Russian Warship Fires Warning Shots To A Turkish Fishing Vessel


Smetlivy seen here heading to the Mediterranean in September.

Today the Russian destroyer Smetlivy and the Turkish fishing boat Geçiciler Balıkçılık got dangerously close. The Russian warship had to fire warning shots to the unarmed Turkish fishing vessel to turn away. The incident happened 22 kilometers east of the Greek Island Lemnos in the Norther Aegean.

Earlier today the crew of Russia’s “Smetlivy” destroyer was forced to use firearms to prevent a collision with a Turkish seiner vessel in the northern part of the Aegean Sea, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defense.
Russian Frigate Uses Firearms to Prevent Collision With Turkish Vessel in Aegean Sea
The destoyer’s crew spotted an approaching Turkish ship at a distance of approximately one kilometer (0.6 miles). The seiner did not attempt to establish radio contact with the Russian ship and did not respond to signal lamps or flairs.
Upon the Turkish seiner’s dangerously close approach to the anchored “Smetlivy” at a distance of 600 meters (656 yards), the Russian patrol ship fired a shot beyond the hitting range of the firearms to avoid collision.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Turkish vessel immediately changed its course and, without contacting the Russian crew, kept moving by the “Smetlivy” destroyer at a distance of 540 meters (590 yards).

The above was the Russian version of the event. The Turkish version is different:

However, Muzaffer Gecici, who is the owner of the Turkish vessel Geciciler Balikcilik, has flatly denied the Russian claims saying that his boat and the Russian warship had a distance of at least 1 mile (1.6 km). 
He also stated that the Russian warship was not on the move and nobody heard any warning shots from the destroyer, adding that his vessel is technologically well-equipped and that he has already given footage from the incident to the Turkish Coast Guard. 
Meanwhile, the Russian ministry has released another statement after it summoned Turkey’s military naval attache in Moscow, Rear Admiral Ahmet Gunes, saying that the Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov had “a conversation” with Gunes.  
The statement has puzzlingly tried to link the latest incident in the Aegean with Russia’s “counter-terrorism tasks in Syria” blaming Turkey with “reckless actions” against “the Russian military contingent” in the country.
The statement has also claimed that the Turkish vessel, which is a small civilian fisher boat, was able to provoke the Russian military guard ship Smetlivy.

The Russian Navy should start to use acoustic hailing devices. These devices have a very powerful audio output capability with a vert focused narrow beam. They can make your message, be heard in large distances miles away. With the aid of these devices a warship can hail and warn any other vessel in her vicinity that does not respond to radio contact, to signal lamps or flairs before starting to shot.

9 Responses to Russian Warship Fires Warning Shots To A Turkish Fishing Vessel

  1. daftasabrush46 says:

    More sabre rattling! The Russians must be mad – read in both English and French (ex pat Brit/Irish, living in northern France), that openly and discretely Russian military talking about closing the Bosphorous. Completely deluded. Turkey may not be the world’s greatest military power, but they are the key to the Med and Black Sea. Turkey alone, even before NATO, EU Rapid Reaction Force, etc, would reinforce Turk forces, could very quickly block entries and exits. Russia would be strangled, in the south. Fear of a fishing boat shows how fragile, the Russian’s courage really is. This crap over Turkey downing one of their much vaunted (but even more ancient than some of older Turkish, but updated aircraft types), is showing up more and more of Russian vulnerability. Good for the Turks – the Russian warship afraid of the Turkish fishermen attacking them with fish or throwing empty raki bottles at them?!

    • Alexander says:

      Please, read carefully. Smetlivy “fired a shot beyond the hitting range”. They just wanted to warn the boat, not to shot it. I also advice the Turkish fishermen to read International Convention for preventing Collisions at Sea and learn the distances that they are allowed to approach to other vessels

      • daftasabrush46 says:

        I’d far prefer to have the Russians as allies, than enemies. The article says that the Russian vessel was also drifting – remember too that fishing vessels use a drifting tecnique often. A bit of nervous over reaction i think. On the other hand it would not surprise me if the fishermen were trying to get a bit closer to take a few photos to sell, to augment their income. I just hope minor incidents like this, do not get blown out of proportion, and lead to further tit for tat sanctions, and military reprisals. Russia has greatly complicated the problems in Syria, by siding with what is essentially a dictatorship. The west however has many points of mutual interest with Russia on the issue of battling the false Islamists, who use the name of religion for mere terrorism, and hatred, not fighting for a principle, but against different vague reasons, that change from day to day, group to group. I detest terrorism in the false name of religion. I am Northern Irish by birth, and had it up to my eyeballs. Now living in France i detest racism (i get a “Get out of jail free” card, being white, and not being English), and not over surprised, yet still shocked by the escalating rate of terrorist attempts here. While the west needs to be wary of Russian motives, we are better to find mutual beneficial grounds for fighting a threat to us all. Ваше здоровье к российским военным и народу. Я прошу прощения за дерьмо перевода Google. Keep calm Turkey and Russia, you need each other, and over reactions will plunge the rest of the world into a stupid anti stance, and force us all to take sides, when we have more aspirations and needs in common than we have differences.

  2. jimfrpmcanada says:

    It seems to me the Russian vessel should have altered course if the Turkish vessel was engaged in fishing.

  3. harry dardanel says:

    I observed the fishing vessel in question passing thru the Dardanelles strait, just an ordinary commercial fishing vessel. However, the location of the Russian man of war on guard duty is near Lemnos, Although far from the Dardanelles strait, VMF “Smetlivy” was drifting strategically positioned in international waters guarding the entrance to the Dardanelles strait. This gives credibility to daftasabrush46’s statement. Turkey is meticulously abiding by the Montreux regime. Regarding the airplane incident, it was bound to happen somewhere on Nato’s borders. Lately Russians have been acting desperately aggressive after their occupation of Crimea. Turks have warned the Russians several times not to violate Turkish and Nato airspace, even set up a special frequency with the Russian Air Force to prevent mishaps. What else can Turks do to protect their sovereignty ???

  4. Quaesiveris says:

    Shame on those who spread lies, disinformation, misinformation etc. out of willful ignorance or perhaps even malicious propagandist intent (In these “interesting” times it would serve readers well to keep Heinlein’s Razor in mind: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice.”.)

    I truly appreciate this very informative website (Bosphorus Naval News) and would like to sincerely thank the author for his time (our most valuable commodity) and the effort it takes to maintain it.

    I rarely leave comments, however I’m finally sufficiently irritated by those that are so eager to vocally share their uninformed (at the very least) opinions in such a public forum (and I’m beyond utterly disgust for those that maliciously spread propaganda and lies).

    Dear reader… please, study and practice critical thinking skills and diligently apply it when reading articles and especially comments online. Learn to recognize and get rid of your own cognitive biases. Objectively seek the truth and then please, do not lead a life of quiet desperation! If you consider yourself to be a good man / woman then please, do not let evil triumph, do not remain silent. Speak out and be tireless when sharing the truth. “Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.” (Latin: Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it)

    Indisputable Fact 1:
    Turkey shot down (aggressively attacked and destroyed) a Russian Su-24 on 24 November 2015.

    Indisputable Fact 2:
    The Russian Su-24 was engaged in anti-Daesh (ISIS) operations inside Syria near near the border with Turkey, therefore the Su-24 clearly did not pose a threat to Turkey (The Russians shared the mission information with the USA before it commenced).
    The fact is that Turkey did not act out of self-defense (and to their credit they have not made such a claim.)

    Indisputable Fact 3:
    This unilateral, unprovoked aggression by Turkey resulted in the violent death of one of the Russian pilots as well as a Russian marine (along with the destruction of a Russian rescue helicopter.)

    So note that Turkey did not and can not claim self-defense but instead claimed that it used violence to defend its property rights (i.e. its sovereign territory / airspace).

    Thus after the fact Turkey insists that deadly force was necessary to defend its sovereign airspace against an alleged 17-second incursion by the Russian Su-24 (even though the Su-24 had apparently already left and was back in Syrian airspace. It was shot down approximately 4km inside Syria.)

    (Note however, in my opinion, the absolute hypocrisy of Erdogan! In 2012, after Syria shot down a Turkish F-4 Phantom Erdogan told his Parliament “A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack”.)

    Russia on the other hand, adamantly insists that the Su-24 never entered Turkish airspace in the first place and has provided radar track evidence to prove it. The surviving pilot unequivocally stated in a public interview that a. they never crossed into Turkish airspace and b. that they did not receive any warnings from Turkey.

    (Note again the hypocrisy of Turkey not just violating Iraq sovereign territory with troops and tanks but refusing to leave when Iraq makes it crystal clear that Turkish troops were not invited and are not welcome. Also take note that Turkey (along with other Sunni-states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar etc.) has clearly been supporting the jihadists / terrorists waging war inside Syria & Iraq.)

    The different versions of this event aside, without doubt this incident has obviously raised tensions between Russian and Turkey. Thus with the relevant background information and context provided let’s move on to the topic of this article – the incident of the Russian destroyer “Smetlivy” that fired warning shots with small arms at a Turkish fishing vessel:

    This particular ex-pat British/Irish commenting from northern France opened by stating his or her belief that the Smetlivy-Geçiciler Balıkçılık incident is “More saber-rattling!” and that “The Russians must be mad”. Typical. Turkey aggressively shoots down a Russian military aircraft (apparently the very first time in history that a member of NATO has done something like that) in an incident that at the very least appears to be a gross over-reaction (since Turkey has apparently violated Greece’s airspace more than a thousand times the past year) and at the worst appears to be an unprovoked hostile act of war. Yet, you immediately conclude that “The Russians must be mad” i.e. that Russia’s to blame? That it’s Russia that is guilty of “More” saber-rattling (trying to incite a potential nuclear war?) and acting irrationally? Strange… but moving on…

    You then allude to hearsay evidence / you read somewhere that the Russians are considering to close the Bosphorus (without providing any sources). As much as you committed straw man as well as red-herring fallacies I would agree that the Montreax Convention gives Turkey (a member of NATO) control over the Bosphorus Straits, thus should Turkey be attacked it would then be able to invoke Article 5 (Collective Defence) of the NATO treaty. Indeed, the Bosphorus is providing Russian with a strategically very important if not vital SLOC (sea line of communication) with it’s forces in Syria. Thus, a Russian attempt close the Bosphorus would strategically make very little sense. It would almost certainly lead to a major war with NATO but fortunately for the Kremlin you’ve saved them from such an embarrassing mistake (by stating the patently obvious).

    So to get to the gist of the matter:
    This particular commentator did not consider the major damage that would result from a collision between the Turkish fishing vessel and the Russian warship or would prefer that readers not realize that the Russians were justified in their actions. By portraying the Russians as fragile and “fearing a fishing boat” is clearly dishonest since Turkey has been openly hostile towards Russia. How else should the Russian interpret Turkish intentions other than hostile? Was the unprovoked, hypocritical, aggressive downing of the Su-24 an attempt at peaceful diplomacy?

    “This crap over Turkey downing one of their much vaunted (but even more ancient than some of older Turkish, but updated aircraft types), is showing up more and more of Russian vulnerability.”
    In the mind of this commentator an unexpected, surprise attack by Turkish F-16’s (fighters) on a Russian Su-24 attack aircraft (bomber) somehow equates to “Russian vulnerability”. Indeed. The Russians were vulnerable since they trusted their Turkish “partners”. Unfortunately as Putin clearly and succinctly stated… the Russians were indeed stabbed in the back by those who support terrorists.

    Daesh (ISIS) claimed responsibility for shooting down a Russian airliner filled with civilians in Eqypt. Turkey is covertly supporting the very same terrorists in Syria! Should Russia for the sake of gas contracts and trade turn a blind eye? But oh no… it’s the Russians that are afraid of mere Turkish fishermen. I find the tone, hypocrisy, ignorance (or more likely malice) of the commentator disgusting.

    This particular commentator stated that the Russians should’ve altered course to avoid the Turkish fishing vessel. Yup… I think the Russians should be blamed for Russia being surrounded by NATO bases as well right? Oh no, it’s not like NATO expanded dramatically towards Russia since the fall of the Soviet union at all. So… perhaps all the Russians should just move? Whatever.

    @harry dardanel
    “Occupation of Crimea”. Here we go again with utter ignorance / malice. Really? Honestly? Occupation? The Crimean people themselves overwhelmingly voted for secession. Suddenly the purposes and principles of the United Nations itself does not apply? The right to self-determination does not apply? Never mind that Crimea has been Russian territory since Catherine the Great. Conveniently forget to mention that after the fall of the Soviet union Russia had an agreement with Ukraine to station troops there (i.e. did not “invade”). etc. etc. etc. Pure, WILLFUL ignorance.

    “Turks have warned the Russians several times not to violate Turkish and Nato airspace, even set up a special frequency with the Russian Air Force to prevent mishaps. What else can Turks do to protect their sovereignty ???”

    Unfortunately due to time restraints I have to keep my comment brief. Therefore I’ll write: Utter lies. It was the Russians that tried to establish a protocol with the Turks to prevent mishaps. Turkey has NOT offered ANY proof of the supposed warning to the Russian Su-24. Go ahead… please. If it exists why not publish it? Please Show me and the world.

    So the Turks were only protecting their sovereignty while violating Greece and Armenian airspace regularly and actually invading Iraq? The Russian Su-24 was obviously NOT intending to violate Turkish airspace. To my knowledge Turkey not once disputed that the Russian Su-24 was on a mission inside Syrian airspace, engaging targets inside Syria. Thus, the supposed violation of Turkish sovereign airspace (if it had occurred at all) was unintentional and lasted (if at all) for only 17 seconds. In the commentators mind the Turkish response was morally justified? Not a gross over-reaction?

    My dear friends… we’re slowly moving past the cross-roads. Nobody lives forever. ALL will be judged fairly. Count your words wisely. What you do and say (and write) matters… it has the power to change minds and perceptions and therefore also reality. It has consequences. Do not speak idly. Think! Think for yourselves! What you say and do will echo in eternity.

    Peace to all.


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