Turkish Parliament Extended The Anti-Piracy Mission Of Turkish Navy

 Today, Turkish Parliament accepted a submitted motion to extend the presence of Turkish Navy in Gulf Of Aden for one year.

In 2009, Turkish Parliament gave the government the power to send units from Turkish Navy to Gulf Of Aden and adjacent waters, in order to participate the multinational efforts of anti-piracy.

The as duration of this permission is limited to one year each year it has to be extended.The current mandate will en on 10th February 2014.

Turkish warship are  tasked with:

  • Performing reconnaissance and patrol duties,
  • Calling on ships suspected of piracy/ armed robbery, on the radio, boarding them if their flag country approves and interfering in accordance with the international law if the ship is not showing any flag,
  • Escorting and protecting merchant ships,
  • Helping merchant ships under attack of pirates/sea robbers,
  • Intervening, stopping, neutralizing, and confiscating any vessels used by pirates/sea robbers, and using appropriate force if necessary,
  • Arresting and detaining pirates/sea robbers and armed persons in these vessels,
  • Accepting the representatives of the countries that will prosecute pirates/ armed robbers on board, for the preparations of judicial proceedings, according to the UN resolution 1851.
  • Arresting and detaining, pirates/armed robbers on board until they are being handed over to the countries that will prosecute them,
  • Turning in, the suspects of pirates/sea robbers with the exception of the case that these are Turkish citizens, to the authorities the nation where the pirates/sea robbers will be prosecuted,
  • Executing all kinds of policing duties including interrogation, collecting evidence.

Romanian Frigate Returns From Pirate Hunting While Ukraine Plans To Send One

The Romanian frigate F-221 ROS Regele Ferdinand will be returning home shortly. She left Romania in mid September and sailed the seas off the coast of Somalia as a part of EU’s anti piracy operation Atalanta.

The crew from Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand are proud to be sailing home to their base port of Constanta after completing Romania’s first counter piracy operation as part of the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia, Operation Atalanta.

ROS Regele Ferdinand joined EU NAVFOR at the beginning of October and after sailing from Djibouti on 3 October, the warship commenced counter-piracy patrols in the internationally recommended transit corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden.  She also escorted a World Food Programme (WFP) ship along the Somali Coast to ensure much-needed food arrived safely in to Somalia to help feed her people.

During her time with EU NAVFOR, the warship also conducted seven ‘friendly approach’ missions. Friendly approaches are conducted to gather intelligence by speaking with fishing communities and trading vessels in the area of operations, and to help make masters and crews aware of Best Management Practices (BMP) for protection against pirates in the region.

In the meantime Ukraine is planing to send their frigate Getman Sagaidachny to Gulf Of Aden to take part in the anti-piracy operations in the region.

It is planned to deploy Ukrainian frigate Getman Sagaidachny to East African coast in order to fight sea piracy, reports Ukrainian Navy Press Center referring to the Navy Commander Yury Ilyin.

The commander stressed that Ukrainian Navy would resume its presence in certain zones of the Black and the Mediterranean seas. In particular, it is planned that frigate Getman Sagaidachny with a helicopter and a special-task unit aboard will be deployed near the Horn of Africa as a part of the international anti-piracy campaign, says the press-release.
Yury Ilyin said at the Navy Council session that the year of 2012 was a breakthrough in arms recovery. In the current year, financing of ship repair works was five times as large as in previous years.
Presently, we continue this work, but even now one can say with confidence that early in 2013 the fleet’s core will comprise 11 warships fully ready for combat use, emphasized the Navy commander. He added that Ukrainian Navy would also have 10 aircraft and 31 supply vessels.

It is not clear to which anti piracy task force the Ukraine frigate will join.

Turkey Will Command CTF-151 For The Fourth Time

Turkish Navy announced that it will take the helm of Combined Task Force-151 between 19 September and 13 December 2012. The Turkish frigate F-492 TCG Gemlik will act as the flagship.

There will be a hand-over ceremony on board of the current DDH-978 ROKS Wang Geon on 19th September 2012 in Manama, Bahrain.

Previously Turkish Navy led the CTF-151:

  • May – August 2009
  • September – December 2010
  • September – December 2011

Romanian Frigate Regele Ferdinand Departed To Join Atalanta

F-221 Regele Ferdinand leaving Romania. Photo: Resboiu.ro

The Romanian frigate F-221 Regele Ferdinand left Constanta to join the EU anti piracy task force Atalanta.

According to Romanian website Resboiu.ro this is the first participation of Romanian ships in anti-piracy operations.

Last year the ship participated under NATO command in the Mediterranean Sea in Operation Active Endeavour and in  Operation Unified Protector against Libya.

Also for the first time a frigate to participate in an international mission with Puma helicopter aboard Naval craft.
The ship passed through the Turkish Straits on 14th September 2012.

M/V Namrun Attacked By Pirates

Let me warn you that this is not a recent news story.

Four days ago on 27th June 2012, the Turkish owned and Maltese flagged Supramax bulk carrier M/V Namrun was attacked by pirates as she was passing through the Gulf Of Aden. She was  near position 14:22 N – 054:38 E, approximately 110 nm north of Socotra Island. According to a Turkish maritime web site, the security team on board of M/V Namrun returned fire as the pirates attacked with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades, killing 3 of the pirates.

However there are other stories on internet about the same incident which do not mention any loss of life.

After a two day hunt in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, NATO’s flagship HNLMS Evertsen boarded a pirated dhow on June 29 and released seven hijacked Indian and Bangladeshi crew members. The Omani flagged dhow Nebarkad had been hijacked on 20th June off the coast of Oman, and was used by the pirates to attack merchant vessels in the Arabian Sea.

The two day operation was the conclusion of a longer period in which a group of suspected pirates used dhows to conduct attacks on merchant vessels throughout the Arabian Sea. On 27th June an alarm call came in from the MV Namrun a Maltese flagged bulk carrier. The captain stated that an unknown dhow had attempted to attack it and shots were fired.

After swift consultation with the other maritime forces, including the EU, in the operating area the commander of NATO’s Task Force, Commodore Ben Bekkering, dispatched the Evertsen.

The warship covered almost 300 nautical miles in 10 hours to the area north-east of Socotra. Although known positions seemed to indicate the dhow was heading south toward for Somalia, the bad weather caused by strong monsoon winds and a very rough sea, forced her back.

After an intensive search, aided by a Japanese Maritime Patrol Aircraft, the Lynx helicopter of Evertsen detected the dhow on Thursday afternoon, as it entered the Yemeni territorial waters. At first light this morning as the dhow headed south towards Somalia HNLMS Evertsen approached the dhow for a boarding. The dhow initially attempted to evade at speed. As the boarding team approached, the hijacked crew jumped overboard. While they were brought to safety, the dhow was secured by Dutch marines who detained seven suspected pirates.

Regardless to which version of the events you want to believe, it was a close call for the ship and her crew.

NATO Says The Piracy In Gulf Of Aden Is At The Lowest Level Since 2009

Before SNMG-2 returned to the Mediterranean the command of the Operation Ocean Shield, NATO’s counter piracy mission was handed over to the SNMG-1. The handover ceremony was done in Jeddah Saudi Arabia. This is a surprise as I did not know that Saudi Arabia supported the NATO operations, even covertly.

Commodore Ben Bekkering (Royal Netherlands Navy), assumed command of Operation Ocean Shield, NATO‟s counter piracy mission from Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun (Turkish Navy) in the port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

As incoming Commander, Commodore Ben Bekkering stressed the need to remain vigilant. “On Admiral Tosun‟s six-month watch, the success rate of pirates has seen a sharp decline. Pirates find it increasingly difficult to deploy from the coast and hunt at sea. But the many incidents over the last few months, including attacks and hijackings, make it absolutely clear that we can’t let our guard down. I see it as my absolute task to ensure the trend continues and engage with all partners in the region to maximize our combined effect.”

Onboard his flagship Rear Admiral Tosun summarized his six months in command, “Ocean Shield has been a highly satisfying and demanding deployment for me. During my tenure, the main success has been the significant reduction in successful piracy actions which are now at their lowest level since 2009. The high level of coordination established between the counter piracy actors has undoubtedly played a considerable part in contributing to the decline in piracy. I believe that powerful and resolute units of NATO‟s Counter Piracy Task Force, under the command of Commodore Bekkering will continue to fight against piracy with the same enthusiasm during the next six-month period”

Commodore Ben Bekkering’s flagship is F-805 HNLMS Evertsen. And as of 15th June 2012, Turkey will handover the command of SNMG-2 to Germany.

I have no statistics about the recent piracy activity in the region but if the piracy actions are now at their lowest level since 2009 as claimed by the admirals then does this means there is a light at the end of the tunnel or this just meager times of the pirates?


TCG Giresun Catches Seven Pirates

This is not a new story. Sorry for the delay.

On 17th March 2012, the Turkish frigate F-491 TCG Giresun caught 7 pirates in a skiff of the coast of Somalia.

At first, the skiff was intercepted by the on board helicopter of the frigate 60 nautical miles south of Yemeni coast just inside the IRTC. When the frigate reached the skiff, the special forces teams boarded the skiff and neutralized  7 pirates. The five AK-47 infantry rifles, one RPG-7 rocket launcher, ammunition and other piracy paraphernalia such as hooks, ladders, extra fuel barrels, GPS devices and mobile phones found on the skiff were sized.

TCG Giresun is the Turkish flagship of NATO’s  Standing Maritime Group 2 which is currently conducting Operation Ocean Shield.

Below are official photos from Turkish General Staff web site:

Greek Frigate HS Hydra Is Returning Home Early

HS Hydra in Bosphorus. An old photo from 1998. She is coming home early from the party.

While the families of the crew of the Greek frigate F-452 HS Hydra celebrate, her early return from Horn of Africa, this shows the dire fiscal situation the Greek armed forces are facing.

In early February, HS Hydra was send by Greek Navy to participate in the Operation Atalanta, the anti-piracy operation of EU off the coast of Somalia. She was supposed to operate in the area till 4th April, but she is returning to Greece at the moment, one month earlier than planned. She also will not take part in Atalanta during the second half of the year, according to the Greek Defense Ministry.

As, it costs  Greece 2.5 million euros a month to operate a frigate off the coast of Somalia, the early return and the cancellation of the second trip will save 7.5 million euros from the Greek tax payers money.

Two years ago Bulgarian Navy toyed with the idea of sending a frigate to Gulf of Aden to combat piracy but later they had to give up upon that idea as the Bulgarian Government was not able to create the necessary funding for the operation.

It is definitely not a cheap thing, to station a warship away from homeland for extended periods of time as both Greece and Bulgaria learned by the hard way.




Greece Sends A Frigate To EUNAVFOR

HS Hydra in Bosphorus. An old photo from 1998.

HS Hydra in Bosphorus. An old photo from 1998

HS Hydra in Bosphorus. An old photo from 1998.

HS Hydra in Bosphorus. An old photo from 1998.

HS Hydra in Bosphorus. An old photo from 1998

HS Hydra in Bosphorus. An old photo from 1998

The Greek Navy deployed the MEKO 200HN class frigate F-452 HS Hydra for the European Union Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atalanta. She has arrived to her Area of Operation two days ago.

Following passage south through the Red Sea, the HS HYDRA will join the multi-national EU NAVFOR off the Horn of Africa on 4 February 2012.

HS HYDRA is a MEKO 200HN type multiple role frigate which has been in the service of the Hellenic Navy since March 1992. She has a displacement of 3,350 tons, a crew of 189 and carries an SH-70 Sea Hawk helicopter.

The Greek ship joins EU NAVFOR to protect merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Program, other vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean as well as operations to deter and disrupt piracy while monitoring fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.

TCG Giresun Hosts The Commander Of CTF-151

The commander of two counter piracy task forces CTF-151 and TF-508 (NATO SNMG-2) met to discuss joint operations and coordination between these two task forces.

Currently Turkish Navy has the command on the SNMG-2. More over  Turkish Navy did led the CTF-151 twice 5 May -13 August 2009 and 1 September -29 November 2010.

Commodore Aage Buur Jensen Danish Royal Navy, Commander, Combined Task Force 151 (counter piracy) met with his NATO colleague, Rear Admiral Siman A. Tosun, Commander, Task Force 508, during counter-piracy patrols at sea.

 The meeting took place on board the Turkish frigate F-491 TCG Giresun on 20th January 2012. 

The two task force commanders discussed the need for continuing mutual assistance and resource allocation, as well as sharing knowledge and experience, in order to augment the international counter-piracy effort.

CTF 151 is currently embarked on USS HALSEY which recently assumed the role of the CTF 151 flagship for Commodore Aage Buur Jensen, Royal Danish Navy and his multi-national CTF 151 command staff Jan. 13. CTF 151 transferred command from the Pakistani Navy who was stationed aboard the USS KIDD (DDG 100).

CTF 151 is one of three Task Forces assigned to Combined Maritime Forces. Established in February 2002 the Task Force’s key mission is to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin , Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. It protects and defends the legitimate use of the ocean by fisherman and merchants and stands ready to assist any mariner in distress.

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