Greek Coast Guard Fired Upon Turkish Flag Merchant Ship

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

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.

Russia And Greece Signed An Agreement On Military Cooperation

Last week Russia and Greece signed an intergovernmental agreement on military cooperation, during the visit of Russian Defense minister Sergei Shoigu to Athens.

It is worth of mentioning that this visit was conducted just before Athens will take the Presidency of EU for the next 6 months staring in 1.1.2014. Greece is NATO’s only member country to pursue fruitful military technological cooperation with Russia.

We signed an agreement that opens new frameworks and new boundaries for our further work in the sphere of military-technical cooperation,” Sergei Shoigu told journalists after talks with his Greek counterpart Dimitrios Avramopoulos in Athens.

The deal concerns armaments supplied previously as well as military hardware, maintenance and new hardware supplies, Shoigu said.

A Russian deputy defense minister, Anatoly Antonov, said after the talks that Shoigu had proposed that Avramopoulos consider working out an agreement to streamline the procedure for Russian navy vessels calling at Greek ports.

Antonov said the two defense ministers had also discussed the possibility of holding personnel training events and exchanging experience in the fight against terrorism and piracy, as well as other areas of cooperation.

This new agreement will make it easier for Russian ships to dock at Greek port during their deployment in the Mediterranean thus making Greece a reliable alternative to the Syrian port Tartus.

According to Greek blog SManalysis, Russia will help Greek Navy to support the Zubr class hovercraft. Greek Navy has procured 4 of these air-cushioned landing craft. Three of them joined the Greek Navy in 2001 and the last one in 2005. They have a displacement of 550 tons and can carry up to 130 tons military material: 3 main battle tanks or 10 armored personnel carriers or 230 troops.

One of them was decommissioned in 2010 and the operational status of the remainder was dubious.

Greek Navy Performed Live Missile Shootings

8mOn the 16th February Greek Navy conducted an exercise with live missile shootings. The exercise was held in south east of Crete.

According to official website of Greek Navy:

One land based mobile battery fired an Exoet missile, one S-70B Seahawk helicopter fired a AGM-114 Hellifre missile, the fast attack craft P-26 Degiannis fired a Penguin Mk.2 missile. The special forces team on Degiannis even fired an AT-4 anti tank missile.

The Greek armed forces are conducting a lot live missile shooting during their exercises. I guess expending a missile that, has a very little shelf life left, is cheaper than reconditioning it. Missile shootings also boosts the morale.

According to the official website of Greek Navy the target of these munitions was the decommissioned corvette Elefthria.

By the way “elefthria” means “freedom” in English.

Greek Frigate Bouboulina Decommissioned

Lowering of the Greek flag on Boubolina. Photo: Official Hellenic Navy Photo.

Lowering of the Greek flag on Boubolina. Photo: Official Hellenic Navy Photo.

Today Greek Nay decommissioned one of her 10 Elli lass frigates F-463 Bouboulina with a solemn ceremony.

Like all Elli class ships the ex Bouboulina started her life in the Dutch Navy. At that time she was known as Pieter Floriz. She was transferred after 18 years of service in Royal Netherlands Navy.

She was commissioned in Greek navy in 2001 where she spend about 1,200 days at sea, covering a total of more than 148,000 nautical miles. Greek Navy conducted a mid life modernization to six of the ten ships in service. Bouboulina, Kanaris, Themistocles and Nikiforos Fokas which were not modernized are going to be decommissioned gradually.

Her hull will be probably used to supply parts for the remaining 9 ships of the same class.

Greek Diaspora In USA Wants To Block Transfer Of Warships To Turkey (Part III)

As far as I understand the working of the US law making processes, the bill called “Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012” which was introduced to the US House of Representatives in December failed to be voted by the US Senate before the end of the year 2012 and before the end of the 112th Congress.

I do not know if it is possible to reintroduce a similar bill in the 113th Congress, but should that not happen then the deal of granting Turkey two Perry class frigates is off the table.

The HALC is patting its own shoulders for their success of stooping “the transfer” of these ships. I would like to remind that Turkey was offered Perry class frigates before without an Greek blockade and refused to take the ships.

As I have written before, if the bill would become a law, it would only authorize the US President to transfer vessels to foreign countries. This does not mean that the foreign countries would pick these ships. While these ships were granted for free there would be a hefty price tag attached to the ships to bring them to the level of the existing Gabya (Perry) class frigates in Turkish Navy.

Lastly, these transfers are job creators here at home. Each frigate transferred will require 40 to $80 million of repair and refurbishment. This represents economic benefit to the United States through labor and services during the transfer process, as well as the potential for millions more in follow-on services, equipment, and training. According to estimates from U.S. sources, each frigate transfer creates or sustains approximately 100 shipyard jobs and 50 services jobs in the U.S. for approximately 6 months. Performing this ship transfer work in domestic shipyards that perform U.S. Navy overhauls and repairs lowers the cost of U.S. Navy maintenance by spreading costs over a wider base. The end result is an overall lower cost to our U.S. Navy and thus for the American taxpayer.

The influential naval journalist Mr.Christopher P. Cavas has written an informative article about this subject with some very sharp observations.

Having failed to produce timely defense spending bills or avoid a chaotic end to a year-long march toward sequestration, the recently-deceased 112th Congress also failed to approve a normally prosaic measure allowing the transfers of old U.S. Navy ships to friendly navies.

Failure of the transfer bill means the Navy will now need to spend millions of dollars, U.S. ship repairers won’t get a hefty dose of foreign work, and allied countries won’t have the chance — at least for now — to avail themselves of surplus U.S. Navy warships.

At issue is the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012, a short, straightforward bill that lays out, by name and hull number, which ships the U.S. wants to transfer, what countries they would go to, and the terms of the transfer — loan, grant or sale. The measure long was a regular part of the annual defense authorization bills, but for the past few years has been submitted separately in order to give congressional foreign relations committees a chance to consider them.

This year’s proposal, to transfer 10 Oliver Hazard Perry-class to Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey, was sent to Capitol Hill on June 4 and referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. There it languished for nearly seven months until New Year’s Eve when — only because Congress was in session to debate the so-called fiscal cliff situation — it was brought to the floor of the House for debate and a vote.

In remarks Dec. 31 to introduce the bill, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chairman of the committee, noted concerns about the deterioration in Turkish-Israeli relations. But she also commented on Turkey’s support for coalition anti-piracy and NATO operations.

Each frigate transferred, Ros-Lehtinen said, will require $40 million to $80 million in repairs and refurbishment, money spent almost entirely in the U.S. Each ship also, she added, has “the potential for millions more in follow-on services, equipment, and training.”

Without the transfers, Ros-Lehtinen said, the alternative “is to place the decommissioned ships into cold storage or have them be sunk. Navy funding is required for both the storage and the sinking option.”

The cost to inactivate each ship, according the Naval Sea Systems Command, is about $1.1 million, with annual maintenance costs of about $30,000.

Rendering the ships environmentally safe for recycling or sinking also would bring a hefty price tag.

If the bill “Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012” was really stalled by the Hellenic American Leadership Council, to prevent Turkey being granted ships Turkish Navy does not need or want, this action have cost American tax payers $411 million to $811 millions.  I am not surprised at all. After all “Pyrrhic victory” is a Greek invention.


Further reading:

Greek Diaspora In USA Wants To Block Transfer Of Warships To Turkey

Greek Diaspora In USA Wants To Block Transfer Of Warships To Turkey (Part II)

Russian Warships In Piraeus

Here are two videos showing the arrival of Russian cruiser Moskva and destroyer Smetlivy in Piraeus, Greece on 21st December 2012.


Both videos have been made by: PireasPiraeus

Greek Diaspora In USA Wants To Block Transfer Of Warships To Turkey (Part II)

I would like to thank all of my reader who has taken the pains to show me that there are two different versions of the bill called “Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012”. This version is what you find when you search the Library of Congress. And this version is hat you find when you search the U.S. House of Representatives.

One of the version really mentions that two Perry class frigates may be granted to Turkey. Thus I was wrong to think that the “Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012” was not mentioning Turkey. But I still believe that the HALC’s reaction is an unfounded or mistaken impression.

First: The Naval Vessels Transfer Act of 2012 is still in a bill and must pass both the US House of Representatives and US Senate and signed by the President. This bill may not go that far and be killed or changed somewhere along the way. Thus the wording on the bill is not final yet.

Second: In previous “Naval Vessel Transfer Acts” of earlier years Turkey was granted one destroyer USS Cushing in 2005; one mine hunter USS Black Hawk in 2006 and 2007 and two frigates USS George Philip and USS Sides in 2007. And none of these grants were taken by Turkish Government. The fact that USA granting warships does not mean that Turkey actually needs them or mean that Turkey will take them. It only means that USA is granting them; nothing more nothing less.

Third and most important point is the Gabya (Perry) class frigates in Turkish Navy service are in a better shape than the Perry class frigates in US Navy service. All Gabya class ships in Turkey service have received and extensive combat management systems modernization (GENESIS) and four of them are receiving Mk41 VLS with ESSM missiles (a capability that USN Perry’s lack) and 3D radars. It would be a very expensive and very long modernization process to upgrade the two frigates to the level of other Gabya class ships, if  the bill should become and a law and should Turkey accept the grant. It would be very wise to spend the money in local production programs instead.

I can totally understand the reason for HALC’s reaction but I still find it very illusional.


Greek Diaspora In USA Wants To Block Transfer Of Warships To Turkey

The  Hellenic American Leadership Council is campaigning against the transfer of two decommissioned US Navy warships to Turkey. Here is what they say in their campaign:

The H.R. 6649: Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012 was introduced last week, and we need your help to stop it.

The act has been put on the House calendar and may be voted on as soon as tomorrowH.R. 6649 transfers U.S. naval vessels to Turkey. This bill is another example of the U.S. giving preferential treatment to Turkey on the issue of defense deals, despite Turkey’s increased belligerence towards Cyprus and Israel and its continued territorial disputes with Greece.

If this bill passes, Turkey will add two U.S.-made guided missile frigates to its arsenal: the USS HALYBURTON (FFG–40) and the USS THACH (FFG–43). Until Turkey commits to a policy of peace in the region and ceases its provocative behavior which is leading to instability in the Eastern Mediterranean, the U.S. should stop giving preferential treatment to Turkey. H.R. 6649 should not pass. Write to your representative the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and demand that they vote against this ill-advised bill.

The italics and bold emphasizes are original. If they succeed could it be a dangerous blow to Turkish Navy?

Let us read the bill Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012.

Anyone who can spot the words “Turkey”; “Turkish Navy”, “USS Halyburton”, “USS Thach” will get a special Xmas gift from me.

The HALC is short for hallucination?


H/T: Albi.

Commander Of US 6th Fleet Visits Greek Warships

VADM Pandolfe on board P-68 HS Danilos. Photo: Greek Naval Forces.

The commander of US 6th Fleet,  VADM Frank Craig Pandolfe, made an official visit to Greece in 28th and 29th March 2012.

According to official Greek Navy web site, VADM Pandolfe  visited the Fleet Headquarters where he met with Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Konstantinos Mazarakis Ainians, on 28th March 2012 Navy and boarded the submarine and S-120 HS Papanikolis and fast attack boat P-68 HS Danilos.

Yesterday, on 29th March 2012, VADM Frank Craig Pandolfe, visited the Navy General Staff, where he met with the Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Kosmas Christidis.


Beware Of Greeks Bearing Gifts

Since the Trojan War in ancient history, nations were advised to be suspicious of Greeks with gifts. Well this notion is one of the things we can call timeless or classic because what was true thousand years ago is still true today.

According to Cypriot website MAXHnews Live, Greece wants to give 3 of the recently decommissioned Votsis (La Combatante IIA or Type 148 ) class fast attack craft to Cyprus for EEZ surveillance and protection of natural gas reserves in the region. The web site claims to have obtained, a multi-page report prepared by a group of officers of the Cypriot Navy who went to Greece and examined the vessels.

The report leaves no doubt that the warships that Greece wants to donate to Cyprus are quite unsuitable from an operational perspective and simultaneously posing risks to the safety of the occupants.

Scrap vessels great and insurmountable problems are encountered vessels, problems that make them virtually useless for the needs of Cyprus and summarized below:

• The relatively small size and displacement, combined with the old technology have essentially make them unsuitable for the needs of the Republic, having a low range and limited weathering.
• Because of advanced age and limited operational capabilities, it becomes impracticable and extremely costly to any idea for further use.
• The marginal tonnage, prevents it from adding any additional weapon or sensor system.
• They have extensive corrosion to steel hulls and structural problems in the aluminum superstructure. The eventual recovery of these problems because of outdated technology vessels would, except for a very long period of immobility and export of main engines, axles, etc., which will be sky high costs.

• Has ceased long The construction of the main engine flying boats and there is now a serious problem of spare parts. Greece has for several years had resorted to the use of imitation rather than genuine parts, so the damage is very common and usually severe. Because it is an old design, they require frequent and extensive maintenance and even by specialized teams using special instrumental equipment.
• Given that Greece had decided long decommissioning, these boats are very fatigued, with large excess (more 50%) of hours, without the mediation of overhauls.

Business opportunities – Arming
• Some of the vessels flying missiles Harpoon (U.S. origin) and an Exocet. The type of missile Exocet, is older model than those available in the Republic arrays homing missiles land and with time have sufficient balance operational life.
• Both the guns (76mm and 40mm respectively) have extensive damage and bring about much limited remaining shots, with time.
• The radar is old with limited opportunities and lack of spare parts. It is characteristic that the manufacturer has now closed.

This must be a crappy situation for the Cypriots. I mean, if they cannot trust the Greeks, who on earth, is there left to trust? How about the French?

For further reading: Greek Navy Said Farewell to 3 Fast Attack Boats.

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