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Back From Vacation

I have been silent for the last couple weeks. I was on vacation. And returned with the following photos:

Fast tanker RFA Wave Ruler

Cable laying ship USS Zeus.

Type 23 class frigate, HMS Montrose

Survey vessel HMS Scott. Ship’s emblem on her funnel, tells us where she spends most of her time.

Type-23 frigate HMS Somerset.

Trafalgar class submarine Ex- HMS Torbay being decommissioned, while HMS Bulwark in the background being deactivated.

HMS Albion being re-activated to replace HMS Bulwark.

Another Trafalgar class submarine ex- HMS Triumph being deactivated.

Type-23 class frigate HMS Argyll.

The former flagship of Royal Navy HMS Ocean.

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Chinese Warships Visited Istanbul

Type 054A frigate 532 Jingzhou (left) and Type 052C destroyer 150 Changchun docked to Istanbul Sarayburnu quay.

Type 093 replenishment tanker 890 Chaohu

Between 18 and 21 July 2017 a task force of 3 Chinese warship made a visit to Istanbul

Task Group 150 consisting of Type 052C destroyer 150 Changchun, Type 054A frigate 532 Jingzhou and Type 093 replenishment tanker 890 Chaohu have left China on 23 April 2017, on the 68th anniversary of the founding of the PLAN, for a goodwill voyage to some 20 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania.

The task force headed by Admiral Miao Hua were welcomed by Chinese Military Attaché to Ankara Zheng Qinli, Consul General to Istanbul Qian Bo and a group of Chinese citizens.

This year’s visit was very similar to the previous PLAN visit to Istanbul in 2012 and 2015. In both cases the PLAN fleet was made of one destroyer, one frigate and one replenishment ship.

In 2012 and in 2015 however the destroyer and the frigate have passed through the Bosphorus and entered the Black Sea. This year the ships stayed in Istanbul and have not transit through the Strait northbound. The PLAN task force spend 4 days in Istanbul and left for the Mediterranean.

Here are some close up photos of the destroyer Changhun:

And here are some close up photos of the frigate Jingzhou:

A Submarine Sighted

Type 209/1400 class submarine TCG Preveze passing southbound through Bosphorus

On 25 July 2017, a Turkish Navy, Preveze or Gür class submarine was sighted passing through Bosphorus.

Since Turkish Navy stopped painting the pennant number of the submarines on their hulls, it is impossible to identify each individual submarine anymore. While this new painting scheme helps the submarines to blend and prevents IR/FLIR/LLTV using trackers or electro-optic directors any high contrast target, it makes ship spotting difficult.

Last week TCG Preveze took part in naval exercise Breeze in Bulgaria while TCG Batıray took part in naval exercise Sea Breeze 2017 in Ukraine.

Since this is the first Preveze or Gür class submarine returning from the Black Sea and the only one recently reported to be deployed in the region, I think it is safe to say that this submarine is S-353 TCG Preveze.

The First And Final Passage Of Ex USS Duncan Through Bosphorus

3 navy tugs are pulling the hull of ex USS Duncan against the current towards Black Sea. Just a shell of the former frigate is left.

The effects of cannibalization can be better seen in this photo.

Perry class frigate USS Duncan was the first ship of this class to be decommissioned active service. She was striken from US Navy service on 5 January 1998. In May 1999 she was sold to Turkish Navy. She has never entered in to service therefore she doesn’t have a Turkish name. She was used as spare part source, to keep other ship working. This practice is lovingly called cannibalization. And you can see the effects of it on the hull of USS Duncan in above photos.

TCG İnebolu, TCG Özgür and TCG Darıca, three Turkish Navy tugs, towed the hull of ex USS Duncan through Istanbul northbound, on 22 March 2017. Since there are no scrap yards along the Black Sea coast of Turkey, this journey is not going to end at one scrapyard.

The markings on the hull of the former frigate are consistent with a live firing test. A few days after the passage of ex USS Duncan it was announced that she was going to be used as a target during the Deniz Yıldızı annual naval exercise.

Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group Two In Istanbul

The Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group Two arrived in Istanbul on 24 March 2017. The task group had made her northbound passage through the city 20 days before.

During this 20 days the task force first took part in Poseidon 2017. The mine warfare exercise was held between 5 and 15 March 2017.

After the completion of the exercise the task force sailed to Odessa, Ukraine. There the ship were open to public and received thousands of visitors during their stay there.

One day short of their allowance by the Montreux Convention the Task force sailed southbound through Istanbul Strait and docked in Istanbul port for a well-earned post visit.

18 March 2017 Naval Parade

On 18th March 2017, to commemorate the Turkish Victory over the Allied Armada 102 years ago a naval parade was held in Çanakkale.

10 ships two Ada class corvettes, 6 fast attack craft and 2 patrol boats took part in this years parade which was followed by a beautiful show of Turkish Air Force’s air demonstration team Turkish Stars.

The ships arrived in three rows. The east row was made of TCG Tufan, TCG Zıpkın and TCG Yıldız. The main row consisted of TCG Büyükada, TCG Heybeliada, TCG Türkeli and TCG Karabiga, all locally made warships. The west row had TCG Kılıç, TCG Mızrak and TCG Martı.

 

Turkish Navy fleet approaches the Çanakkale Martyrs’ Memorial, the largest Turkish military graveyard in the area.

TCG Büyükada was the lead ship.

TCG Heybeliada was following TCG Büyükada.

TCG Kılıç

TCG Mızrak

TCG Tufan

TCG Zıpkın

TCG Martı

TCG Türkeli

TCG Yıldız with TCG Karabiga in foreground.

The parade fleet as it was exiting Çanakkale Strait.

The show of Turkish Stars was breath-taking even for a ship spotter.

Click here for previous naval parades.

Russian Submarine Stary Oskol Passed Through Bosphorus

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Russian submarine Stary Oskol passing through Istanbul.

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Russian submarine was escorted by Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG-88 and trailed by Turkish ASW boat P-1207 TCG Tekirdağ during the submarines passage through Istanbul. Frigate TCG Yıldırım was waiting for the submarine at the northern entrance of the Strait.

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Stary Oskol is the third improved Kilo class submarine assigned to the Black Sea Fleet.

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On 29 June 2016, the improved Kilo submarine of the Black Sea Fleet, Stary Oskol made her inaugural passage through Istanbul Strait.
She is the third of a four Varshavyanka submarines being build for the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The first pair of these submarines, Novorossiysk and Rostov-na-Donu are already been commissioned.

With the arrival of this boat, the number of submarines in Russian Black Sea Fleet has increased to four: the Kilo class Alrosa and the impreoved Kilo (Varshavyanka) class Novorossiysk, Rostav-na-Donu and Stary Oskol.

During her passage through Istanbul Strait, the submarine was escorted by Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG-88 and trailed by anti submarine warfare patrol boat TCG Tekirdağ. Turkish frigate TCG Yıldırım was waiting for her at the northern enterance of the Istanbul Strait.

18th March 2016 Naval Parade

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TCG Nusret, the replica of the Ottoman mine layer Nusret. She took part in the naval parade too. She is a commissioned ship in Turkish Navy.

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TCG Amasra, having the Commodore on board, formed the lead section of the parade with TCG Nusret and TCG Akçakoca.

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TCG Akçakoca

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TCG Anafartalar, was one of the two submarines in the parade.

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TCG Gür

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TCG Salihreis, led the frigates and corvettes section.

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TCG Göksu

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TCG Büyükada.

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TCG Bartın

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TCG Mızrak, led the patrol boat section of the parade.

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TCG Atak

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TCG Tuzla

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TCG Karabiga

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TCSG-94. She and her sister TCSG-91 were part of the patrol boat section.

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TCSG-91

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TCG Akçay. She was open to public visit.

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TCG Oruçreis. Like the mine hunter TCG Akçay she was too open for public visit. It must be a nice diversification from SNMG-2 duties in Northern Aegean.

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This is one of the several coast guard boats, that provided close security during the ceremonies.

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TCSG-23 was another coast guard boat that provided close security during the naval parade.

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TCB-70 was the lead helicopter of the 3 units strong naval aviation display.

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TCB-65

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TCB-59

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Turkish Coast Guard’s aviation branch send a 3 helicopter strong detachment for the commemorations. This is TCGS-504

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TCSG-505

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TCSG-502

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Turkish Stars, the air display team of Turkish Airforce showed their skills. The display was not visible from where I was standing. But I have managed to take a photo one of the planes as they were leaving.

Like in previous years, on 18th March 2016, Turkish Navy organised a Naval Parade in Çanakkale Strait to commemorate Turkish Victory over the Allied Armada 101 years ago.

6 Navy and Coast Guard helicopters, 3 maritime patrol planes and 6 Army helicopters took part in a fly over. And the Turkish Stars, the aerobatics demonstration team of the Turkish Air Force made a display. The focal point of the commemorations was the Çanakkale Martyrs’ Memorial, was off the limit for me. But I was never the less able to take photos of the warships taking part in the parade, Coast Guard Boats, providing security and ships that were open for public.

Where An Epoch Lies

Nusret

“Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground, You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies.”

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This is the replica of the Ottoman mine layer Nusrat. Her mines made a history. This small ship with her few mines had an impart on the history beyond her size.

One hundred and one years ago the idyllic town of Çanakkale was the center of a very fierce and bloody fighting, which shaped the directly the future of Turkey, which became a modern, secular state after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

A mighty armada of Royal Navy and French warships tried to force its was through the Dardanelles to effect the capture of Istanbul but then capital of Ottoman Empire. This, it was hoped, would take Turkey out of the war and enable the Allies to shore up the Russian war effort on the Eastern Front, so relieving pressure on the Western Front.

After the initiation of hostilities in mid-February 1915, the Allied armada effectively silenced the Ottoman outer defences on the both sides of the Çanakkale Strait. Next they would try to silence the inner forts and clear as many mines as possible.

The battleships were arranged in three lines, two British and one French, with supporting vessels on the flanks and two ships in reserve.

Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied naval forces until at around 14.00 on March 18, when a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the French warship Bouvet. The old battleship had struck one of the mines laid ten days earlier by small Ottoman minelayer Nusret. Bouvet sank in a matter of minutes. After a very short time, HMS Inflexible and shortly later HMS Irresistible also struck mines planted by Nusret.

Of the 18 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and FNS Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and FNS Gaulois had to be beached at the nearby island of Tenedos, in order for their men to be rescued. FNS Suffren was heavily damaged by Turkish guns and later had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs.

The failure of the naval forces forced the Allies to land troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula to capture it and so remove the lethal gun barriers. It led bloody trench warfare and many thousands of dead on both sides.

As it dissipated over the waters the words of a famous Turkish poem that honours then sacrifice of the Gallipoli Campaign and its role in establishing nationhood rang through the minds of many who were there. One verse in particular seems to perfectly express Remembrance and the epic nature of the events experience by all nations who fought at Gallipoli, but especially the Turkish people:

‘Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground
You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies;
Bend down and lend your ear, for this silent mound
Is the place where the heart of a nation sighs.’

Ukrainian Warships Paid a Short Visit To Istanbul

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Hetman Sahaidachny (left), TCG Salihreis (middle) Balta (right) in Istanbul.

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TCG Salihreis (left) and Hetman Sahaidachny (right) in Istanbul. Photo: Deniz Yaman.

Ukrainian warships Hetman Sahaidachny and Balta made a short port visit to Istanbul today.

Both ships passed through Istanbul Strait on 7th March 2016 and sailed to main Turkish Navy base in Gölcük, Kocaeli. There the ships have conducted joint exercises with Turkish warships.

The frigate Hetman Sahaidachny and the degaussing ship Balta arrived on the morning of 10th March 2016 accompanied by Turkish frigate TCG Salihreis to Istanbul. Balta left for Ukraine in a few hours later whereas the frigate stayed longer. The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko who is in Turkey for an official visit, visited the frigate.

President Petro Poroshenko visited flagship of the Ukrainian Naval Forces Hetman Sahaidachny frigate that takes part in the common training with the Naval Forces of Turkey in the Sea of Marmara.
Commander of the sea campaign Dmytro Hlukhov and commander of the frigate Denys Ivanin demonstrated the equipment and mobile military hospital provided by the Turkish side.
Ukraine will receive 5 such hospitals. They will be relocated to the sectors of responsibility in the ATO area after the return of Hetman Sahaidachny frigate to Ukraine.
The President emphasized that such mobile hospitals were essentially important in the ATO area. He called them the evidence of partnership relations between the two states. “Earlier, we received them from the United States, Canada and Australia. It emphasizes strategic character of our relations,” the Head of State noted.

Later in the afternoon, Hetman Sahaidachny departed with two containers on her flight deck to Ukraine.

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