April Activation of BlackSeaFor

Today the April 2011 activation of BlackSeaFor will officially begin, with a press conference on board of Romanian warship Marasesti.

This year will be the 10th anniversary of the call-on naval task force BlackSeaFor.

For the purpose of enhancing peace and stability in the Black Sea area, by increasing regional co-operation, and improving good relationship, the idea of establishing a multinational naval on-call peace task force “The Black Sea Naval Co-Operation Task Group-BLACKSEAFOR” has been initiated by Turkey at the second Chiefs of the Black Sea Navies (CBSN) meeting which was held in Varna/Bulgaria in 1998.

“The Letter of Intent (LOI)”, which was signed on 28 June 2000 by the ambassadors of the Black Sea littoral states in Ankara was one of the major steps for the BlackSeaFor establishment as a document conveying political will, commitment and support of the black sea littoral states.

“The BlackSeaFor Establishment Agreement”, the most important milestone of this initiative, was signed by ministers and their authorized representatives at the signing ceremony, which was held on 2 April 2001, in Istanbul.

In last 10 years BlackSeaFor did achieved many things. In my opinion the most important success of BlackSeaFor was its ability to create a political will to organise and maintain a maritime task force by the countries of Black Sea for themselves. This year the Georgian warship will visit the Russian Novorossiysk despite the continuing animosity between the two countries.

Another benefit of BlackSeaFor is that it has created a harmonious platform for cooperation between NATO countries (Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania) and Non-NATO countries (Ukraine, Russia, Georgia) of the Black Sea nations. The lessons learned and expertise gathered during BlackSeaFor activation are very useful for the participating navies. I am sure that Ukraine Navy benefited from the experience of BlackSeaFor when Ukrainian warship was sent to join the NATO operation Active Endeavor. I am also sure that both NATO and Russian warships are benefiting from BlackSeaFor when they are cooperating in Gulf of Aden against piracy.

This years’ April activation will start on 5. April and will end on 26. April. During this time the participating ships will visit Istanbul, Sevastopol and Novorossiysk.  The task force will spend 15 days in harbors and 7 days on under way.

During this activation period the Blackseafor ships will

  • test newly prepared concepts for  peace support operations, NBC defense, and the rules of engagement
  • conduct sea keeping and ship handling, tactical maneuvering and communications trainings
  • execute a search and rescue training
  • conduct air defence training with participation of Turkish Air Force
  • visit ports of The Black Sea to consolidate friendship between nations and navies.

Following ships are taking part:

F-240 TCG Yavuz Frigate Turkey
F-42 BGS Verni Frigate Bulgaria
P-24 GCG Sokhumi Patrol Boat Georgia
F-111 ROS Marasesti Frigate Romania
156 RFS Yamal Landing Ship Russia
U-510 UPS Slavutich Command Ship Ukraine
Bosphorus Naval News

The weather is cloudy and there is not much light but I will try to take photos of the visiting warships and share here.

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