Turkish Navy EOD Team Destroys An Old Mine

The deadly catch. Photo: Balıkesir Haber Ajansı

This week a fishing boat operating off the coast of Ayvalık, Balıkesir found a mine in its net.

They have informed the Coast Guard and the harbor master. The old and probably inert mine was brought to the shore on board. A Turkish Navy EOD team was called by the Coast Gaurd. The EOD team brought the mine to an inhabited area and destroyed it by detonation.

The mine is believed to be from 1. World War era. Every year fishermen return with such deadly catch and provide the EOD teams always an opportunity for action.

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Nusret 2018 Mine Warfare Exercise

The Bulgarian mine hunter BNG Tsibar, seen here passing southbound through Istanbul on 10th October 2018 takes part in Nusret 2018 MCM exercise.

The Romanian hydrographic research vessel Cătuneanu is participating to the Nusret 2018 exercise too. Here is she seen passing through Istanbul on 13th October.

Mine warfare exercise Nusret 2018 has started in İzmir today. The exercise led by the Turkish Navy aims to provide training for the planning and execution of mine warfare and to improve the interoperability in mine warfare, between warships from participant countries.

The exercise is named after the famous minelayer Nusret. In even years the exercise is held in İzmir Bay and in odd years it is held in Çanakkale and Saros Bay.

This year 18 surface units including 4 Aydın class minehunters, 3 Edincik class minehunters, one minelayer, one corvette and one patrol boat from Turkish Navy, Standing Nato Mine Warfare Group 2 (SNMCMG-2) and Romanian hydrographic research ship are participating in the exercise. A detailed list of the participating units is at the bottom of this post.

One Turkish and one Romanian autonomous underwater vehicles teams and one Greek and one Romanian underwater explosive ordnance disposal units are also taking part in Nusret 2018.

The exercise has 3 phases. The first phase is the assembly of the participating units in the Port of İzmir. Followed by mine laying operation from one Turkish C-130 cargo plane and L-402 TCG Bayraktar. This phase is followed by active mine hunting warfare operations. The last phase will be a Photex of the participants and social and cultural activates among the crews to foster cooperation and mutual understanding.

Number Name Type Country
32 BGS Tsibar Minehunter Bulgaria
M-645 FS Orion Minehunter France
A-513 FGS Rhein Auxillary Germany
M-62 HS Evropi Minehunter Greece
5555 ITS Termoli Minehunter Italy
ROS Catuneanu Hydrographic Vessel Romania
M-34 ESPS Turia Minehunter Spain
F-512 TCG Büyükada Corvette Turkey
L-401 TCG Bayraktar Minelayer / LST Turkey
M-264 TCG Erdemli Minehunter Turkey
M-20X TCG Edincik Minehunter Turkey
M-262 TCG Enez Minehunter Turkey
M-263 TCG Erdek Minehunter Turkey
M-265 TCG Alanya Minehunter Turkey
M-266 TCG Amasra Minehunter Turkey
M-268 TCG Akçakoca Minehunter Turkey
M-270 TCG Akçay Minehunter Turkey
P-1206 TCG Karşıyaka Patrol boat Turkey

For further reading:
Nusret 2017
Nusret 2016
Nusret 2015
Nusret 2014
Nusret 2013
Nusret 2012
Nusret 2011
Nusret 2010

Turkish Coast Guard Rescues 275 People, During Search And Rescue Exercise

Dost class OPV, TCSG Güven acted as the flagship for the Turkish Coast Guard units taking part in the exercise.

Turkish Coast Guard rescued 275 illegal immigrants from the sea on 6 different occasions during the Deniz Aslanı 2018 search and rescue exercise.

According to Turkish Coast Guard, on 14 May 2018 during the search and rescue exercise held in the Aegean Sea, in 6 different incidents total of 275 the illegal immigrants were rescued from hardly seaworthy rubber boats.

Deniz Aslanı is an annual exercise held, in international waters of the Aegean Sea covered by Turkish Search and Rescue Area. Search and Rescue units from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and elements of Transportation, Maritime Affairs, and Communications Ministry participated in the exercise.

The aim of the exercise is to improve the coordination and collaboration between the military and civilian search and rescue units and coordination centers.

Turkish And Greek Coast Guard Boats Collide

According to news reports Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG Umut and Greek Coast Guard vessel HCG Gavdos has collided when they were maneuvering near Kardak Islets.

HCG Gavdos sustained damage and reported to be heading to Piraeus to be repaired. There are no reports about any damage on TCSG Umut. But her sister TCSG Güven has observed leaving her home port in Büyükdere Istanbul and heading to the south. It is at this moment too early to say whether she sailed to replace TCSG Umut.

Since both sides are blaming the other for this incident it is not clear at this point how the incident really happened. But since TCSG Umut is the larger and heavier of the ships it is possible that HCG Gavdos may have bear the brunt of the collision.

Here is a comparison between the to ships:

LS 090 Gavdos SG-703 Umut
Length (m) 58 88
Beam (m) 9,55 12
Displacement (tons) no data 1727
Crew 30 60

 

HCG Gavdos seems to be damaged at near the wireless antennas towards the aft of the boat. Photos: protothema.gr and news.in.gr

Fire On Board TCG Beykoz

TCG Beykoz sailing southward through Çeşme Strait. This photo was taken in November 2017.

In the early morning hours on 13th January 2018, a fire erupted in the engine room of the corvette TCG Beykoz. The ship was in a berth at Foça Naval Base. Damage control party interfered and put out the fire. 11 sailors were hospitalized of which 8 were later released the same day. According to news reports, the fire started at electrical cables.

The ship is assigned to Escort and Patrol Fleet and based in Foça, İzmir. The extent of the damage and whether the ship needs a lengthy overhaul and repair period is unclear.

M/V Orca 2 Collided With Russian Navy Landing Ship Yamal

The damaged Yamal in Sevastopol. All damage seems to be on the superstructure. There is no visible damage to the hull. That is good. Photo: Artem Balabin.

I might be mistaken but the damaged area supposed to be the living quarters of the crew and the transported troops. Thus I sincerely hope no one was injured. The blow seems to be strong. Photo: Artem Balabin.

Another photo showing the extent of the damage to Yamal. Photo: Artem Balabin.

It is a pity that we -the ship spotters in Istanbul- have missed the northbound passage of Yamal on 1st January 2017. Otherwise, the Russian Navy would not be able to cover it up for 10 days.

Container ship ORCA 2 collided with Russian Navy Landing ship YAMAL at around 1300 UTC Dec 30 in Aegean sea some 8 nm northwest of Rhodes port, Rhodes island. Container ship was en route from Alexandria to Gemlik Turkey Marmara sea, and according to Russian Navy official statement, was overtaking YAMAL, when suddenly veered starboard and collided with YAMAL. ORCA 2 is to be blamed for collision, said Russian Navy. Both ships sustained undisclosed damages. YAMAL was en route from Syria to Sevastopol, Crimea, understood she resumed sailing, while ORCA 2 was taken to Rhodos anchored and remained at anchor until Jan 4. On Jan 4 she resumed voyage, and on Jan 6 arrived at Gemlik. On Jan 10 she was still at Gemlik.
There were no news on this accident until Jan 10, when suddenly, Russian Navy made an official statement, published by Russian News Agency TASS.

The omission of Yamal from Syrian Express supply runs will make life of logistics planners very difficult. She was one of the most prolific ships, making 10 deployments in 2017 before the accident. She may be out of service for a couple years.

Lest We Forget: DM-357 TCG Muavenet


On 2nd October 1992, 11 minutes past midnight, during the NATO’s Display Determination ’92 naval exercise, two Sea Sparrow surface to air missiles fired accidentally from the aircraft carrier CV-60 USS Saratoga, hit the bridge of the Turkish destroyer DM-357 TCG Muavenet. 5 sailors including the commander of the ship were killed instantly and 15 badly hurt. A fire broke out on board. At the time of the incident two ships were 3 miles apart and were streaming north in the Aegean.

One of the missiles hit the ship approximately after a flight of ten seconds. The first missile hit the front of the ships bridge and destroyed it. The second missile exploded in the air probably because the blast of the first missile and peppered the ship with shrapnel. Ships radar antenna, forward gun turrets, hedgehog launcher suffered from the shrapnel damage. The pieces of the second missile penetrated the forward gun turret, cabins of the supply officer and XO.

A fire started at the ammunition chamber of the Hedgehog system. The explosion of the Hedgehog rounds would have caused the loss of the ships. After the hits general quarters were sounded and the fire fighting teams started to tackle the fire. On the other hand the damage control teams were throwing the ready ammunition in the forward gun turrets and other explosives near the fire over the board as a safety measure.

The fire was under control in 10 minutes but the water caused damage in the decks that were not harmed in the initial blast.

The extend of the damage resulting both from missile impact and fire is obvious. It was quite a skill to bring the fire under control before reached to the gun turret in B position. If the fire has spread further to the turrets and ammunition chambers of the guns, the she would not have survived.

All the fire fighting and damage control efforts were done in the absence of the commander of the ship. This fact speaks for the professionalism of the officers and the bravery of the whole crew.

They simply did not give up the ship.

Commander Kudret Güngör
Ensign Alertunga Akan
Petty Officer 3th Class Serkan Aktepe
Sergant Mustafa Kılınç
Private Recep Akan

Paid the ultimate price for the defence of their country.

 

For further reading:
US Navy Court of Inquiry

Turkish Navy Court of Inquiry

Wikipedia

An interesting but technical legal article about why USA did not paid indemnities to the Turkish sailors

 

Greek Coast Guard Fired Upon Turkish Flag Merchant Ship

Bullet holes on the funnel of M/V Act. Photo: denizhaber.com

A bizarre incident happened today off the coast of Rhodes. Greek Coast Guard fired 2 dozen rounds to the Turkish flagged merchant ship M/V Act to stop her.

According to Greek Coast Guard, the Port Authority on the island received an anonymous call that the ship was carrying drugs. Thus the Greek authorities intercepted M/V Act. The merchant ship however refused to sail to Rhodes as ordered and changed her course to Turkey. Since the warning shot to the bow of the ship did not deter them to go to Turkish waters shots were fired to the funnel of M/V Act.

According to Turkish General Staff, two Turkish Coast Guard vessels and one Turkish Navy fast attack craft was sent to the area.

It is not clear at the moment there the merchant ship is exactly heading and whether Turkish Coast Guard will board the ship and search for the alleged narcotics.

An Epilogue To An Incident

tam-ekran-yakalama-31-12-2016-152454

As I wrote this post on 31st December 2016 at 16.00 local time, the Turkish flagged vessel M/V Alcatras was still grounded in Lambi beach, Kos island.

But as you can see from the videos below some of her cargo was transferred to another Turkish flagged vessel and is gone back to Turkey.

A Prototype Of A Turkish Air Defence Gun System Is Aground On A Greek Island

alcatras

The above photo shows Aselsan’s naval version of Korkut air defence gun system. The below photo shows the grounded vessel Alcatras and her cargo. A is the 3D search radar. The shape of the radar and the neck of the mast is very distinct. B is the fire control radar on the turret. Though the turret is covered on the boat, the shape and the height is consistent with the uncovered turret. The arrow shows the direction of the barrels. The photo above is from Twitter user @TyrannosurusRex. The photo below is from The Toc.

I don’t know what to say. Should I call it a Greek tragedy or a Turkish comedy? A brand-new prototype of locally developed naval air defence system ended up, grounded on a Greek Island.

The whole episode started like many others. The Turkish flagged M/V Alcatras experienced a rudder failure as she was sailing from Tuzla, Istanbul to Antalya, according to the captain’s statement. Being unable to steer she run aground on Kos island at approximately 100 m from the beach of Lambi. Such incidents do happen in the Aegean Sea quite often.

M/V Alcatras is a 28 meters long vessels. She bears all the characteristics of a large Turkish fishing vessel designed to work on the seas around Turkey. But she is has no fishing gear installed. She is registered as a diving tender. The old photos of the vessel in Marine Traffic shows a typical working boat, with the superstructure in front and a large working area at aft.

When M/V Alcatras was grounded in Kos however she was loaded with what appears as two white containers for accommodation or for working and one green container. Furthermore she has one medium hight mast with a covered top and another structure also totally covered. This is the valuable cargo. The mast and the covered cargo have the distinct shape of the naval air defence gun system developed by Aselsan.

Aselsan has developed for Turkish Army a self propelled air defense gun system called Korkut. One Korkut unit consists one command and control vehicle with a 3D search radar (marked A on the photo above) and 3 gun vehicles, each fitted with a twin 35mm air defence gun and a fire control radar. The twin guns are Oerlikon GDF-002 units produced under licence by MKEKThe development of Korkut has recently reached the field testing phase and some vehicles were delivered to Turkish Army for this purpose.

The naval Korkut was loaded on M/V Alcatras in Istanbul and she was heading to Antalya. There are no naval construction facilities in Antalya. M/V Alcatras was not merely transporting the system from Tuzla to Antalya. It is safe to assume once in Antalya, the vessel was to conduct tests on the open sea. Hence there are containers on board too. The location of the turret proivdes a wide arc of fire from the side.

There were rumors that a navalised air defence gun system based on Korkut was also on development but there was no concrete evidence. First the photo of the prototype was published on Twitter. Later the news about the grounding of a Turkish vessel with a mysterious cargo was published. Now, we and our neighbours know that we have developed a prototype of such a system.

The Greek website OnAlert reported that the cargo of M/V Alcatras was transferred to another vessel to lighten up the around ship.

Since there is no official statements about the incident, there is a (though small) possibility that my story may turn out to be wrong. And I would like to thank Alper Böler for his carefull observation.

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