>Black Sea Partnership Exercise 2009 Part-2

>Some of the ships that anticipated in the Black Sea Partnership Exercise 2009 are visiting İstanbul. They have arrived on 2 May and will leave on 4 May.

Among the participants the following ships are in İstanbul:

  • F-244 TCG Barbaros, MEKO 200 TN2A class frigate, from Turkish Navy,
  • F-495 TCG Gediz, Perry class frigate, from Turkish Navy,
  • 260 Admiral Petre Barbuneanu, Tetal class corvette, from Romanian Navy,
  • 071 RFS Suzdalets, Grisha class frigate, from Russian Navy,
  • P-24 Sokhumi, MRTP 33 class, large patrol craft, from Georgian Navy.

Personally for me it is interesting to see that a Georgian and a Russian warship are in the same fleet at a time when relations between Russia, Georgia and NATO are at new low point.

The weather was fine so I was able to take some good photos of these ships

P-24 Sokhumi was build by Yonca-Onuk shipyard in Turkey and was exported to Georgia in 2008. Similar to MRTP 33 class, used by Turkish Coast Guard. This vessel has a ASELSAN STAMP, stabilized gun platform.

260 Admiral Petre Barbuneanu, Tetal class corvette, a unique Romanian design with a ASW emphasise.

071 RFS Suzdalets, Grisha class frigate, a dedicated ASW ship. She is showing her age.

F-244 TCG Barbaros, MEKO 200 TN2A class frigate. Her Mk29 SAM launcher will be replaced by Mk41 VLS in the near future. This will be the first major weapon system upgrade, performed on a MEKO warship. It will be a test for the modularity of the MEKO design.

F-495 TCG Gediz, Perry class frigate, she will receive MK41 VLS too.

This patrol vessel, SG-65 of Turkish Coast Guard was not a participant of the Black Sea Partnership Exercise. She was patrolling around the visiting ship and providing security.

>Black Sea Partnership Exercise 2009

>The exercise has started on 29 April in Karadeniz Ereğlisi and will end on May 4 in İstanbul.

Turkey, Russia, Romania and Georgia are participating in this military exercise, the goal of which is to boost cooperation and mutual training among the Black Sea littoral states and support partnership for peace activities.

As the exercise will end in İstanbul, I will be reporting more about the participating forces first hand.

>More on Operation Black Sea Harmony

>The security in the Black Sea is becoming more important each day as Black Sea becomes one of the most significant hubs for the Caspian Basin and Central Asian oil. Pumping the oil to the terminals at Black Sea is the easiest and cheapest way of exportation.

On daily basis approximately 300 merchant ships are underway in Black Sea. In 2005 Black Sea waters was plied by 66 thousand merchant ships of 85 different nations carrying more than half a billion tons of cargo. In the last 5 years, the number of containers handled in Black Sea ports has tripled.

In 2008 the number of ships crossed Turkish Straits was 150 ships per day, compared to 65 ships in 2001. The amount of Black Sea borne petroleum products carried over the Turkish Straits has reached to 145 million ton level. In other words, 3 million barrel petroleum products are carried to the global markets with 30 tankers each day. In 2008 55.000 merchant ships of 102 different countries passed through the Turkish Straits.

Operation Black Sea Harmony, inspired by the NATO’s standing naval operations, is aimed at to provide maritime security in the Black Sea through presence operations along the SLOCS involving shadowing, trailing, and interdiction. OBSH was launched by Turkish Navy on 1 March 2004.

It has become affiliated with the NATO-led Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean regarding information and intelligence sharing as well as suspect vessel shadowing and interdiction.

BSH consists of regular patrols with frigates and patrol boats in pre-defined surveillance areas in the Black sea. Helicopters, submarines, maritime patrol aircraft, and the coast guard vessels assist this activity.

Turkish Navy aims at to evolve the Operation Black Sea Harmony that has started as a national operation into a multinational operation, while continuing its NATO-OAE affiliated status and to transfer its missions to BLACKSEAFOR.

In March 2005, Ukraine became the first country to announce formally its intention to participate in OBSH. The Russian Federation has followed suit and is a member since September 2006. Yesterday Romania joined the opration as well.

According to the statistics of 2004 and 2005, Operation Black Sea Harmony has detected approximately 96.000 ships and identified 93 percent of them. Boarding/search and in-port visits were conducted by Turkish Coast Guard in cooperation with other state agencies. Until today more than 250 in-port visits and search operations have been conducted for suspicious ships.

>Romania joins Operation Black Sea Harmony

>Today with a ceremony a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between Turkish and Romanian navies. Thus Romania becomes the third Black Sea country after Russia and Ukraine to join the Operation Black Sea Harmony (OBSH).

The Commander of Romanian Naval Forces, Admiral Danila (Left) signed the MoA on behalf of his country. Admiral Ataç signed on behalf of Turkey.

Admiral Ataç mentioned in his speech, the increasing importance of sea trade for Romania. He expressed that the volume of container handled in Constanta harbor increased 10 times in the last eight years.

With Romanian naval forces joining, the OBSH will get a fresh breeze and the naval securty in the Black Sea will be tighter.

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