantep.
Official Turkish Navy Photo.

In the meantime cargo vessels M/V Fehim Bey and M/V Purki arrived in Benghazi loaded with humanitarian aid. The ships departed from Mersin, Turkey for a joint aid action conducted by Turkey and UAE. The ships were escorted by the frigate F-490 TCG Gaziantep on their voyage.

 

 

>Lesson To Be Learned From Libya Evacuation (Part 2)

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In my personal the the most important lesson that Turkey should learn from the Libyan NEO is that it is the high time for Turkey to invest in new, large, fast and seaworthy passenger ships.

Compared to the evacuation by air the evacuation by sea was very limited. Only 8351 person, 36% of the evacuees, were transported by sea. This is direct result of Turkey’s lack of suitable passenger ships. The 5 ferries Turkey have sent to Libya were all the available and suitable ships that a country with a coast line of 7200 km could muster. There are no other passenger ships with a longer range, larger capacity or better accommodations under Turkish flag.

Since the decommissioning Turkish flagged pure passenger ships in 1980’ies, long range cruise shipping is dominated by foreign companies such as Royal Caribben Cruise, Costa or MCS. And most of the local passenger shipping is limited to short hauled trips across the Marmara Sea. Therefore neither the government or the private companies invested in new passenger ships in the last decade.

The three ferries M/V Samsun, M/V Ankara and TCG Iskenderun are similar ships built to a Polish Baltic ferry design. The first two were constructed in Poland and the last one build with Polish help in Turkey. They are slow. Their average speed during the trips was around 11 knots. M/V Ankara needed 77 hours for its return trip from Benghazi to Istanbul. M/V Samsun is 28, M/V Ankara is 26 and TCG Iskenderun is 24 years old. Without any doubt they are reaching the end of their useful service lives. What would we do if the Libya crisis happened not today but in 5 or 6 years time. Where we forced to evacuate by using the fast ferries only?

The Austral build M/V Osman Gazi and M/V Orhan Gazi are fast and modern compared to the Polish ferries. But these ships are configured for 2 to 3 hours trips from one side of the Marmara Sea to the other. They lack the hotel facilities the Polish ferries have and they are prone to bad weather more than the other ships. These ferries had to wait in Marmaris for 3 days until the gale in the Mediterranean wind down before they could start their second journeys.

It is not possible to predict when or where the next Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation will be executed. But if the three previous operations can create an example it is safe to say that it will be in the Mediterranean. Therefore it is safe to assume that the next NEO will involve evacuation by the sea.

Now it is right time to investing in new passenger ships and find an economical solutions or business ideas to operate and maintain them. Or otherwise for the next civilian evacuation we might to beg for ships.

Lesson To Be Learned From Libya Evacuation (Part 1)

>Lesson To Be Learned From Libya Evacuation (Part 1)

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The terrible events grabbed the attention of the world. But the chaos and the civil war is continuing in Libya. I personally feel that now is a good time to think about the Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation from Libya while it is still fresh in our memories and render the necessary lesson.

The NEO from Libya was the third of such operation Turkey conducted in the recent years.

The first noticeable NEO was evacuation from Albania in March 1997. The Knox class frigate F-251 TCG Adatepe was send to Albania to pick up 253 evacuees.

The second NEO was the evacuation from Lebanon in July 2006. This time the frigates F-493 TCG Gelibolu, F-504 TCG Bartın and the naval ferry A-1600 TCG Iskenderun were send to Beirut to pick up 700 Turkish citizens.

As you can see the previous operations were very small in scale compared to the latest NEO from Libya. Between 19 February and 4 March 2011, Turkey evacuated 23.127 persons from Libya.

I am very happy to see that the whole operation run very smoothly and there were no serious incidents that might endanger the lives of the evacuees. Neither the Gaddafi government or the rebel forces denied any landing of Turkish planes or docking of Turkish ships. And this is thanks to the relentless efforts of the Turkish diplomatic personal in Libya.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs grab the ball at the beginning of the incidents and never dropped it till the end. An emergency response center with 120 staff was immediately set up in HQ at MoFa and this ERC was the main command and control point during the whole evacuation operation.The Mofa personnel in Libya were also very active and in command of the things. This is one lesson the be learned. A strong presence in the filed and a powerful and acting crisis center at the HQ to organize everything.

In evacuation by air, Turkey was successful. Having a strong civil aviation sector is an important force multiplier for a nation. The national flag carrier, THY is expanding its fleet very aggressively in the recent years. So are the other domestic carriers. The large fleets of Turkish air lines helped them to divert enough planes for additional chartered flights from Libya. The civil planes carried 43 flights where as the cargo planes of Turkish Air Force executed 27 flights. 14.776 person, % 64 of the evacuees were transported by air.

Lesson To Be Learned From Libya Evacuation (Part 2)

>Turkey Continues Evacuations From Libya (Part 2)

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Vice Adm. Mohab Mameesh on board TCG Gelibolu.
Official Turkish Navy Photo.

On 7th March the civilian ferry M/V Samsun and frigate F-493 TCG Gelibolu arrived at Alexandira Egypt.

There were 1075 Egyptians on board of M/V Samsun and 81 on board of TCG Gelibolu. 

Upon thier arrival the Commander of Egyptian Naval Forces, vice Admiral Mohab Mameesh visited TCG Gelibolu.

It is not clear however is the ships are going back to Libya for a second round.

M/V Samsun is still in Alexandria and yesterday one Turkish maritime news portal reported that 13 of the crew including the second mate and the chef submitted their resignations, citing that they did not want to work under adverse health (hygienic ?) conditions.

For more photos from Turkish Navy click here.

 

>Turkey Continues Evacuations From Libya (Part 1)

Turkey finished evacuating its citizens from Libya but Turkish ships are still in the region, helping the evacuation of other nations.

The civilian ferry M/V Samsun and frigate F-493 TCG Gelibolu left Tripoli on 4. March 2010. Both ships are heading to Alexandira Egypt.

There are 1075 Egyptians on board of M/V Samsun and 81 more are on board of TCG Gelibolu. The ships are expected to arrive in Alexandria.

The photo on the left is an official photo from Turkish Navy. If you look close enough you can see a South Korean warship docked just to the right of TCG Gelibolu on the background.

>The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 10)

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Fast ferries M/V Osman Gazi and M/V Orhan Gazi on their
return trip to İstanbul. As of afternoon of 2. March.

According to the PrimeMinister’s Office, from 19 February till 2 March,  Turkey hasevacuated 21.505 people from Libya. 2.982 of the evacuees are foreignnationals.

The 1049 passengers onboard of ferry M/V Ankara are not included in the above total.
This was the biggestnon-combat evacuation operation Turkey has conducted in the recentyears.
The first noticable NEOwas evacuation from Albania in March 1997. The Knox class frigate F-251 TCG Adatepe was send to Albania to pick up 253 evacuees.
The second NEO was theevacuation from Lebanon in July 2006. This time the frigates F-493TCG Gelibolu, F-504 TCG Bartın and the naval ferry A-1600 TCGIskenderun were send to Beirut to pick up 700 Turkish citizens.
As you can see theprevious operations were very small in scale of the latest NEO fromLibya. I am very happy to see that the whole operation run verysmoothly and there were no serious incidents that might endanger thelives of the evacuees.
Nobody made an officialannouncement yet but it appears that the main part of the evacuationoperation is finished. The two fast ferries M/V Osman Gazi and M/VOrhan Gazi, which made two round trips to Libya are heading to hometo Istanbul.
One of the civilianferries M/V Ankara is as mentioned above on her way to Marmaris. I donot expect her to go back to Libya again. The second ferry M/V Samsunis in Benghazi. It is possible that she will be used for theevacuation of Egyptians trapped in Libya.
Today Turkish General Staff finally shared the names of all the naval vessels that took part in the evacuation operation. They are the frigates F-240 TCG Yavuz, F-245 TCG Oruçreis, F-246 TCG Salihreis, F-492 TCG Gemlik, F-493 TCG Gelibolu, F-494 TCG Gökçeada, the replenishment tanker A-585 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör, and the trustworthy naval ferry A-1600 TCG Iskenderun.

The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 10)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 9)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 8)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 7)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 6)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 5)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 4)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 3)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 2)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 1)

>The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 9)

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M/V Osman Gazi. Official photo.

Yesterday the fast ferry  M/V Orhan Gazi arrived in Ras Lanuf, to embark the evacuees in this port. After completing this task she proceeded to Benghazi to pick up additional evacuees. She has left Benghazi with 1209 passengers on board and is heading to Marmaris at the moment.

Her sister M/V Osman Gazi was in Misurata yesterday morning to collect the evacuees here. Later she headed to Benghazi too. After taking more evacueess on board she has left Benghazi at 04:30 this morning with 1326 people on board.

M/V Ankara.

M/V Orhan Gazi is expected in Marmaris at 01:00 and M/V Osman Gazi is expected at 23:30. Before departing from Benghazi, naval replenishment tanker TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör supplied oil and water to these ferries  in the port.

The ferry M/V Ankara left Tripolis today at 14:00 with 1049 passengers on board. 161 of them are Turkish citizens, rest from other nationalities. She is expected in Marmaris in 77 hours.

There is no word about M/V Samsun on today’s official announcement of the MoFA. Yesterday she was heading to Tripolis harbor.

The frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis is escorting M/V Osman Gazi while frigate F-492 TCG Gemlik is escorting M/V Orhan Gazi. The replenishment tanker A-585 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör and probably frigate F-493 TCG Gelibolu are staying off the coast of Libya to provide protection and logistical support to other ships.

With todays evacuations the number of people evacuated by see increased to 8351. Turkey evacuated approximately  20444 people since the beginning of the crisis.

The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 10)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 9)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 8)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 7)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 6)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 5)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 4)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 3)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 2)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 1)

>The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 8)

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It’s nice to back at home.

Yesterday evening, at 17:30 the frigate F-245 TCG Oruçreis docked at Marmaris harbor. The frigate was carrying 212 people evacuated from Libya’s Benghazi port.

Just short before midnight A-1600 TCG Iskenderun arrived in Marmaris harbor with 1528 evacuees from 26 nations.

Both ships were on the way since 25 February.

The Turkish Navy published photos from their voyage. They can see seen here.

While the naval ships were disembarking their guest in Marmaris the civilian ferries M/V Ankara and M/V Samsun docked in Tripolis harbour to pick up evacuees. This will be their first trip. The severe weather last week prevented them to reach Libya earlier.

TCG Iskenderun escorted by TCG Yavuz.

The fast ferry M/V Orhan Gazi arrived in Ras Lanuf, to embark the evacuees in this port. Later during the day she proceeded to Benghazi.

Her sister M/V Osman Gazi was in Misurata in the morning to collect the evacuees here. Later she headed to Benghazi too.

Currently all ferries are in Benghazi.

The MoFA reported that they were no Turks waiting for evacuation at the Tripoli airport.

And it was announced that as of 27 February 16,860 person was evacuated by Turkey from Libya. When the ferries leave at least with 4,000 additional evacuees, the operation will slow down I guess.

TCG Oruçreis arriving in Marmaris.

The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 10)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 9)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 8)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 7)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 6)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 5)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 4)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 3)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 2)
The Evacuation Of Turkish Citizens From Libya (Day 1)

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