TCG Büyükada Rejoins Operation Ocean Shield

TCG Büyükada in Operation Ocean Shiled. Photo: NATO MARCOM

According to NATO Maritime Command web site, Turkish corvette F-512 TCG Büyükada joined the NATO Counter Piracy Operation Ocean Shield for a second time.

TCG Büyükada is on a deployment to the Gulf Of Aden since January and she is expected to return to Turkey in 15 days. Previously in February she again joined the NATO task force for the Operation Ocean Shield.

This is the second counter piracy deployment of the Turkish corvette in the past two months. During her tour of duty, the ship will operate with recently joined Royal Australian Navy Oiler HMAS SUCCESS. TCG BUYUKADA will conduct regular counter piracy patrols in Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and provide support to NATO’s regional capacity building efforts in order to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the nations in the area. The ship will also conduct training with naval forces operating in the Indian Ocean.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the Turkish Navy for its determined support to counter piracy and firm commitment to international maritime security,” said Commander NATO Allied Maritime Command, Vice Admiral Peter Hudson. “Multinational contributions are essential to defeating piracy in the region and strengthening the cooperation between naval forces. Wider support to this international mission brings us closer to eliminate the threat.”

Built by Istanbul Naval Shipyard under the Turkish National warship program, TCG BUYUKADA is a modern littoral combat warship with indigenous surface, air and anti-submarine warfare capabilities. The 2400 ton, 99.5m long corvette is equipped with numerous weapons and systems and carries a helicopter and a crew of approximately 90 Sailors.

“During the course of our duty, we will expand on our experiences from the first deployment,” said the Commander of TCG BUYUKADA, Lieutenant Commander Ali Tuna BAYSAL. “As her commander, I am very pleased that TCG BUYUKADA has the opportunity to contribute again to addressing piracy in the region.”

Turkish Parliament Extended The Anti-Piracy Mission Of Turkish Navy

On 3 February 2015, The Grand National Assembly of Turkey, extended the presence of Turkish Navy in  Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and adjacent seas.

The first bill allowing Turkish government to deploy Turkish Naval Forces for anti piracy operations was accepted in 10 February 2009. It was extended in one year periods ever since.

Turkish warship are  tasked with:

  • Performing reconnaissance and patrol duties,
  • Calling on ships suspected of piracy/ armed robbery, on the radio, boarding them if their flag country approves and interfering in accordance with the international law if the ship is not showing any flag,
  • Escorting and protecting merchant ships,
  • Helping merchant ships under attack of pirates/sea robbers,
  • Intervening, stopping, neutralizing, and confiscating any vessels used by pirates/sea robbers, and using appropriate force if necessary,
  • Arresting and detaining pirates/sea robbers and armed persons in these vessels,
  • Accepting the representatives of the countries that will prosecute pirates/ armed robbers on board, for the preparations of judicial proceedings, according to the UN resolution 1851.
  • Arresting and detaining, pirates/armed robbers on board until they are being handed over to the countries that will prosecute them,
  • Turning in, the suspects of pirates/sea robbers with the exception of the case that these are Turkish citizens, to the authorities the nation where the pirates/sea robbers will be prosecuted,
  • Executing all kinds of policing duties including interrogation, collecting evidence.

TCG Büyükada Conducts Counter Piracy Operations

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TCG Büyükada conducts replenishment at sea with HMAS Success. Photo: NATO MARCOM.

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TCG Büyükada in Indian Ocean. Photo: NATO MARCOM

It was an busy week for the Ada class corvette TCG Büyükada.

On Sunday and Tuesday, TCG BUYUKADA conducted replenishment at sea (RAS) training with the Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS SUCCESS (OR 304), a multi-product replenishment oiler.
Monday, TCG BUYUKADA exercised with the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force ship JS HARUSAME (D-102), an independent deployer conducting counter-piracy in the region, testing common procedures and manoeuvres between these forces. During the interaction with the JMSDF, the Commander of Deployment Surface Force for Counter Piracy Enforcement, Captain Masatoshi Kashihara, visited TCG BUYUKADA and briefed on the activities of the ship in the operations area.
Wednesday TCG BUYUKADA had the opportunity to perform passing exercises (PASSEX), to include manoeuvring training and formation drills with the Korean Ship ROKS DAE JO YEONG in the Arabian Sea. The Commander of TCG BUYUKADA Lieutenant Commander Ali Tuna Baysal welcomed the Commander of the Korean Escort Task Group XVII and Commanding Officer of ROKS DAE JO YEONG Captain Sun-Woo Hwang, on board TCG BUYUKADA. Captain Sun-Woo Hwang and his contingent were briefed on the TCG BUYUKADA’s deployment in the region and her participation in Operation OCEAN SHIELD. The two Commanders also shared their experiences with counter-piracy operations and discussed future opportunities to work together.
Thursday the crew of TCG BUYUKADA conducted fire-fighting training with the Royal Omani Navy. This training is part of broader regional capacity building activities with countries in the area of operations. Fourteen Royal Omani Navy personnel observed the training, which included briefs about the fire-fighting systems, damage control and firefighting organization of the TCG BUYUKADA and direct observation of a fire simulation on the mess decks.

 

As reported earlier, TCG Büyükada is on a 87 day deployment to the Indian Ocean. The corvette is expected to arrive back in Turkey on 15 April 2015.

TCG Büyükada Joins Operation Ocean Shield

TCG Büyükada in Indian Ocean. Photo: NATO.

NATO’s Maritime Command reported that on 6 February 2015, the Ada class corvette TCG Büyükada has joined the Operation Ocean Shield.

The ship will conduct regular counter piracy patrols in Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and provide support to NATO’s regional capacity building efforts in order to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the nations in the area. The ship will also conduct training with several counter-piracy naval forces operating in the Indian Ocean.

“We are very pleased by Turkish Navy’s continued support to counter piracy efforts and its firm commitment to international maritime security,” said Commander NATO Allied Maritime Command, Vice Admiral Peter Hudson. “Though the number of piracy attacks has significantly declined, piracy at sea has not been eliminated, so vigilance by the international community remains necessary.”

As reported earlier, TCG Büyükada is on a 87 day deployment to the Indian Ocean.

The corvette is expected to arrive back in Turkey on 15 April 2015.

TCG Büyükada Sets Sail For Indian Ocean

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It will be spring when they return.

 

Today, on a sunny winter day, with a solemn ceremony the Ada class corvette F-512 TCG Büyükada set sail to the Indian Ocean.

On board are one S-72B Seahawk helicopter, tail number TCB-69, one naval special forces team and 124 sailors.

During this 87 day deployment, TCG Büyükada will join the task force CTF-151 and conduct anti-piracy patrols in Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia.

The warship will participate Pakistani led naval exercise AMAN 2015 and Kuwaiti exercise Eagles 2015.

With this deployment of TCG Büyükada, Turkey wants to increase its presence in the region and develop good working relationship with local navies. Another obvious aim of the deployment is to present and show the Ada class corvette to other navies planning of purchasing similar warships. Showing the flag, increasing the presence and bolstering defence export opportunities are classic usage of naval forces.

The corvette is expected to arrive back in Turkey on 15 April 2015.
More photos from the farewell ceremony:

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The executive officer of TCG Büyükada, Lieutenant Commander Toker, with his family.

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TCG Büyükada ready for the deployment.

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The crew of TCG Büyükada waiting for the order to man the ship.

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The commanding officer of TCG Büyükada, Lieutenant Commander Baysal delivering his speech.

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The commanding officer of TCG Büyükada, Lieutenant Commander Baysal

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TCG Gemlik Replaces TCG Gökova In Gulf Of Aden

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F-496 TCG Gökova.

F-496 TCG Gökova has passed through the Suez Canal as she is returning from her deployment in Gulf Of Aden. She was replaced by F-492 TCG Gemlik.

TCG Gökova was part of multinational anti piracy task force CTF-151 and was in the region since March 2014.

Here is the list of Turkish warships, deployed to Gulf of Aden to combat piracy:

Number Name Deployment Start Deployment End
F-491 TCG Giresun 17.02.2009 17.06.2009
F-490 TCG Gaziantep 17.06.2009 06.10.2009
F-495 TCG Gediz 21.06.2009 15.10.2009
F-496 TCG Gökova 16.10.2010 08.02.2010
F-492 TCG Gemlik 08.02.2010 24.04.2010
F-493 TCG Gelibolu 27.02.2010 13.08.2010
F-494 TCG Gökçeada 05.08.2010 22.10.2010
F-490 TCG Gaziantep 22.10.2010 25.01.2011
F-491 TCG Giresun 25.01.2011 18.06.2011
F-495 TCG Gediz 27.09.2011 07.12.2011
F-491 TCG Giresun 07.12.2011 07.06.2012
F-492 TCG Gemlik 07.06.2012 10.12.2012
F-496 TCG Gökova 10.12.2012 06.06.2013
F-497 TCG Göksu 06.06.2013 07.12.2013
F-493 TCG Gelibolu  07.12.2013 14.03.2014

 

Turkish Task Force Starts Its Circumnavigation Of Africa

TDGGTomorrow, on 17 March 2014, the Barbaros Turkish Maritime Task Group will leave Turkish Naval Base in Gölcük to starts its circumnavigation of Africa.

The task force will contain the frigates F-495 TCG Gediz, F-245 TCG Oruçreis, the corvette F-511 TCG Heybeliada and the replenishment tanker A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör.

During the deployment, which is expected to take 102 days, Barbaros TMTG will navigate round the African continent from west to east and will make 40 port visits in 28 countries and conduct military exercises with their navies.

It will be the first crossing of Cape of Hope by Turkish ships after 148 years. The ships will travel for about 15,000 nautical miles approximately 30,000 km throughout their sail.

This deployment is not just a navigational exercise of circumnavigation around Africa. It is also a powerful application of Turkish soft power to Africa. During the last decade Turkey finally realized that there is more Africa than just the Mediterranean countries where Turkey had links for centuries. With the discovery of sub Saharan Africa Turkish entrepreneurs started to do business with these countries. They were followed quickly by missions of Turkish Foreign Ministry and flights from Turkish Airlines.

As I learn more about the details of the activities planed during this deployment more I understand how much background work must have been done to make this happen. Below are the some highlights of the planned activities:

  • Turkish defence companies Meteksan, Otokar, TAI, Dearsan, Havelsan, Roketsan, Aselsan, STM will show their products in following cities:

Thema, Ghana
Lagos, Nigeria
Luanda, Angola
Dar es Salaam Tanzania
Mombasa, Kenya

  • Turkish Ministry of Health will conduct health checks and provide medical assistance in following cities:

Banjul Gambia
Dakar, Senegal,
Port of Sudan, Sudan

  • Military music bands will perform concerts in following cities:

Las Palmas, Spain
Conakry, Guinea
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Pointe-Noire, Congo
Cape Town, South Africa
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Mombasa, Kenya
Djibouti, Djibouti
Port of Sudan, Sudan

  • Members of Multinational Maritime Security Centre of Excellence will conduct maritime security and boarding training in following cities:

Lagos, Nigeria
Pointe-Noire, Congo
Luanda, Angola
Simon’s Town, South Africa
Mombasa, Kenya

  • There will be theoretical training in all ports of call.
  • Various high-ranking Turkish officers will visit their counterparts in 17 different cities.

This deployment of Barbaros TMTG is not just about hearts and minds either.

The frigate F-245 TCG Oruçreis will take part in Obangame Express Exercise between 19 and 21 April 2014. Obangame Express, conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, is an at-sea maritime exercise designed to improve cooperation among participating nations in order to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.  It focuses on maritime interdiction operation, as well as visit, board, search, and seizure techniques.

The two frigates and the corvette will conduct live missile firing exercise in Denel Overberg Test Range between 5 and 9 May 2014. There they will test their skills to the limits.

And when the Barbaros TMTG reaches Gulf of Aden it will conduct anti piracy operations between 5 and 11 June 2014.

This deployment is one of most meticulous prepared foreign deployments of Turkish Navy and a text-book example how nations can use their military to gain affection abroad. But not everybody is sharing my sentiments.

Admiral Nusret Güner, who had resigned to protest the Sledgehammer and other trials when he was expected to become the Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces, after a 1.5-year tenure as the head of the Fleet Command, criticized the upcoming African campaign of the Turkish Navy, pointing out the tensions in the Black Sea over the Crimean crisis .

The Black Sea waters are boiling because of what’s happening in Crimea and Ukraine. The United States and Russia are playing chess. They make moves one after another. When there is an imminent risk of clash, it’s an unacceptable situation that the Turkish Naval Forces are engaged in an African campaign in a way that they weaken their presence in the region,” Güner told daily Hürriyet.

Güner said he considers the African campaign as a wrong move for one more reason, which is the current status of Turkish naval forces. “The Sledgehammer trial and other legal cases have weakened the professional experience and skills of the Navy staff,” he said.

I agree with Mr. Güner’s remarks that the Black Sea waters are boiling and the shady trials against the Turkish high-ranking officers mostly from Naval Forces has created a havoc among the ranks of Turkish Navy. But I do not think that these are enough reasons to cancel the deployment of Barbaros TMTG. As being the former Commander of Turkish Naval Fleet, he must be in a better situation to judge the strengths and weaknesses of our navy but if we cannot spare 2 frigates and one corvette out of our fleet of 16 frigates and 8 corvettes, then something is not correct.

Even if the points made by Mr. Güner are correct we have other means to counter them. We have a good fleet of submarines that can creep very close to Crimea and gather very important intelligence. If we have to show the flag in the Black Sea we have many fast attack craft and some long range coast guard vessels that can fulfill the mission even if we cannot spare any of the 14 frigates left.

It is a very big pity that because of the shady trials many aspiring high-ranking officers are behind the bars today. The loss of their collective expertise and experience is a big blow to our navy. But expertise and experience are not gained by staying at home. They are gained by daring to new adventures and going to places that are new. Barbaros TMTG is just going to do that.

TCG Gökçeada Joined SNMG-2

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TCG Gökçeada departing. Photo: official Turkish Navy photo.

According to the official website of Turkish Navy, the Gabya (Perry) class frigate F-494 TCG Gökçeada departed from her home port Aksaz, Marmaris on 10 March 2014 to replace the frigate F-493 TCG Gelibolu of the same class in SNMG-2.

TCG Gelibolu was as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 under Spanish command in Gulf Of Aden and was taking part in Operation Ocean Shield, which is NATO’s counter piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa.

From 14 March till 24 June 2014, TCG Gökçeada will protect the civilian ships against the pirates.

TCG Göksu Returned From Her Anti Piracy Deployment

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Photo: Official Turkish Navy photo.

On 16 December 2013 after a 7 month deployment, Gabya class frigate, F-497 TCG Göksu returned her home port Gölcük.

She has been in the Gulf Of Aden and Indian Ocean to combat piracy.

Thank you for a job well done and welcome home.

TCG Gelibolu Replaces TCG Salihreis In SNMG-2

F-493 TCG-Gelibolu

Turkish Gabya class frigate F-493 TCG Gelibolu is replacing F-246 TCG Salihreis in SNMG-2, before the NATO’s task force sails to Gulf Of Aden to combat piracy.

There will be a farewell ceremony for TCG Gelibolu on 30 November in Aksaz Naval Base.

While Turkish Navy deploys Yavuz (MEKO 200 Track I) and Barbaros (MEKO 200 Track II A/B) class frigates to NATO missions, it is always a Gabya (Perry) class frigate that is sent to missions in Gulf Of Aden. The Gabya class ships are considered more comfortable in Indian ocean and are more economical with their fuel consumption.

It would be interesting to hear what RAN is thinking as it is the only other navy besides Turkish that operates both MEKO and Perry class frigates.

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