Romanian Coast Guard Vessel Stefan Cel Mare

The Romanian Coast Guard vessel MAI 1105 Stefan Cel Mare arrived in the morning of 5th August for a port visit in Istanbul. This is not the first time, that the Damen OPV 900 class vessel is in Istanbul.

She was funded by the European Union in order to strengthen the Border Police force of Romania. She has a length of 66 meters and is capable of making 21 knots.

>Romanian Border Guard Vessel Passed Through Bosphorus

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This Morning the Romanian border Guard vessel MAI-1105 Stefan Cel Mare passed through Bosphorus.

She is heading to Create, Greece.

The Damen Offshore Patrol Vessel 950 class vessel was delivered to Romania in September 2010. She was funded by the European Union in order to strengthen the Border Police force of Romania.

In a similar procurement project the Turkish Istanbul shipyard delivered 5 river partrol boats of SNR-17 class, constructed for Romanian Border Police.

I must confess that I am impressed by the very modern design of Stefan Cel Mare.   She was constructed and the Damen shipyard in Romania. Click here for detailed information.

>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.

>Turkish Boats For Romanian Border Police Delivered

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The five river partrol boats of SNR-17 class, constructed for Romanian Border Police were delivered last week.

Istanbul Shipyard (not to be mixed with Istanbul Naval Shipyard) was seleced by Romania to supply the boats back in January 2010. The total value of the project is estimated to be around 7,5 million euros.

The boats are equipped among standard navigation and mission devices with a FLIR system for night navigation, a portable Geiger counter, and explosives sensor.

Two of the boats will be stationed on Ukrainian, one on Moldavian, one on Hungarian and one on Serbian border.

Specifications:
Full length: 17,26 meters
Beam: 4,55 meters
Draft: 1,00 meter
Maximum speed: 25 knots

Here is a video about the boat from TRT, and here is one form the builder.

Although the scope of this project is not very big, these boats are the first Turkish exports to an European law enforcement agency. That is why this project is an important mile stone in Turkish naval shipbuild industry.

>New Ships For The Russian Black Sea Fleet

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The Russian naval website rusnavy.com reports that Russian Black Sea Fleet will receive six Admiral Gorshkov class (Project 22350) frigates, six Lada (Project 677) diesel submarines, two Ivan Gren class (Project 11711) large landing ships, four ships of other projects, modernized bombers Su-24M instead of obsolete versions, and ASW aircrafts, Il-38 instead of amphibious aircrafts Be-12 till 2020.

This reinforcement of Black Sea Fleet will be conducted under State Arms Program 2011-2020.

This statement, the latest in a series of similar announcements of semi dubious seriousness was made shortly after, Russian and Ukrainian defense ministers signed a document providing that Russia will inform Ukraine about manpower, arms, and strength of Black Sea Fleet.  Russia’s Defence Minister Anatoly Serdiukov pointed out that the significant agreement signed is the first step to renewal of Black Sea Fleet.

I have expressed my personal opinion of the news about the rejuvenation of the BSF previously herehere,  and here. The continuations of these statements show me a few things:

  • Two of the former allies of Russia in the Black Sea basin Romania and Bulgaria rejuvenated their fleets with second hand warships from NATO. By buying cheap ships from NATO countries these two states improved their navies’ operational capabilities and gained access to NATO standards and operational procedures. There are rumors that Ukraine may follow their lead and buy second hand ships from German Navy. The road of Ukraine to join to NATO is a long a winding one. But this is not a hindrance for this country to buy NATO equipment. Ukraine regularly cooperates with NATO and send warship to NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor. Recently an EU military delegation visited Ukrainian Navy to discuss Ukraine’s participations to EU led Operation Atalanta among other things.
  • Romanian and Bulgarian navies and if Ukraine buys warships from Germany then Ukrainian navy will have warships that are younger and have better C3I suites, modern sensors and capable weapons compared to most of the BSF.
  • The current state of the ships in the BSF is not bright and most of them been in service for over 35 years and the Russians are very well aware that current status quo is not sustainable and replacements are vital. As explained above if Russia does not replaces its old ships she will witness a further weakening of her naval authority in the region. This would a blow to Russian national pride and to the political ambitions of the Kremlin.
  • The flow of reports about the new ships joining BSF in the future is an indication of the realization the need for a replacement and an indication of intentions getting rid of old ships. But the number and the classes of the new ships is almost different in every official statement. A few months ago the BSF was to get 15 new frigates and submarines. But the in the latest announcement it is 6 frigates and 6 submarines. This shows that although the Russians have an intention to build new ships their long and mid term acquisitions programme is not clearly prepared. The lack of a concrete programme will leave the whole new ship building projects open to economical and political threats.

>Varna Visit Of BlackSeaFor Is Over

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According to the Blackseafor commander, the On-Call Naval Force of Black Sea navies BlackSeaFor has left the Bulgarian port of Varna to conduct its next stage of exercises. The April 2010 activation of BlackSeafor is scheduled to end on 27th April and is commanded by Bulgarian Navy.

As reported earlier, the first stage of the exercises was conducted in the south-western region of the Black Sea which involved search and rescue operations, and replenishment and refuelling at sea as well as monitoring of civilian aircraft.

During the next stages, the Blackseafor warships will exercise tactical manoeuvres, conduct combat operations against surface ships, practise air defence and communications, assistance to ships in distress and ship inspection.

Click here for photos of the Ereğli port visit.

>Turkish Boats For Romanian Border Police

>Istanbul Shipyard (not to be mixed up with Istanbul Naval Shipyard) , was chosen to build 5 patrol boats for Romanian Border Police. This will be a first naval vessel export for this shipyard all boats will be delivered within this year.

The 16.5 meter boats, which will be made up of aluminum, have the capacity to reach 50/kım hour speed. The boats will be used on Danube River and will be finance by EU funds.

The SNR 17 class boats have an outstanding maneuverability. They can fulfill various task such as border patrol, observation, supervision, control, intervention. There is no clear information about the sensors and weapons to be installed on these boats.

>Commanders of Black Sea Navies have met in Varna

> The commanders of the Black Sea navies have gathered in Varna Bulgaria for the “Black Sea Naval Forces Commander Committee Meeting” on 22 May 2009.

On a ceremony held on board of the Turkish frigate F-495 TCG Gediz, Admiral Ataç presented the commanders with the BlackSeaFor Medal in appreciation of their countries collaboration into BlackSeaFor.

Among the participants were Admiral Minko Kavaciev from Bulgaria, Capitan 1st Class, Besik Shengelia from Georgia, Admiral Dorin Danila from Romania, and Admiral Aleksandar Kletskov on behalf of Admiral Vladimir Visotski from Russia and Admiral Igor Tenyug from Ukraine.

I think, to have the naval commander of Georgia and the commander of Russian Black Sea Fleet at the same time at the same ship for the same ceremony, is a significant diplomatic success. In less than a year ago these countries were in a shooting war and their relation are not good at the present either.

If the naval commanders of all Black Sea navies can come together despite their nations problems with each other and discuss how to fight against smuggling of weapons of mass destruction, international terrorism, drug and human trafficking it means that intentions are true and honest. This gathering is also a testimony of the soft-power skills of Turkish Navy.

>Black Sea Partnership Exercise 2009 Part-2

>Some of the ships that anticipated in the Black Sea Partnership Exercise 2009 are visiting İstanbul. They have arrived on 2 May and will leave on 4 May.

Among the participants the following ships are in İstanbul:

  • F-244 TCG Barbaros, MEKO 200 TN2A class frigate, from Turkish Navy,
  • F-495 TCG Gediz, Perry class frigate, from Turkish Navy,
  • 260 Admiral Petre Barbuneanu, Tetal class corvette, from Romanian Navy,
  • 071 RFS Suzdalets, Grisha class frigate, from Russian Navy,
  • P-24 Sokhumi, MRTP 33 class, large patrol craft, from Georgian Navy.

Personally for me it is interesting to see that a Georgian and a Russian warship are in the same fleet at a time when relations between Russia, Georgia and NATO are at new low point.

The weather was fine so I was able to take some good photos of these ships

P-24 Sokhumi was build by Yonca-Onuk shipyard in Turkey and was exported to Georgia in 2008. Similar to MRTP 33 class, used by Turkish Coast Guard. This vessel has a ASELSAN STAMP, stabilized gun platform.

260 Admiral Petre Barbuneanu, Tetal class corvette, a unique Romanian design with a ASW emphasise.

071 RFS Suzdalets, Grisha class frigate, a dedicated ASW ship. She is showing her age.

F-244 TCG Barbaros, MEKO 200 TN2A class frigate. Her Mk29 SAM launcher will be replaced by Mk41 VLS in the near future. This will be the first major weapon system upgrade, performed on a MEKO warship. It will be a test for the modularity of the MEKO design.

F-495 TCG Gediz, Perry class frigate, she will receive MK41 VLS too.

This patrol vessel, SG-65 of Turkish Coast Guard was not a participant of the Black Sea Partnership Exercise. She was patrolling around the visiting ship and providing security.

>Black Sea Partnership Exercise 2009

>The exercise has started on 29 April in Karadeniz Ereğlisi and will end on May 4 in İstanbul.

Turkey, Russia, Romania and Georgia are participating in this military exercise, the goal of which is to boost cooperation and mutual training among the Black Sea littoral states and support partnership for peace activities.

As the exercise will end in İstanbul, I will be reporting more about the participating forces first hand.

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