Mavi Balina 2016 Naval Exercise

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Romanian corvette, Contraamiral Horia Macellariu on her way to the Mavi Balina 2016 ASW exercise.

Yesterday, on 19th November 2016, anti submarine warfare exercise Mavi Balina (Blue Whale) has started. The exercise led by Turkish Navy will be held in Eastern Mediterranean.

The aim of the exercise is to increase the submarine warfare and ASW skill of the participating units. Turkish Navy is taking part with 4 frigates, one corvette and 5 submarines. Besides Turkey, Bulgaria, Canada, Pakistan, Romania, Spain and USA are also taking part in the exercise with warships.

The list of the participating units:

Number Name Type Country
41 BNS Verni Frigate Bulgaria
339 HMCS Charlottetown Frigate Canada
260 PNS Alamgir Frigate Pakistan
256 ROS Contraamiral Horia Macellariu Corvette Romania
A-15 ESPS Cantabria Tanker Spain
A-580 TCG Akar Tanker Turkey
F-245 TCG Oruçreis Corvette Turkey
F-492 TCG Gemlik Frigate Turkey
F-493 TCG Gelibolu Frigate Turkey
F-496 TCG Gökova Frigate Turkey
F-497 TCG Göksu Frigate Turkey
F-503 TCG Beykoz Corvette Turkey
P-344 TCG Rüzgar Missile boat Turkey
P-345 TCG Poyraz Missile boat Turkey
S-351 TCG Doğanay Submarine Turkey
S-352 TCG Dolunay Submarine Turkey
S-354 TCG Sakarya Submarine Turkey
S-358 TCG Çanakkale Submarine Turkey
S-359 TCG Burakreis Submarine Turkey
64 USS Carney Destroyer USA

Turkish Coast Guard Tows Future Qatari Coast Guard Boat

Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG-70 prepares to tow QC-711. Photo: Turkish Coast Guard.

Turkish Coast Guard announced that, they have helped a boat drifting off the Coast of Antalya.

This boat was QC-711 one of the ARES 75 type boats constructed by ARES shipyard for Qatari Coast Guard. According to the Turkish Coast Guard press release, QC-711 had a malfunction during the builders trials and lost all power. Thus Turkish Coast Guard boat TCSG-70 was dispatched to tow the distressed boat back to the shipyard.

TCG Gelibolu Meets Japanese Training Fleet

TCG Gelibolu, in formation with 151 JS Asagiri, 3518 JS Setoyuki and 3508 JS Kashima. Photo: Turkish Naval Forces.

Turkish Gabya class frigate TCG Gelibolu made a passing exercise in Eastern Mediterranean with the Japanese Training Fleet.

According to the official statement various maneuvers, training and drills were performed, personnel was exchanged between the ships. It is said the exercise has contributed to the development of interoperability and cooperation between Turkey and the Japanese Navy.

Beyaz Fırtına Naval Exercise

Turkish Navy concluded Beyaz Fırtına (White Storm) 2016 naval exercise on 28 May 2016.

Interestingly members of media were not invited to watch the exercise. Thus all photos available are made by Turkish Naval Forces.

12 frigates, 7 corvettes, 13 fast attack craft, 7 submarines, 1 amphibious ship, 12 auxiliaries, 1 inteligence gathering ship and 2 mine  warfare ships plus 5 aircraft and 15 helicopters took part in the exercise. 6 guided missiles, one torpedo and more than 4000 rounds from different guns  were fired against a number of targets. The ex frigate TCG Zafer and the ex patrol boat TCG AB-24 were sunk. You can read the analysis of TCG Zafer’s sinking here. There are no photos from the sinking of TCG AB-24. Thus it is not possible to identify the type of the ammunition used against her.

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F-497 TCG Göksu fires a RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM)

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F-491 TCG Giresun fires a RIM-66 Standart Missile 1. (SM-1)

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A S-70B Seahawk helicopter fires an AGM-114K Hellfire II missile.

Below is the list some of the ships took part in the exercise:

Number Name Type
A-573 Binbaşı Saadettin Gürcan Tanker
A-580 Akar Tanker
F-243 Yıldırım Frigate
F-246 Salihreis Frigate
F-247 Kemalreis Frigate
F-491 Giresun Frigate
F-492 Göksu Frigate
F-500 Bozcada Corvette
F-511 Heybeliada Corvette
F-512 Büyükada Corvette
M-270 Akçay Mine hunter
P-330 Kılıç Fast attack craft
P-332 Mızrak Fast attack craft
P-340 Doğan Fast attack craft
P-344 Rüzgar Fast attack craft
P-345 Poyraz Fast attack craft
P-346 Gurbet Fast attack craft
P-347 Fırtına Fast attack craft
P-349 Karayel Fast attack craft
S-356 Anafartalar Submarine

The Sinking Of Ex TCG Zafer

Turkish Navy concluded Beyaz Fırtına (White Storm) 2016 Naval exercise on 28 May 2016. During this exercise the hull of the decommissioned Knox class frigate ex USS Thomas C. Hart and ex TCG Zafer was used as a target. The torpedo is believed to be DM2A4

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Ex TCG Zafer being towed in Çanakkale Strait on 30 April 2016. Photo: Murad Sezer. I thought that the she was being towed to the ship breakers in Aliağa. But her fate was different.

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These are official Turkish Navy photos taken from a helicopter during the sinking of ex- TCG Zafer. The shape of the hull is not much different compared to the photo taken in Çanakkale. This indicates that she was not hit by any other weapons or missiles. This photo shows the initial explosion of a torpedo warhead under the keel of the ship. The force of the explosion lifts the ship up.

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The shock wave of the detonation travels through the hull of the ship creating further damage. The ship is broken in two and is lost.

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The fracture line going from port to the starboard side of the ship can be seen just below the funnel.

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Water ingress through the fracture, separates the two halves and they begin to sink.

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It’s time to say goodby to a ship that faithfully served both U.S and Turkish Navies.

An IED Kills A Turkish Coast Guard Sailor

The yellow circle shows the approximate location of the incident. Syrian border in 10 nautical miles to south.

The yellow circle shows the approximate location of the incident. Syrian border in 10 nautical miles to south.

A Turkish Coast Guard sailor died and a fisherman wounded when a life raft with two bodies on it exploded. The incident happened off the coast of Samandağ in Hatay province, in the morning of 22nd May 2016.

According to news reports, Ali Doğru, a local fisher, sighted a life raft with 2 dead persons, drifting 3 kilometers off the coast of Samandağ and informed the coast guard. One of the boats stationed in Çevlik, Samandağ was dispatched to investigate the incident. Çevlik is the southernmost Coast Guard base a few nautical miles away from Syrian border.

The explosion happened as the coast guard vessel tried to tow life raft. The sailor Alper Al, died and the fisher Ali Doğru was injured. The divers later brought some pieces of the boat and some body parts from the sea floor.

The details of the incident is not enough to answer all the questions. It is not clear if it was a targeted attack against Turkish Coast Guard or not.

Previously boats rigged with explosives were used in suicide attacks against ships. These attacks such the one against USS Cole or M/T Limburg were intended attacks with a live driver bringing the boat to its determined target. Since the boat was drifting it is difficult to determine the intended target of this attack. Drifting mines were used  to disrupt sea traffic in certain areas during war times, but I have not heard about drifting boats rigged with explosives. If one of the fighting parties in Syria, specially rigged the boat with an IED intending hurting the rescuers, this might be a first.

Dynamic Manta 2016 Has Started

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Turkey is participating to the DYMA 2016 with one CN-235 ASW plane, the submarine TCG Dolunay and a

One of the largest anti submarine warfare exercises organised by NATO has started to-day off the coast of Sicily.Exercise Dynamic Manta 2016 will be held in Central Mediterranean where the ports and airbases on the island will host ships, submarines and air planes. The exercise will end of 4th March 2016.

Submarines from France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, under the control of NATO Submarine Command (COMSUBNATO), will join 4 surface ships from France, Italy and Spain. Host nation Italy is providing support from the Augusta Naval Base, Catania Harbour and the Sigonella Air Base in Catania.

To support the simulated multi-threat environment, 9 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and Helicopters from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States will operate from Sigonella Air Base under the control of personnel from NATO Maritime Air Command (COMMARAIRNATO).

The aim of this exercise is to provide all participants with complex and challenging warfare training to enhance their interoperability and proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills, with due regard to safety.
NATO has not published a list of participants yet but I was able to find the names of the following units:

Number Name Type Country
D-642 FS Montcalm Frigate France
A-608 FS Var Tanker France
S-352 TCG Dolunay Submarine Turkey
S-121 HS Pipinos Submarine Greece
S-73 SPS Mistral Submarine Spain
F-81 SPS Santa Maria Frigate Spain

 

More Information About Operation Albatros

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TCSG Umut towing M/V Joudi. Photo: Turkish Coast Guard

The ships, taking part in Operation Albatos, the seizure of the Bolivian flagged cargo ship M/V Joudi have returned to Aksaz Naval Base.

More details about the Operation Albatros has emerged.The 13600 kilogram marijuana with a street value of 250 million USD was loaded to the ship in Tartus in Syria. All ports in Syria are controlled by the Mr Assad’s regime.

On 2 January 2015 the ship was spotted by a Turkish Coast Guard plane and was tracked. In the mean time the off shore patrol vessels TCSG Yaşam and TCSG Umut left their ports and proceeded to intercept the ship. During the transit of these cutters Turkey contacted Bolivia the flag state of the ship according to United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic In Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Subtances, article 17. After Bolivia has granted Turkey the right for the seizure.

On 5 January 2015 Turkish cutters closed on the target and demanded the cargo ship to stop allowed to be boarded. When M/V Joudi did not cooperated she found herself at the receiving end of the cutters powerful water cannon. But this was not enough to stop the ship. The vessel boarding search and seizure team had to fast rope to the ship.

After the ship was totally under control, narcotic detection dogs were brought on board. The stash was found inside one of the containers in the cargo bay.

This video shows the breefing on board of TCSG Yaşam today by the Commander of Turkish Coast Guard Rear Admiral Hakan Üstem:

This video is a complation of videos taken by the coast guard crew taken part in the operation:

 

Turkish Coast Guard Intercepts Cargo Ship With Drugs On Board

Operation Albatros.

Operation Albatros. The red line is the track of TCSG Umut. The blue line shows the route of TCSG Yaşam. The green line is the track of M/V Joudi.

On 5 January 2015, Turkish Coast Guard intercepted a Bolivian flagged vessel in international waters off Tobruk, Libya. The vessel was varying 13 tons of cannabis.

The seizure took place in international waters 55 nautical miles from Tobruk and 140 nautical miles from Create.

The target M/V Joudi was intercepted by two Turkish Coast Guard OPV’s TCSG Yaşam and TCSG Umut. TCSG Yaşam departed from Mersin and TCSG Umut departed from Marmaris. A maritime patrol plane from Turkish Coast Guard shadowed M/V Jourdi. The vessel boarding search and seizure team was supported by two narcotic detection dogs.

When M/V Jourdi departed from Syria, international drug traffic enforcement authorities were tipped of about the 13 tons of narcotics on board. Turkish Coast Guard started to track the ship on 3 January 2015.

In the mean time Turkey contacted the flag nation of the vessel, Bolivia and received a permission for the seizure operation.

Currently the captured vessels is under the command of Turkish Coast Guard and is heading to Turkey. although her exact destination is not known at the moment it is safe to assume that she is heading to Aksaz Naval Base in Marmaris; the nearest Turkish naval base.

According to Turkish jurisdiction Turkish Coast Guard is the maritime law enforcement agency and has the right to detain suspects.  So they are correct force to conduct such operation but just a couple of years ago such a bust by Turkish Coast Guard was not possible since then they did not have any vessel with that range. The commissioning Dost class off shore patrol vessels dramatically increased operational area of our coast guard.

General Hulusi Akar Visits TCG Büyükada

Photo: Official Turkish Armed Forces Photo

Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Akar, on Board of TCG Büyükada, saluting TCG Heybeliada. Photo: Official Turkish Armed Forces Photo

The Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Hulusi Akar visited the Ada class corvette TCG Büyükada on 29 December 2015.

According to the Turkish General Staff website General Akar visited TCG Büyükada while she was deployed for Operation Mediterranean Shield.

Operation Mediterranean Shield initiated by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean on 1 April 2006 was executed to:
Provide security of oil transportation in Ceyhan, terminal area for oil, and therefore contribute to the security of global energy,
Demonstrate presence against possible risks and threats existing in the eastern Mediterranean and disencourage it,
Support initiatives by NATO for maritime security in the region,
Show presence through possible maritime domain,

This visit didn’t receive the attention it deserved, from the Turkish media.

Since Turkey shoot down a Russian bomber when it violated Turkish airspace, the tensions in that part of the Mediterranean Sea are high.

The photo above shows that both Ada class corvettes TCG Heybeliada and TCG Büyükada are stationed in Eastern Mediterranean. The Ada class ships are the youngest combat ships in Turkish Fleet. They have very low radar cross sections, and advanced electronic support systems. These ships are the most suitable warships in our service to conduct shadowing operations without been seen and perform flag showing.

The existence of these capable warships in this high tension area clearly indicates the commitment of Turkish Navy.

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